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Elements of visual style

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Translate the principles of effective writing to the process of figure design.

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Figure 1: A flood of identical symbols triggers semantic satiation, a phenomenon in which overwhelming repetition results in loss of meaning.
Figure 2: Use the simplest visual representation6 for objects and “omit needless words”1.
Figure 3: Objects that interact or share common meaning should be formatted in a similar way that appeals to intuition.

References

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    Strunk, W. Jr. & White, E.B. The Elements of Style 4th edn., Ch. 2, 21–26; Ch. 5, 70–75 (Longman, 1999.)

  2. 2

    Pinker, S. The Language Instinct (W. Morrow, New York, 1994).

  3. 3

    Tufte, E.R. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information 2nd edn., 107–121 (Graphic Press, Cheshire, Connecticut, USA, 2001).

  4. 4

    Corneille, P. Horace (http://openlibrary.org/books/OL6939036M/Corneille's_Horace/) line 1648 (Heath, 1904).

  5. 5

    Alekseyev, M.A. & Pevzner, P.A. Genome Res. 19, 943–957 (2009).

  6. 6

    Wong, B. Nat. Methods 8, 611 (2011).

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Krzywinski, M. Elements of visual style. Nat Methods 10, 371 (2013) doi:10.1038/nmeth.2444

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