Computer Graphics

University of California - Berkeley

Design Principles for Visual Communication


Design principles connect the visual design of a visualization with the viewer’s perception and cognition of the underlying information the visualization is meant to convey. Identifying and formulating good design principles often requires analyzing the best hand-designed visualizations, examining prior research on the perception and cognition of visualizations, and, when necessary, conducting user studies into how visual techniques affect perception and cognition. Given a set of design rules and quantitative evaluation criteria, we can use procedural techniques and/or energy optimization to build automated visualization-design systems.


Maneesh Agrawala, Wilmot Li, and Floraine Berthouzoz. "Design Principles for Visual Communication". Communications of the ACM, pages 60–69, April 2011.

Supplemental Material

For further details, including videos and supplmental materials, please see the project page hosted on the Visualization Lab website at