Diagram Series: Common Mistakes

When creating diagrams, you may overlook some tiny, but crucial drawing details. And only after the review, you understand how important these details are. In this article, I will explain some of the most common mistakes when creating diagrams and how to escape them.

Pay extra attention to how you present the following elements in a diagram.

Corner radius

The corner radius of components must be the same or at least consistent for related elements in a diagram, unless otherwise constrained.

The following figure shows that the incorrect version of the diagram looks unfinished and unprofessional because components and the arrow have different degrees of corner radius. While, the correct version of the diagram looks cleaner and more consistent because all components and the arrow have the same degree of corner radius.

Figure #1 (Click to enlarge)

Bending of connectors

Connectors (lines and arrows) must bend at the same horizontal or vertical visual line. This way, it is easier for a user to follow the workflow. Components with no corner radius require connectors with sharp bends.

The following figure shows that the incorrect version of the diagram may disorient the user because connectors bend inconsistently. While, the correct version of the diagram looks neater because connectors bend at the same vertical and horizontal lines.

Figure #2 (Click to enlarge)

White Space

The white space in graphics prevents cluttering and improves readability. Leave enough white space among components to help them stand out.

The following figure shows that the incorrect version of the diagram looks cluttered and shrank. While, the correct version of the diagram is easy to read and follow.

Figure #3 (Click to enlarge)

Reversed arrowheads

Sometimes, you can use a double-headed arrow to show dimensions of an element. If you need to show the width of a narrow element, rotate arrowheads to the inside.

Figure #4 (Click to enlarge)

I hope that this article was of use for everyone working with diagrams. You can explore this topic in more detail in my diagram series:

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