Bullet graph design specification

This paper by Stephen Few of Perceptual Edge outlines the five key components of bullet graphs.

For each component he provides an explanation, an example and the formatting default


"The bullet graph was developed to replace the meters and gauges that are often used on dashboards. Its linear and no-frills design provides a rich display of data in a small space, which is essential on a dashboard. Like most meters and gauges, bullet graphs feature a single quantitative measure (for example, year-to-date revenue) along with complementary measures to enrich the meaning of the featured measure. Specifically, bullet graphs support the comparison of the featured measure to one or more related measures (for example, a target or the same measure at some point in the past, such as a year ago) and relate the featured measure to defined quantitative ranges that declare its qualitative state (for example, good, satisfactory, and poor). Its linear design not only gives it a small footprint, but also supports more efficient reading than radial meters."


  • Text label
  • A quantitative scale along a single linear axis
  • The featured measure
  • One or two comparative measures (optional)
  • From two to five ranges along the quantitative scale to declare the featured measure’s qualitative state (optional)


Few, S., (2013). Bullet Graph Design Specification, Perceptual Edge. Retrieved from: http://www.perceptualedge.com/articles/misc/Bullet_Graph_Design_Spec.pdf

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