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February 19, 2017

Makeover Monday: Who's Winning Europe's Battle for Potato Supremacy?

Well, this certainly was a data set I never thought I'd see. Leave it to Eva to surprise us again. I'm really enjoying how she's mixing things up and allowing me to participate like everyone else. I also need to thank her for sending me her great color palettes again.

This week, we looked at the EU potato sector. Seriously! We're creating vizzes about potato production. The original website has things kind of all over the place. First there's this table:

Then there are a few donuts chart, most of them look more or less like this one:

They also included a few bars charts and a line chart. All in all, it's quite colorful.

What works well?
  • Donut charts are sorted
  • Tables are good for looking up specific values
  • Line chart provides context by comparing to an index of 100 to make yearly change easier to understand

What doesn't work?
  • Inconsistent colors
  • Hard to identify the "story" in the data; The story is buried in the article.
  • Pretty busy overall; too much going on
  • Tables are terrible for finding insight in the data

For my version, I first read through the entire article to get a feel for their conclusions. I then focused in on the information about harvesting and decided to basically take their paragraph and turn it into a visual story. I used Eva's color palette to help highlight the important data points and I used Matt Chambers' shade slope charts blog post to create the second chart. 

I wanted to create a beginning, middle and end to the story, and I feel like I did that. I used a question in the infographic title to help the reader understand what the viz is about. I used dividers to the viz into "parts" of the story and I used the chart titles as legends. Lastly, I used Roboto Condensed font to match the font used in the article.


  1. The shaded area in the slope chart seems to indicate that potato harvesting increased overall in 2016 compared to 2010, where as it actually decreased according to the numbers.

    1. Did you read the text to the left? That explains the slope chart. Can I see your version for comparison?