I and others have commented, to no apparent avail, on the inadequacy of the bar chart, or its variant, such as the paired/grouped bar chart.
These two examples appeared on the same day in the Wall Street Journal. The junkchart versions, using line charts, are clearly superior in drawing attention to the key messages.
In the first example, the improved chart facilitates comparison on either the time axis or the type of media.
In the second example (below), all of the key messages came out more potently, including the reversal of growth directions, the cross-over circa 2001-2, the dip in early-stage investments in 1999 and leveling off of early-stage investments in recent years.
One other trend remains buried in both versions, that is, the total proportion of VC funds invested in seed, early and late stage companies increased from about 55% to 70% of the total in these 10 years. One wonders what other investment type suffered during this period...
Reference: "TV On-Demand May Make Ads More Targeted" and "Venture-Capitalists Think Large", Wall Street Journal, Nov 9 2005.