The Art of the Chart

Simple Tips to Improve your Data Viz Game

Data visualization training now available on request

This two-hour virtual training session is offered by the Lake Superior Reserve Coastal Training Program. This course can accommodate up to 50 participants.

Course length: 2 hours (120 minutes). This course is delivered in the Zoom platform.

Cost to host course: $250.00. This includes training delivery, at least one coordination meeting with event hosts, and the option for support with registration.

Host expectations: Set up registration or direct instructor on registration management; advertise the course in the manner best suited to the audience; welcome participants on the day of the class; actively monitor chat and participant questions during the course.

To request this training course, contact instructor Karina Heim at

About the Course

Have you ever felt that your charts are cluttered or confusing for your audience? Do you struggle to tell a compelling story through data visualization? Data is everywhere and charts and data graphics have never been easier to make, thanks to programs like Excel and Tableau. But as you may have experienced in your own work, designing elegant charts that tell a clear story can be surprisingly challenging. Fortunately, we can borrow lessons from cognitive brain science and graphic design best practice to help us improve the way we display data to our audiences. This short course will provide you with some quick pointers and tips to help you improve your charts and graphics design. In this mini-workshop, you will learn to recognize common chart design pitfalls, use handy tricks to “cut the clutter” from charts and focus your audience’s attention, and think about every element of the chart as part of a clear story.

Participants are encouraged to take this course if they…

  • Turn data into charts for public audiences.
  • Spend a lot of time (maybe too much time?) trying to make charts easy to understand
  • Would like some pointers on producing charts that are attractive, clean and clear

Training testimonials:

“I have often been overwhelmed by all of the data presented in charts…my brain goes everywhere! This really simplifies it and reduces brain fatigue.”

“I liked all the examples used, especially when we were able to see a cluttered chart next to its uncluttered companion. I feel like I also have a full toolbox to declutter a chart that I will frequently look back to.”

About the instructor:

Karina Heim is the Coastal Training Program Coordinator at Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, and a data viz enthusiast. She first became enamored with the art of clean chart making in graduate school where she realized that every graph and table can stand alone and tell its own story if it is designed well. Later, Karina applied lessons and best practices of data viz design in her work as a comprehensive plan writer, revising public documents to reflect current data trends in a clear, accessible way. In her current position, she works with decision-makers in the Lake Superior basin on coastal issues, where important ideas are spoken through data all of the time.

To request this training course, contact instructor Karina Heim at