Radar Charts in FF Chartwell

FF Chartwell Radar comes next in our series on turning type into useful visuals. Radar charts are ideal for quickly comparing strengths and weaknesses between a few comparable entities, in this case, soccer players. Above you see data from Alan Dzagoev, Mario Gómez, and Mario Mandžukić, presently the top scorers in the UEFA Championship.

To create the charts I took six comparable values (that aren’t commonly grouped), converted them to percentages, and put plus signs in between, resulting in these six-pointed polygons. Points that extend the farthest from the origin represent larger values, and the closer points represent smaller values. Since we need percentages, or rather, integers between 0 and 100, there’s a little math involved in coming up with values that make sense visually.

For example, since a soccer player’s height is represented as a percentage, you may be asking, ‘A percentage of what? The height of the tallest player in the league?’ The answer is—just pick a number to serve as your ‘ceiling.’ If the results look depressed, like the third value in the chart here on the left, just bring your ceiling down a bit. But—be sure to keep a consistent ceiling across all the players’ heights. Keeping the values straight was easy to manage by using a spreadsheet. It’s nice that it handles the arithmetic for you too.
Tip: Use your spreadsheet’s INT function to get whole number results.

After getting the data ready, it’s as simple as dropping it into a text box and enabling Set 1 from the Stylistic Sets OpenType menu.

My final step was to set the numbers in some analogous colors and include a grid for some common reference by putting ‘a+’ at the beginning of each string of numbers. Try a–f for differently scaled / filled grids.

That’s it. We’ll continue the FF Chartwell series here next Monday. In the meantime, go get FF Chartwell and come up with some other useful or ideas on how to use it.

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