Thankful Thursday – Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic

I don’t recall exactly how I found the blog, but it was one of the first five that I found right after I started using Tableau (I spoke of Andy Kriebel’s being the first two weeks ago). One of the first posts I recall was this one, which included a whiteboard note sketch from someone who was attending a meetup where Cole spoke. Here’s that sketch:


I actually printed this out and pinned it up on my cubicle to have as a reference. It came in really handy whenever someone would come ask me to make a pie chart, and I would just point up to my cubicle wall where they could read “DEATH to PIE CHARTS.” 🙂

Christmas 2015, I put Storytelling with Data (the book) on my Christmas list. When I got it, and was excited about it, some of my family gave me some strange looks. (“wait, what is it?  you’re excited about data?”) Historically, I’ve not been a big reader. However, I inhaled this book. Cole is able to so clearly explain concepts, and it just flowed from one section to the next. I think I read it in a couple days, and it changed how I looked at my visualizations.

Storytelling with Data (the book and the blog) has probably had the most influence of anything on my general visualization style: focusing on getting rid of the clutter, using color only when necessary to communicate the story, using color-coded text to remove the need for a separate legend, and much more.

So thank you, Cole, for telling and sharing your data stories, and helping improve the visual communication skills for numerous member of the dataviz community, myself included.


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