Speck Design + Venn Diagrams

A num­ber of blog­gers have com­mented on the impos­si­bil­ity of the Venn dia­gram posted on a build­ing in New York City. The cat­e­gories read:

  • Peo­ple who live in Noho
  • Peo­ple who live in Soho
  • Peo­ple who can afford their rent

Speck bill­board in Manhattan

Even though it’s just an ad, it raises some inter­est­ing ques­tions about using Venn dia­grams — two of the three cat­e­gories are around loca­tion, and the third is about finances. Strictly speak­ing, Noho (North of Hous­ton Street) and Soho (South of Hous­ton Street) do not over­lap, though it’s pos­si­ble to imag­ine a build­ing on Hous­ton that strad­dles the line and so can over­lap. The third is more prob­lem­atic (able to pay rent) as it is a dif­fer­ent cat­e­gory and typ­i­cally one would not ask binary ques­tions in a Venn (no over­lap). Per­haps a bet­ter way would be to change the cat­e­gories slightly so they can overlap:

  • Peo­ple who shop in Soho
  • Peo­ple who shop in Noho
  • Peo­ple who dine out frequently

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