Strategic Consulting Approach to Chart Design

Charts overall are a significantly important tool for strategic consulting. Creating a nice and sleek-looking chart is half of the task when creating an appealing analytical presentation. So here are several crucial ideas on chart design.

Appropriate chart type

The choice of an appropriate chart is mostly a skill acquired with experience. Still, there are several useful hints for the correct chart choice:

  • for time trends it is better to use line or bar charts;
  • structure is best revealed on pie charts;
  • showing both structure within the time trends is normally shown with stacked bar charts;
  • dependencies are most meaningfully depicted with regression lines on scatter plots.


It is important to meaningfully stack data. This helps the viewer to clearly understand what ideas the creator of the chart was implying or was leading the conclusion to. So, the crucial principle here is to compare equal with equal. Companies should be compared to companies, countries to other countries, etc.

Color palettes

Most modern software allows using many color palettes that meet the requirements of creating a contemporary-looking presentation. Nevertheless, the general advice is not to use extremely bright colors and to go with pastel colors. At the same time, it is equally important that all the details on the chart are seen patently. In this way, check if the chart details, lines, bars, and figures can be clearly seen both when shown via a PC and a projector.


All the charts need to have available all the information to read and analyze. The axes need to be signed, the chart name should be present, the axes should have meaningful points, the legend should be on, etc.

This is especially vital for more complicated or complex charts, i.e. the ones you add any drawings on the chart showing some particular points and explaining them. Try to be succinct and to use less graphical detail.


Combining several charts on one slide is not recommended. It can be used when the audience is aware of the topic or data analysis shown on the charts. If it is not the case, it is much more useful to use one chart per slide. In this way, the viewers can quickly get acquainted with the details and draw sensible conclusions from the chart.

To sum up, these are just a few tips on chart design. Indeed, there are much more ideas for creating a professional-looking presentation in strategic consulting. Nevertheless, these are the essential ones and every consultant or creator of the presentations should be using them.