Manifesto for Putting ‘Chartjunk’ in the Trash 2021!

Chartjunk screenshot


In this provocation we ask the visualization research community to join us in removing chartjunk from our research lexicon. We present an etymology of chartjunk, framing its provocative origins as misaligned, and harmful, to the ways the term is currently used by visualization researchers. We call on the community to dissolve chartjunk from the ways we talk about, write about, and think about the graphical devices we design and study. As a step towards this goal we contribute a performance of maintenance through a trio of acts: editing the Wikipedia page on chartjunk, cutting out chartjunk from IEEE papers, and scanning and posting a repository of the pages with chartjunk removed to invite the community to re-imagine how we describe visualizations. This contribution blurs the boundaries between research, activism, and maintenance art, and is intended to inspire the community to join us in taking out the trash.



  title = {Manifesto for Putting ‘Chartjunk’ in the Trash 2021!},
  author = {Derya Akbaba and Jack Wilburn and Main T. Nance and Miriah Meyer},
  booktitle = {Preprint},
  year = {2021}