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Great Graphs: Design Principles (Full Course)

Your applies-to-every-software-program guide for producing visualizations that are easy to understand without being dumbed down.

Are your takeaway findings getting lost?

Bad graphs can slow down the viewer's comprehension... increase cognitive load... and fail to inform decision-making processes.


Dusty Shelf Reports aren't inevitable.

With intentional editing, you can design visualizations that inform and inspire.

No fancy software needed.

This is a best practices course, not a software how-to course.

You won't see videos about "First, click this button" and "Then, click this button."

That being said, you've got to use some software program. All the training examples have been made with everyday software you already own, like Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and other low-cost tools.

You don't have to be a computer programmer or a graphic designer to be a great communicator.

Data visualization isn't supposed to feel daunting.

We’ll walk through a step-by-step design process that you can apply to your own projects.

You’ll learn how to:

  • customize your visualization for your audience;
  • choose the right chart for your message;
  • go beyond the bar chart;
  • declutter your visuals so that viewers’ attention is focused on the data;
  • reinforce your branding with custom color palettes and typography;
  • increase accessibility by ensuring that your visuals are legible for people with color vision deficiencies; and
  • explain your takeaway findings with explicit titles and annotations.

What's included in this course?

I'm going to transform you into the data viz hero that your organization needs. Here's what's included to make that happen.

We'll even provide feedback on your projects.

You'll get instant access to 125+ recorded lessons that you can watch anytime and two live Office Hours sessions every month to get targeted feedback on your visualizations.

What's New for 2020

Live Office Hours sessions, new modules, lifetime access, guest speakers discussing COVID-19 data, & more.


How is this similar to your other courses?

The skills you build in each course are complementary, but not overlapping.

Your Instructor


Ann K. Emery
Ann K. Emery

Each year, I lead dozens of in-person workshops for thousands of people. My online courses bring those skills to you, too.

Depict Data Studio also consults to the United Nations, State Department, and Centers for Disease Control, plus dozens more foundations, nonprofits, film companies, banks, hospitals, and universities worldwide.

Your data deserves to be out in the world--actionable, talked about, used--not gathering dust in spreadsheets.


3,312+ participants from around the globe

have already taken the leap into better reports, slideshows, dashboards, and infographics.

This is a full length course. We have mini and full-length courses available on data analysis, data visualization, dashboards, and slideshows.

What does an online course look like inside?

I talk with you like a real person, not a monotone robot reading off a boring script.

Course Curriculum


  Collecting, Analyzing, and Visualizing COVID-19 Data
Available in days
days after you enroll

"This was just what I needed to move from thinking about to actualizing more digestible visualizations.

The many, many examples--and explanations for how to do more complex transformations--are soooo helpful!

Having so many examples from scientific, education, non-profit and other fields helped me convince my very smart, detailed-oriented colleagues that more appealing, simpler, less jargon-y, and more understandable visualizations are feasible for presenting statistically and technically dense information, and for academic types of audiences.

Now we are trying things like short headline titles and chart styling methods to more clearly depict all the 'data details'—and the findings!—rather than impossibly long, uninformative titles and chart notes… Ann has perfected telling the facts directly with style."

- Peace Bransberger, Research Analyst, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

"I’d been following Ann’s blog for quite some time, but I was eager to get access to additional data viz lessons, so I signed up for the Great Graphs course. Ann’s course played a big role in the improvement of my data visualizations, and most of all made it way more fun. My goal is now to help some of my colleagues improve their data visualizations too, so that our organization can better act on all the data that we’re collecting and achieve more impact.

Some things that I learnt during the course:

Ann reminded me how many different types of stories you can tell with the same data set. This made me aware of the importance of first analyzing your audience and your data, and really think about the message that you want to convey, before starting with the actual visualization of the data. Ann also demonstrated that it can easily take you a few tries before finding the right visualization.

Ann gives you clear steps to follow in your data visualization, which I hope will soon become a routine for me. The many examples that she gives made me realize just how much stronger your message can get if you use the techniques like storytelling, annotations, color, decluttering.

Thanks Ann!"

- Sophie van der Wansem, Digital Product Developer, PharmAccess Foundation

Frequently Asked Questions


How long do I have access to the course?
Indefinitely. I used to limit access to just 12 months. I wanted to encourage you to get in here and learn with me, but instead it just stressed you out, so I'm not cutting off your access anymore.
What if I have questions about my individual dataset?
Join the live Office Hours sessions, which are held twice a month. If you can't make the live sessions, you can submit questions in advance, and then watch the recording later to see how I addressed your question.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.
I know you're a perfectionist and always update your courses.
Yes, and you'll be grandfathered-in to all future updates to this course.