How to create Figures
By creating a Graphic, Drawing, Depiction or Illustration there are useful hints to respect. See
For widespread use and multiple outputs
The figure should be understandable and readable in different situations:
- colorblind viewing (focus on color combinations, lightness and contrast).
- gray-scale output (focus on good contrast).
- monochrome output (focus on high contrast).
This can be reached by adding redundant information using:
- line styles: use dashed, dotted, etc.
- optimized colors: use for color blindness e.g. Okabe/Ito proposal. Generally use Yellow, sky blue (~Cyan), Vermillon (orangish Red), then Blue, Orange, bluish Green, reddish Purple, avoid Green to Green-Yellow. Also avoid color-only-legends/keys and nearby colors with the same Lightness.
- symbols: use different shapes to show different information.
- hatches: builded on lines, dots, circles, waves, symbols, etc. with rotation that allows overlapping (0°, 45°, 90°, 135°).
- font styling: use different fonts or font styles (italic, bold) to transport information.
Avoid descriptive text
Descriptive text should be confined to the caption or article text. Put as little text as possible in the image itself. Additional text can be placed in
Image metadata fields (SVG: Dublin Core. Pixel: IPTC, XMP, Exif) or on the image description place/page.
Use open vector format: SVG
Try to work and save in an open vector file format like SVG. Inkscape is indicated.
Use safe fonts
Try to use common fonts on the most used platforms (Windows, Mac and Linux). This helps in the flexibility of editing and sharing the image file. Most common fonts 22 Oct. 2011 - based on codestyle.org - WSR = Wikimedia SVG rendering (SVG Check L)
- Sans Serif (WSR:Helvetica): Helvetica 100.00% Mac - Arial 99.84% Win - Arial 98.74% Mac - Helvetica Neue 98.02% Mac - Liberation Sans 84.96% (WSR) Linux - Arial 70.43% Linux - Nimbus Sans L 97.49% (WSR) Linux
- (WSR:Lucida) Lucida Sans 100.00% Win - Lucida Grande 100.00% Mac - Lucida Sans 99.64% Mac - Lucida Sans Unicode 99.23% Win
- Tahoma 99.95% Win - Tahoma 91.71% Mac
- Verdana 99.84% Win - Verdana 99.10% Mac - Verdana 70.18% Linux
- Monospace (WSR:Courier): Courier New 99.73% Win - Courier 99.64% Mac - Courier New 95.68% Mac - Liberation Mono 85.71% (WSR) Linux - Courier New 70.18% Linux - Nimbus Mono L 97.24% (WSR) Linux
- Serif (WSR:Times): Times New Roman 99.67% Win - Times 99.10% Mac - Times New Roman 97.48% Mac - Liberation Serif 85.71% (WSR) Linux - Times New Roman 69.92% Linux - Nimbus Roman No9 L 97.24% (WSR) Linux
- Trebuchet MS 99.67% Win - Trebuchet MS 97.12% Mac - Trebuchet MS 68.67% Linux
- Georgia 99.40% Win - Georgia 97.48% Mac - Georgia 69.67% Linux
- Cursive: Comic Sans MS 99.34% Win - Comic Sans MS 94.41% Mac - Comic Sans MS 67.92% Linux
- Palatino Linotype 99.29% Win - Palatino 86.13% Mac - Book Antiqua 86.09% Win
- Lucida Console 99.18% Win - Monaco 99.82% Mac
- Impact 99.01% Win - Impact 95.14% Mac - Impact 68.42% Linux
- Arial Black 98.08% Win - Arial Black 96.22% Mac - Arial Black 68.92% Linux
- Arial Narrow 88.39% Win - Arial Narrow 94.77% Mac - Arial Narrow 2.05% Linux - Nimbus Sans L Condensed (WSR) Linux - Liberation Sans Narrow
- Century Gothic 87.62% Win - Century Gothic 53.15% Mac
- Papyrus 70.37% Win, Papyrus 92.43% Mac
- Win: Microsoft Sans Serif 99.78%, Franklin Gothic Medium 99.18%, MV Boli 97.43%, Sylfaen 97.37%, Estrangelo Edessa 96.55%, Tunga 96.50%, Gautami 96.39%, Raavi 96.39%, Mangal, Shruti 96.28%, Latha 96.11%, Kartika 92.39%, Vrinda 92.28%, Garamond 86.47%, Bookman Old Style 85.65%, Calibri 83.41%, Cambria 83.35%, Candara 83.08%, Corbel 83.08%, Monotype Corsiva 83.08%, Cambria Math 82.97%, Consolas 82.97%, Constantia 82.97%, Segoe UI 75.36%
- Mac: Geneva 99.64%, Lucida Bright 99.64%, Lucida Sans Typewriter 99.64%, Gill Sans 95.50%, Arial Rounded MT Bold 95.14%, Andale Mono 94.59%, Futura 94.41%, Apple Chancery 94.05%, Skia 93.87%, Optima 93.69%, Didot 93.51%, Baskerville 93.33%, American Typewriter 93.15%, Marker Felt 92.79%, Big Caslon 92.61%, Copperplate 92.61%, Hoefler Text 92.61%, Zapfino 92.61%, Papyrus 92.43%, Brush Script MT 90.99%, Herculanum 90.63%
- Linux: URW Chancery L 99.25% (WSR), Century Schoolbook L 99.00% (WSR), URW Gothic L 99.00% (WSR), URW Bookman L 98.50% (WSR), URW Palladio L 98.25% (WSR), DejaVu Sans 96.74% (WSR), DejaVu Sans Mono 96.74% (WSR), DejaVu Serif 95.99% (WSR), DejaVu Sans Light 94.44% (WSR), Bitstream Charter 92.73%, DejaVu Sans Condensed 89.47% (WSR), DejaVu Serif Condensed 89.47% (WSR)
- Android: Droid Sans, Droid Serif, Droid Sans Mono, Droid Pro
- iOS 5: Arial, Arial Rounded MT Bold, Baskerville, Copperplate, Courier, Courier New, Futura, Georgia, Gill Sans, Helvetica, Helvetica Neue, Hoefler Text, Optima, Papyrus, Times New Roman, Trebuchet MS, Verdana
- Free Quality: Linux Libertine G & Linux Biolinum G (Graphite version/LibO), Linux Libertine O & Linux Biolinum O (Official Version), Gentium Basic, Gentium Book Basic, Gentium (not finished)
Caution with special characters
Test the compatibility and Wikipedia-Conversion to raster, use Unicode characters, convert the characters to paths as a last resort.
Include license info
Use licensing tags or description to define the copyright (GFDL, CC, public domain, etc.)
Remain language neutral
If you like to share your work, e.g. upload to Wikimedia Commons, try to create language-free text content.
Describe how you created the figure
Use Image metadata fields. Commenting your code is also helpful.