Arguably, all visualizations rely on metaphors to communicate. These metaphors allow us to use existing knowledge about a system to help us understand the new system.
Metaphors help us interpret quantitative and categorical information in charts. They are why we understand taller bars in bar charts as having more, and why we understand part to whole relationships in pie charts. They communicate subtler nuances as well, like line charts representing continuous vs. categorical data shown by bar charts.
Sometimes, visualizers take advantage of these metaphors and create very special work. They use the metaphor of the visualization to add a deeper meaning, much like a poet uses the form of language to go beyond the literal semantics.
Let’s call them Visualization Poetry.
Much like real poetry, they cover all kinds of topics, come in all different formats, and are of varying quality in their other aspects.
One of the most powerful... keep reading