The Art of Contaminating Data – Junk Charts


I subscribe to the web site, Junk Charts, and wanted to share the latest blog post by Kaiser Fung.

Kaiser Fung (photo, right) is Kaiser Funga recognized expert, speaker, author and teacher in business analytics, and data visualization. He directs the Master of Science in Applied Analytics at Columbia University. He has built and managed data and analytics teams responsible for turning data into practical insights for Internet, entertainment and financial services companies, such as Vimeo, SiriusXM Radio, and American Express. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, in addition to engineering and statistics degrees from Princeton and Cambridge Universities. For over ten years, he has taught practical statistics, data visualization, and business analytics at New York University, various conferences, and corporations.

I hope you find this blog post from Mr. Fung as insightful as I do.

Best regards,


The art of contaminating data


This is one of those innocent-looking charts that could have been a poster child for artistic embellishment. The straightforward time-series chart is deemed too boring. The designer shows admirable constraint in inserting “information-free” content, such as the dense gridlines (graph paper) and the 3D effect (ticker).

Seem harmless but not really.

Here I turn off the color.



After the 3D effect is applied, the reader no longer knows whether to look at the top or bottom edge of the ticker.

This view makes this point even clearer.


The art contaminates the data.


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