Knickgraph … ?

The Swiss Federal Statistical Office has been publishing data visualizations for more than 100 years. Its head of graphic design, Daniel von Burg, reveals some curiosities.

Used for the first time in the 1897 Atlas, the Knickgraph optimizes the surface of a bar graph. Its length is proportional to the value that is being represented. It provides an elegant solution to a problem that’s often encountered in data visualization: how to include a value that is much greater that the others in a graph, without completely attenuating the visual impact of the smaller values.

Swiss land area and population density.
© Graphical and Statistical Atlas of Switzerland, 1897

The FSO once again turned to the Knickgraph in the 2012 edition of its Statistical Yearbook, in the chapter on health. In order to produce this visualization, two separate diagrams had to be superimposed.

The chapter on health

The full presentation can be found on swiss-infographics’ website

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