I am trying to classify different chart types by the shape of their data, and I am looking for a helpful resource. For example, on a line chart, I am looking for a description like:

A Line chart consists of three dimensions, of the following types: Nominal, Ordinal, and Interval

A Bar chart consists of two dimensions, of the following types....

Ideally, the dimensions would be classified using a system like Levels of Measurement

Does anyone know if such a resource exists?


Once I made a Keynote about Graphs and Diagrams Classification. Each graphic has an image example. This is the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLtg-jE2C9E&feature=youtu.be


It's a five hours class, and each screen has its explanation, the video is only the representative part. It's in Spanish, but the classification is the next:

  • Statistics
  • Sequential
  • Descriptive
  • Location

And this is the sub-classification:


  • Area

    • Shape
    • Volume
    • Ring
    • Venn
  • Bars

    • Horizontal
    • Vertical
    • Compound
    • Combined
    • Directional
  • Curve
    • Simple
    • Multiple
  • Matrix


  • Linear
    • Chronologies
    • Itineraries
    • Processes
    • Arches
  • Flow
    • Hierarchical
      • Tree
      • Organigrams
    • Sankey
    • Time/activity
  • Figurative


  • Organizational
    • Table
    • Area
  • Details


  • Plan
    • Geographical
    • Industrial
    • Architectural
  • Maps
    • Cartographic
    • Astral

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte:

The classic book on statistical graphics, charts, tables. Theory and practice in the design of data graphics, 250 illustrations of the best (and a few of the worst) statistical graphics, with detailed analysis of how to display data for precise, effective, quick analysis. Design of the high-resolution displays, small multiples. Editing and improving graphics. The data-ink ratio. Time-series, relational graphics, data maps, multivariate designs. Detection of graphical deception: design variation vs. data variation. Sources of deception. Aesthetics and data graphical displays.

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    Yes, this is helpful, but can you summarize or provide a link to an answer here? I have read that book before, and I think it has the exact chart descriptions I am looking for, but is there a website that summarizes this information? – modulitos Jul 7 '18 at 0:21

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