Stacked Column Chart – Visual Analogy

In this tutorial, we will use the stacked column graph tool and a layer mask to create a diagram of how to make a cappuccino. The visual analogy of this chart uses the outline of a coffee cup and clear proportions to illustrate the recipe.

1. Download this Coffee Cup Illustrator File (use Chrome or Firefox). Then, make a new document that is 1920 pts by 1080 pts.

2. Using the Stacked Graph Tool draw a large square on the artboard. In the Data Window type 4, 4 and 1 across the top row – this will be the proportions for our recipe. Click the checkmark to apply the data.

3. Close the Data Window and then go to the OBJECT menu > UNGROUP to ungroup the chart from the data. As this will not be changing it is not necessary to maintain this connection. If the data was anticipated to change you could leave this intact and still proceed with the following steps.

4. Delete the numbers and lines of the Value Axis (vertical) and Category Axis (horizontal) For this diagram we only need the proportions.

5. Select the group with the Black Arrow and stretch it across the artboard.

6. With the White Arrow (make sure to use this tool as the rectangles are grouped together) change the bottom color to the dark brown swatch, the middle color to the tan swatch and the top color to white. Change the outline for all shapes to None.

7. Open up the Coffee file downloaded from Step 1. Select it with the Black Arrow and go to EDIT menu > COPY, then go into your new file and go to the EDIT menu > PASTE. Scale it up while holding down the SHIFT key so that it is the same height as your group rectangles (including the white)

8. Open the Layers Panel and expand Layer 1 to reveal the contents. As the cup was the last thing copied into the document, you will see the silhouette of the cup at the top of the stack (it is listed as a compound path as it it is made up of two paths.) This will be used as the clipping mask for the layer. If the compound path is not at the top of the layer list, drag it above everything else as Illustrator will use the topmost object as the clipping mask.

9. Select Layer 1 and at the bottom of the layer panel click the Make/Release Layer Mask icon – this will hide everything outside the coffee cup shape.

10. Open the Appearances Panel (WINDOW menu > APPEARANCES), then select the <Compound Clipping Mask> layer in the Layer Panel as well as the target button next to it on the right. In the Appearances Panel change the Stroke to 16pts and the color to the same brown as the coffee – this will give the Coffee Cup a defining outline.

11. Go to the SELECT menu > ALL (or CMD/CTRL + A) and slide everything over to the right to make space for text on the left.

12. Create a new layer in the Layers Panel.

13. With the Type Tool create a text box near the bottom of the cup, change the size of the text to 36 pts with 100 for the tracking, align the type to the right in Paragraph Panel and type 1 PART ESPRESSO

14. With the line tool, draw a line from the end of the word ESPRESSO to inside the cup, hold SHIFT down to make sure it is straight. Open the Stroke panel and expand it to Show Options.

Change the line width to 5 pts and under arrowheads, for the end of the line use the arrowhead with a dot (Arrow 21)

15. ALT/OPT drag a copy the text and the line to the black above and change the text to read 1 PART HOT MILK

16. ALT/OPT drag a copy the text and the line to the black above and change the text to read MILK FROTH

17. To export this image, go to the FILE Menu > EXPORT > EXPORT AS and choose either the PNG (if you want to preserve the transparent background) or JPG if you want a white background.

For screen use (not print) make sure the resolution is 72
For use on screens, make sure the export settings are RGB and 72 pixels per inch

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