Show, Don’t Tell

  • Ben WillersEmail author


Too often, I see visual representations of data used as a means to an end, reinforcing or adding creditability to an argument, or worse still an attempt to decorate or distract. Those experienced with handling large quantities of raw data will know of the pleasures that can be had from uncovering hidden truths buried within. These may be unusual and unexpected, sometimes even controversial. They provoke thought, spark conversations, and encourage further exploration. By carefully selecting data and display methods, we are able to communicate these discoveries without explicit exposition, allowing the reader to explore the rich data landscape that lies before us. In this article, I will discuss the challenges and opportunities when showing data in my work. Building on recent projects, I shall try to demonstrate how visualizations may not only reveal the meaning of data in a graphical manner, but also produce meaning through new styles of visual language.


Data Visualization Government Debt Display Method Walk Away High Human Development Index 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  2. Marsh B (2011) It’s all connected: a spectator’s guide to the Euro crisis. The New York Times, URL, January 11, 2014,

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LincolnUK

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