Edward R. Tufte
The best work on how to present data visually is by Professor Tufte. There are several books, and you should start with The Visual Display of Quantitative Information.
He offers several rules, which I used to develop "A Practical Guide to Strategy Formulation."
- Document sources and characteristics of the data
- Insistently enforce appropriate comparisons
- Demonstrate mechanism for cause and effect
- Express those mechanisms quantitatively
- Recognized the inherently multivariate nature of analytical problems — usually there is more than one cause
- Inspect and evaluate alternative explanations — beware of just looking at the data in the order collected
Edward R. Tufte, Visual Explanations: images and Quantities, Evidence and Narratives (1997, Graphics Press, Cheshire, Connecticut), p. 53.