Great Charts

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Playfair has inspired our entire competition for good reason. His charts were simple, clean and precise. 

For Playfair, a good chart should be memorable and complete. Any reader should be able to understand exactly what the data is showing, and recall this information for a considerable amount of time. 



Nightingale, another hero, created a chart to suit the dataset she had available. 

The polar area chart illustrates the causes of death during the Crimean war using  a collection of ‘coxcombs’. The coxcombs are divided into three categories: "Preventible or Mitigable Zymotic Diseases" (‘infections’, coloured in blue), "wounds" (red) and "all other causes" (black). 

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bank of England Fan chart

Introduced in 1996, the Bank of England printed its first fan chart in its February Inflation Report. February 1996. 

The fan chart is a combination of a line chart, which illustrates all available data, and a distribution which indicates the range of possible values in the future. The aim of the fan chart was to convey a more accurate representation of the Bank’s forecast of medium-term inflationary pressures, but without implying a false degree of precision.

See the original fan chart on page 48, here