There is a lot of information here, that’s one of the best things about these Venn diagrams. People often stick a single word or a phrase in one circle, another in the next, and that’s it. But this graphic proves Venn diagrams can help organize much more detailed, drilled-down information fairly well.
What needs work
For the sake of legibility and small font sizes, I probably would have made one of the circles white instead of black, then left the colored one a color, and had the middle oval shape have a much lighter background. That might have helped make some of the text easier to read. In particular, I think it’s important to read the names themselves, so I would have worked to make sure they stood out.
I might have snugged the titles up to the curve. Their spacing is a little haphazard. Clearly, in a circular format, one cannot use a vertical margin line, but then that leaves a question about whether to mirror the shape of the circles on the outside or the ovaloid shape on the inside. I would have tried it both ways and then picked one. Not sure what happened here.
Herman, Stephanie. (2011) Venn diagram of Corporate Cronyism in America on geke.us
1. Menlo is my favorite font of the moment for information graphics.
2. I have no idea why I haven’t seen this Venn diagram before. In my humble opinion, if you are a social scientist and you are attempting to display a concept that may or may not have solid numbers to back it up, start with the Venn diagram because:
a. Venn diagrams are easy to make.
b. Venn diagrams are easy to understand.
c. Venn diagrams are not expected to represent solid numbers. They certainly can be employed in that way, but they are not always employed in that way so you are not likely to mislead readers that you are backing your claim up with census data.
3. I am doing a bit of research on marriage and I have run up against many arguments that seem to believe that marriage and childbearing always go together, or at least that they OUGHT to always go together. News flash: 36.9% of children are born out of wedlock (Cherlin, 2008). Other adults get married but do not have children. Yet other adults get married, have children, and then end up unmarried again because divorce and death ended their marriage. The above graphic should help clear up what actually happens in the world. Marriage and child raising frequently have no overlap.
What needs work
I was so upset that I didn’t stop and look up the actual data for each of these segments. In part, I wanted to leave it as a universal concept and NOT tie it to US data. But yeah, I realize it would be better if I had sat down and figured out how many people are in each of these three areas. That’s coming in the article version. And after I take a deep breath to disperse the anger I feel at people who make illogical arguments.
Cherlin, Andrew. (2008) “The Marriage Go-Round.” New York: Vintage.