The most effective use of Bertin’s retinal variables are summarized in a visual format in the book Making Maps: A Visual Guide to Map Design for GIS by John Krygier and Denis Wood. The chart below shows which visual variables, as they call them, are most effective for showing qualitative or quantitative differences according to Bertin. Krygier and Wood also show how to represent the attribute through points, lines, or areas.
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Short piece on usage of basic cues for visualizing data.