Refining charts using Adobe Illustrator

Associate Professor of IS, Director of Education - W.R. Berkley Innovation Lab @ NYU Stern, Author
Dec. 3, 2016

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Refining charts using Adobe Illustrator

  1. Refining charts in Adobe Illustrator Kristen Sosulski Associate Professor of Information Systems @ NYU Stern Director of Education for the NYU Stern W.R. Berkley Innovation Lab @sosulski | |
  2. Take a look at this rendering of a chart in R. It doesn’t look so good….
  3. ∎ For example, look at the chart presented here. ∎ There are many aspects of the chart that violate our design principles. Place your screenshot here With R the rendering of the visualizations could use a little work.
  4. DESIGN Chart junk? High data ink ratio? Readability? Font size? Orientation? PRINCIPLES
  5. ∎ There is a lot of chart junk □ The frame around the chart □ Tick marks ∎ Readability is impaired □ The vertical orientation of the text on the y-axis □ The use of mixed case lettering Place your screenshot here Can you identify those design principles that are violated? The frameTick marksThe vertical textMixed case lettering
  6. Editing charts in ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR
  7. ∎ It’s simple to edit text as well such as titles, scales, x and y axis labels. ∎ Download this PDF file at to follow along with the example or work with your own. Place your screenshot here We can easily remove the chart junk elements such as borders and tick marks.
  8. ∎ You can do this is in RStudio. ∎ Go to export > Save Plot as PDF.. Place your screenshot here Step 1. Save your chart as a PDF Skip this step if you downloaded the file from this tutorial.
  9. Go to File > Open and navigate to your PDF File. Place your screenshot here Step 2. Open PDF document in Adobe Illustrator
  10. ∎ Once you have the file open, look for the Tools window. ∎ If you don’t see the Tools window, go to the Window menu and click Tools to make it visible Place your screenshot here Step 3. Enable the tools window Tools window
  11. ∎ The white arrow is called the Direct Selection tool. ∎ The black arrow is called the Selection tool. ∎ Use the the white “direct” selection tool to edit content such as titles and labels. ∎ Use the black “selection” tool to move objects. Step 4. Find the tools the direct selection and selection tools. “Direct selection” tool “Selection” tool
  12. ∎ Use the black Selection arrow. ∎ Click and drag it over the image. The border of the images appears highlighted in blue. This is called the clipping mask. ∎ Press delete on your keyboard to remove it. ∎ If this deletes the graphic, undo the edit, and use the Direct Selection tool (white arrow) to highlight the clipping mask instead. Step 5. Remove the clipping mask The clipping mask is selected in blue
  13. ∎ Use the black Selection arrow. ∎ Click and drag it over the border. The border appears highlighted. ∎ Press delete on your keyboard to remove it. ∎To remove the tick marks, select each tick mark and press delete. Step 6. Remove the border and tick marks The border is selected in blue
  14. ∎ Use the white Direct Selection arrow. ∎ Click over the text you want to modify and edit it. ∎ Show the Type > Character window to change the style and size of the font. Step 7. Modify the text Type Window Select the text and double click to begin editing.
  16. It’s easy to edit your charts in Adobe Illustrator. The next step for you to continue working on it to add attribution and a story to your data. NEXT STEPS
  17. THANKS!Any questions? Email: | twitter: @sosulski
  18. CREDITS Content created by Kristen Sosulski, Ed.D Copyright 2016 Special thanks to all the people who made and released these awesome resources for free: ∎ Presentation template by SlidesCarnival ∎ Photographs by Unsplash