Beautiful Graphs of Large Data Sets for Litigation

Screenshot of Data in IllustratorNumbers, and the interpretation of numbers, play a big role in litigation. Presenting numerical data in court often requires a good graph of the numbers to show changes and trends in the numbers.

Litigators or litigants may be able to make simple graphs themselves using Excel. However, more complicated graphs benefit from expert tools like Adobe Illustrator. For example, the chart below shows a comparison of the performance of Apple and Microsoft stock over the last decade (click to enlarge for better viewing of the graph).Apple v. Microsoft chart

 Use of Large Data Sets for Graphing

Both Excel and Illustrator can create graphs from large data sets such as stock prices. You download a table of stock prices from various internet sites, and the graphing program uses the data set to create the graph. For example, below is a graph from Excel of the Apple and Microsoft stock prices.

Excel-chart

 

Advantages of Using Adobe Illustrator for Graphing

A comparison of the two charts shows many advantages of turning to an expert using Illustrator for graphing:

  • More control over color, scale, legends and call-outs;
  • Ability to incorporate other graphics into the image (e.g., the product photos and logos);
  • Ability to adjust the scales and use multiple views to compare data sets in various ways (necessary here because the value of Apple stock climbed so much relative to the stagnant performance of Microsoft).

Tell a Story Using the Data

The features of the Illustrator version of the chart allow a litigator to use the data to tell a story. Here, the story could be the effect of Apple’s innovative products on the value of the company. Another story could be Apple’s rise versus Microsoft’s stagnation.

After all, litigators want to present a story, not just numbers. Expertly done graphs help the litigator tell the story behind the data.


Thanks to Cogent Legal’s new Creative Director, David Filippini, for creating the graphs featured in today’s post.

Please email me to discuss if Cogent Legal might help you with graphs for your next trial or hearing.

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