How can I make a similar graphic?
March 23, 2012 8:31 AM   Subscribe

How can I make a budget/financial graphic like this for a non-profit? It would be incredibly useful for fundraising and board meetings.

Can this be done easily by a non-graphic designer? Can I use excel? Thanks
posted by beisny to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think that's called a cock's comb graph or a cock's comb chart. Or it's a variation on one.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:34 AM on March 23, 2012

Yes. Excel has "Doughnut charts" which matches most of what you need.
I'd do the individual pieces in Excel, and then compose them in a graphics program (or even Powerpoint with a gray background)
posted by Philbo at 8:36 AM on March 23, 2012

You can make them directly in PowerPoint, doughnut is a choice within their (slightly more limited) graphing choices, and then you don't have to worry about how it will look when you paste it in from Excel.
posted by xingcat at 8:53 AM on March 23, 2012

It's just a pie chart with a hole in the middle. But the one you've linked to is special.

To make yours like that one, remember to consolidate all the things you want to play up into one big chunk. Then split up the remainder -- the part you want to deemphasize -- into smaller, more specific slices, and then physically separate those slices and shrink them.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:02 AM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

Not to rain on your parade, but pie charts are evil. The smaller graphs on the side of your example suffer from many of the problems he talks about.

The main problem with pie charts is that humans don't judge areas well. We also don't judge angles well. We do, however, see lengths pretty well, which is why stacked bar charts get recommended instead. If you look at the example linked, it's easy to visually sort even the smaller-sized items in the bar chart, but a lot harder in the pie chart.

Another major weakness of pie charts is comparison of totals. If you want, for example to show budget breakdowns for successive years, or breakdowns by department, how do you show changes in those totals from year to year or department to department? Do you change the radius of the chart or the area? Because of the deficits of human perception, both of those answers are going to cause problems.

Pie (or donut) charts are usable, and cock's combs are one of the better attempts at making them work, but they at war with a fundamental characteristic of human perception. For that reason, I caution people to avoid them if possible.
posted by bonehead at 10:20 AM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]

Hire an information designer to create something powerful for you.
posted by gonzo_ID at 6:31 AM on April 6, 2012

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