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Creating Data Visualizations with Templates

When creating data visualizations, templates have become popular because they help novice designers use the expertise of more experienced designers. A template is a guide that helps you to create something using a model designed by others.

Many people feel that templates are confining because you have to place the objects in the spot that's been designated for them. In reality, though, templates are freeing, because they ensure that you create a balanced layout but still allow you to add your own look and feel. Here are some other benefits of templates:

  • Quick start: Rather than sitting and puzzling over where to place your charts, numbers, and objects, you can begin to place those objects as designated by your template.

  • Expert design: A template lets you draw on the skills of trained experts, which is a benefit if you're not a designer (and sometimes even if you are). There's clearly no downside to following the advice of people who are more skilled in an area than you are.

  • Cost savings: Using a template enables you to forgo the services of a designer (although you may want to use a designer for complex projects).

You can find templates for infographics and data viz wireframes in online tools such as Piktochart and Balsamiq Mockups.

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