Data Visualizations about Diagrams

Visualizations created and curated by Zhaoxu (Shirley) Chen
Diagram coding conducted by Yilin Huang and Jiayue "Quinn" Ran

This page you are reading is the data visualization of the collections from the "Diagrams and Visual Thinking" project on this site. It features a statistical perspective of diagrams based on their overall shapes, information flow, and the use of lines and shapes. It contains detailed descriptions for each of these classifications, offering insights into various diagrammatic structures. You will get to know the diagrams collection through this data journey. To acknowledge more cases of each type of diagram, you can access them through Browse by Facets to view diagrams by specified classifications. 

These visualizations and the Browse by Facets rely on controlled vocabulaires, which were used to code and classify the diagram collection. Yilin Huang developed and coded the diagrams by shape (including Overall Shape, Shapes Occuring within the Diagrams, Types of Lines, and the Presence of Special marks such as Braces or symbols of arithematic). Jiayue "Quinn" Ran developed and coded the diagrams by "Information Flow." The vocabulary schemes used in these codings can be seen in the "Categories" section of the Browse by Facets page.

Shapes of diagram

What is the definition of diagrams' shape?

This chart provides a statistical overview of the overall shapes of all the coded diagrams catalogued on our website. While many collections cannot fit into any specific appearance, we have still classified them into these fundamental geometric shapes:

  1. Circle: A shape consisting of all points in a plane that are at a given distance from a given point, the center; equidistant from the center. Example: The Hero's Journey
  2. Ellipse: An elongated circle, formed by an oval shape where each point is at a constant sum distance from two foci. Example: The Psychical Apparatus
  3. Polygon: A flat shape consisting of straight lines that are joined to form a closed chain or circuit. Example: Arborescent Schemas
  4. Rectangle: A quadrilateral with four right angles. It includes squares, which are rectangles with equal sides. Example: Them and Us
  5. Square: A special type of rectangle with all four sides equal in length and each angle a right angle. Example: 
    Semiotic Square
  6. Triangle: A polygon with three edges and three vertices. It is one of the basic shapes in geometry. Example: 
    Triangle of Reference (Thoughts, Words and Things)

Despite the challenge in fitting many collections into a single shape category, our classification into these basic geometric figures has been a key part of organizing and understanding our diverse array of diagrams.

Information Flow of diagram

How does information flow in diagrams?

This chart offers a detailed statistical overview of the information flow in all the coded diagrams featured on our website. The term 'information flow' pertains to the manner in which the sequence of information reception by the audience is articulated within the diagram during its design process. The categories are delineated as follows:

  1. Conceptual: These diagrams primarily focus on abstract ideas or concepts, often lacking specific steps or sequences. Example: The Acropolis, Athens
  2. Cyclical: This type reflects diagrams that represent processes or sequences in a cyclical manner, indicating a continuous loop of steps or stages. Example: Pragmatics (or Schizoanalysis)
  3. Sequence or Process: These diagrams display a series of actions or steps followed in a specific order to achieve a particular end. Example: Japanese Hand Calculator
  4. Structural or Hierarchical: These diagrams showcase relationships in a structured or layered format, often used to represent organizational structures or layered concepts. Example: Purification and Mediation
  5. Typological or Classification: This type involves diagrams that classify or categorize elements into different types or classes based on specific criteria. Example: The Triangle of Comparative History

Each category represents one approach to presenting information and aids in understanding the diverse methods employed in diagram design. It is important to note that these categories can be applied repeatedly within a single diagram, meaning that one diagram may exhibit multiple types of information flow. This flexibility allows for a rich and varied representation of ideas and processes.

Types of shapes in the diagrams

This chart presents a breakdown of the various types of shapes found in the diagrams on our website, demonstrating the diversity and complexity of our diagram collection. Instead of defining each shape, we'll spotlight specific diagrams that exemplify the use of multiple shapes:

  1. The Paumoto Conception of the Heavens: This diagram uniquely integrates both circular shapes and figures representing people, showcasing a blend of abstract and figurative elements.

  2. Character and Social Structure: A complex diagram that employs a variety of shapes, including Hexagons, Parallel Lines, Squares, and Octagons, to illustrate intricate social and character dynamics.

  3. Healthy Beverage Guidelines: This diagram uses Squares and Polygons to convey information, combining straightforward geometry with more complex forms to guide understanding.

These examples highlight how multiple shapes can be combined in a single diagram to convey complex concepts and structures. The diversity of shapes used in our diagrams reflects the broad range of topics and ideas they represent.

Types of lines in the diagrams

This chart illustrates the various types of lines used in the diagrams featured on our website, offering insight into the visual language of diagrammatic representations. Each type of line conveys a different meaning and purpose. Here, we highlight specific diagrams that exemplify the use of multiple line types:

  1. Communication System and Media Capabilities: This diagram effectively utilizes Arrows, Dash Lines, and Solid Lines to depict the flow and structure of communication systems and media capabilities, indicating direction, connections, and continuity.

  2. Enfolding-Unfolding: A complex representation that employs Curves, Arrows, Zigzag Lines, and Solid Lines. This variety of lines helps to convey movement, direction, and various conceptual layers within the process of enfolding and unfolding.

  3. Laundering (Grossly Simplified): In simplifying a complex process, this diagram uses Zigzag Lines, Solid Lines, and Arrows to indicate motion, stability, and direction, providing a clear and concise depiction of the laundering process.

These examples demonstrate how different types of lines can be combined to effectively communicate complex ideas and processes in a visually engaging manner. The versatility of line types in our diagrams showcases the diversity and richness of our visual communication strategies.

Written by Zhaoxu Shirley Chen