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Four Tips for Eye-Catching Charts and Graphs

Many people are visual in nature, such that comprehension is facilitated by demonstrative graphics. That's why charts and graphs are so effective at driving home major points, especially in marketing materials where you have precious little time to attract attention and turn a response. Brochures, postcards, posters, and other marketing pieces are more effective when you use charts and graphs to compare services, products and competitors. The following four tips will help you craft eye-catching charts and graphs that make an impression:

Keep it simple

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Clean, simple visuals have the most influence, and the same applies to charts and graphs. Do not try to compare too many variables, which can result in a tangled mass of confusion. Instead, pick three to six key variables to compare, which will keep your charts and graphs clear and easy to read. Simple charts and graphs have more influence because they're more easily understood.

Use colors and graphics, but sparingly

Use colors and graphics to add pop to your charts and graphs, but don't go overboard. Let's say you're comparing your product to two competing products. Put photos of each product at the top of your chart and list your key variables down the left-hand side. Then, use bullets and checkmarks or similar graphics to denote which product has which features, or use numbers if your variables are measurable. Highlight your product's column to help it stand out against the competition, or highlight a comparative row that demonstrates your product's superiority. You can contrast these highlights with simple hue changes, or you can choose a different (yet color-wheel complementary) color entirely.

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Position for impact

Don't save your charts and graphs for the bottom of your brochures or the last l ines of your flyers. Place them above the fold for maximum effect. Some studies have suggested that the top right-hand corner of the page is prime real estate for making key points, since the human eye is naturally drawn to that area.

Use charts and graphs creatively

In general, charts and graphs are read and respected, no matter what application they're used in or what data they hold. Catalogs, brochures, sales data sheets, postcards, banners, posters, booklets, and just about any other print marketing medium can take advantage of the power of charts and graphs. If you don't have any measurable or comparative data, be creative and have some fun with your charts and graphs. Don't be afraid to be subjective, especially if it fits your company's brand. Let's say you sell surfing T-shirts that are made pretty much just like your competitors', save for the actual design. Your sales materials can include charts that rate things such as "coolness", "babe-attraction", "intensity", "wave respect" or any number of made-up parameters you can compare against the competition. Charts and graphs command attention, so you should use them whenever possible. Keep them clean, position for maximum influence and have a little fun with them to fuel sales today.