I am terrible with graphic design but I'm trying to make a figure in Keynote where squares are drawn on top of each other to represent changes through time. The idea is to take one tile that represents "space" and then stack these on top of each other to represent "time".

I'm not sure which square in the "time" image to make transparent (top or bottom one?) or which ones (all?) should have dashed lines, etc. Could someone provide an example or tips on how to improve my figure?

enter image description here

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    Do not call yourself terrible, at least you are working on it. I suggest that your graphics by themselves will not suffice. The left blue square is meant to represent space. Fine, but not obvious, unless you will use captions or labels. It could also mean "water" or "temperature" or "status quo" or whatever. If you do use captions, then the @use unknown answer will get you a good first draft to look at, as he says. – Martin Zaske Feb 3 '18 at 11:41

If the time is from bottom to top representing history till today, I would usually go by most transparent in the furthest past, and most intransparent for today, because memories become unsure, at least that's the idea.

Reaching into the future, I would probably get more transparent again.

For dashed lines I have no hint.

Probably I would stack the frames from bottom left to top right, because users of Latin alphabets read from left to right. In scientific papers, graphs about time go from left to right, but since left to right is only intended as a perspective effect, I don't consider it to be important, so if other aesthetic reasons lead to a different preference, I would give the idea up, easily.

And I would try it out and compare it with my eyes, not just the brain.

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  • Thank you so much! This was such an astute response. The target is a scientific proposal/paper so your suggestion to go from L-->R makes a lot of sense. – JAG2024 Feb 6 '18 at 0:02

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