The DNA of information design for charts and diagrams

Clive Richards, Y. Engelhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


A comprehensive framework is presented for analyzing and specifying an extensive range of visualizations, such as statistical charts, maps, family trees, Venn diagrams, flow charts, texts using indenting, technical drawings and scientific illustrations. This paper describes how the fundamental 'DNA' building blocks of visual encoding and composition can be combined into 'visualization patterns' that specify these and other types of visualizations. We offer different ways of specifying each visualization pattern, including through a DNA tree diagram and through a rigorously systematic natural language sentence. Using this framework, a design tool is proposed for exploring visualization design options.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-292
Number of pages16
JournalInformation Design Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2020


  • Chart types
  • Design space
  • Diagrammatic DNA
  • Graphic language
  • Visual encoding
  • Visual grammar
  • Visualization patterns


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