This paper discusses facets of visual communication by way of images, graphs, diagrams and tabular material. Design types and elements of graphical images are presented, along with advice on how to create graphs, and on how to read graphical illustrations. This is done in astronomical context, using case studies and historical examples of good and bad graphics.
Design types of graphs (scatter and vector plots, histograms, pie charts, ternary diagrams and three-dimensional surface graphs) are explicated, as well as the major components of graphical images (axes, legends, textual parts, etc.).
The basic features of computer graphics (image resolution, vector images, bitmaps, graphical file formats and file conversions) are explained, as well as concepts of color models and of color spaces (with emphasis on aspects of readability of color graphics by viewers suffering from color-vision deficiencies).
Special attention is given to the verity of graphical content, and to misrepresentations and errors in graphics and associated basic statistics. Dangers of dot joining and curve fitting are discussed, with emphasis on the perception of linearity, the issue of nonsense correlations, and the handling of outliers. Finally, the distinction between data, fits and models is illustrated.