Today, we review one of the basic principles Ed Tufte very effectively advocated in his famous book: use gridlines and data labels only if absolutely necessary. The enemy is redundancy.
Here is a chart that appeared in the New York Times Real Estate pages: (with this article)
The gridlines serve no purpose. Between the axis labels and the data labels, the designer should pick one. If the data labels are used, then the vertical axis can be removed entirely without affecting our ability to understand the data. One can also argue that the data labels do not convey any real information since the average person is unlikely to be able to process 1004 feet versus 1250 feet. Why not remove the data labels and retain only the axis labels?
I'd be willing to go so far as to remove all data from the chart itself. This is because the Empire State Building has been chosen as the reference point. The assumption behind this choice is that the readers have a sense of "tallness" of the Empire State Building. It is then sufficient to just place columns of different heights next to the Empire State Building. To make the comparison a little easier, one can draw a reference line from the top of the Empire State, like this: