This picture has been doing the rounds, and it’s certainly an interesting explanation of the Economist’s house style. I particularly like the idea of a red rectangle as a way of keeping the chart identified as coming from the Economist, even when it moves onto Twitter, Tumblr, etc. But, why on earth would you want to “move the chart as far into the background as possible”? There’s an inferiority complex, here, with respect to “the surrounding article”, which is unhealthy.
Most interesting, however, is the squib at the bottom, saying that the chart “has been created for educational purposes only” and “has not been created by The Economist”. Which means that this chart shows what a *designer* thinks an Economist chart should look like. As opposed to a data visualization professional, who understands numbers and how to convey information using charts. I’ll give you a second, here: what’s the big screaming error in this chart, which the designer of this infographic has completely missed?
That’s right, it’s charting share price, rather than market cap or enterprise value. In other words, the chart is conveying no useful information at all, since the relative share prices of the two companies tell you nothing about their relative value. Bad chartist!