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Let’s start with a confession: I knew what a Venn diagram looked like long before I knew what it was called. A classic case of ooh-I-know-you-I-just-didn’t-know-your-name.
In fact, I’d be willing to bet that many of you have experienced the same thing.
And while we all likely created these in elementary school, there’s a lot more to this graphic organizer than comparing and contrasting where animals live.
Venn diagrams have a long history and wide application. In this post, we’ll cover what a Venn diagram is, its types and history, and how to make one in Visme.
Along the way, we’ll also explore Venn diagram templates that Visme offers. Ready to learn? Let’s get going.
A Venn diagram is a diagram made of two or more circles that overlap with each other to show similarities between the properties represented in the circles.
Each circle in the graphic organizer is called a set. The intersection point or the area where the circles meet is called a union. So, if you’ve circles A and B overlapping with each other, you refer to them as A union B.
Typically, these circles are sketched in a rectangle, technically, called the universe. Let’s say you’re comparing winged birds that can fly and those that can’t. The universe of such a Venn diagram will be birds with wings. Makes sense now, doesn’t it?
And, here’s an interesting bit: you don’t always have to use circles. You can use ovals too. Basically, a closed curve will do.
This template by Visme is a good example of what we’re talking about:
Venn diagrams are mainly credited to John Venn who mentioned the diagram in his paper called, “One the Diagrammatic and Mechanical Representation of Propositions and Reasonings,” in 1880.
However, John Venn isn’t the father of Venn diagrams — he’s only the one who popularized their use. In fact, Venn didn’t call this graphic organizer after his name. He called them Euler circles as the Venn diagram resembled them, but served a different purpose.
What’s more interesting is that Venn diagrams have been in use since the 13th century. So it’s hard to trace their father.
But John Venn’s name came to stick when American philosopher, Clarence Irving Lewis, called these sets Venn diagrams in 1918 in his book “A Survey of Symbolic Logic.”
Good question. It makes sense to wonder about the benefits as you get to know Venn diagrams closely.
Primarily, Venn diagrams visualize data. These condense complex information into designs that are easy to understand, therefore, helping to effectively communicate info visually.
Think of it like this: wouldn’t it be easy to sketch a comparison between different blogging platforms in a visually appealing format rather than drawing the comparison verbally?
Besides making data easy to digest and understand, Venn diagrams offer two more benefits:
To put these two together: Venn diagrams give a complete comparison between two or more things.
You’ll understand this better once you learn how to read a Venn diagram. Let’s take an example from Visme’s template library.
Essentially, you get a comprehensive comparison here. It’s concise and looks good too.
Now the details: This Venn diagram teaches you that each social network is unique. LinkedIn for getting jobs, Twitter for sharing thoughts, Facebook for connecting with friends and family and Google+ for driving conversations.
But, they’re also similar to each other too. Hint: look at the center — all social channels are for link building.
Next up, each social channel shares features with another one. LinkedIn and Twitter, for example, are both good for business networking. Similarly, Twitter and Google+ are the same in the way they help you meet people.
Do you see how you can learn so much from a Venn diagram and how it can give you a complete comparison sketch?
Let’s see: Venn diagrams are basically visual representatives of cases that show similarities. This puts them in good demand.
You can use a Venn diagram to compare your market share. Or, your competitors. Even your abstract ideas. This shows the business side of a Venn diagram.
Venn diagrams have earned a fair share in marketing as well. I’ve spotted some good ones in blog posts and other content pieces:
Plus, this one is a good example of promoting your product:
And, there’s no stopping you if you get creative. Here’s an excellent example of that:
Let’s boil down the ways you can use Venn diagrams.
Study the similarities in your target market or audience.
Get visuals on the similarities between your products (say in their features, marketing plans, or benefits) so you can map out your future actions accordingly.
Use a Venn diagram to compare your competitors or their products.
Explain your ideas to your audience in a visually appealing illustration.
Outside of this, Venn diagrams are used in science — mainly for classification. Take a look:
They’re also used in computer science, engineering, logic, statistics, and more. Teachers employ Venn diagrams as a tool for generating class discussions.
With that out of the way, let’s now dive into the types of Venn diagrams that you can use.
A Venn diagram doesn't have to be simple. You can play with the shape like we’ve talked about. Or, you can add a pinch of sophistication by turning them into 3D designs.
With Visme, you can also make your chart interactive. For instance, add links to your Venn design or media files such as background audio.
As for the types, here are your options:
This type of a Venn diagram uses two circles or ovals to show overlapping properties. It’s the most simple type of a diagram.
Here’s a beautiful template that Visme offers for making two-set Venn illustrations quickly:
If you’re thinking simpler still, then it’s best you know that there can be no venn diagram with one circle. Why? Because you wouldn’t be able to pull out a comparison with just one circle.
You can always call these three circle diagrams as well. The idea is simple though: the chart contains a trio of circles. Like below:
Note that things are starting to get complicated here. It’s the same as involving too many people in a relationship. Things either get too messy. Or, they could take a good turn, depending on how well you manage them.
Circling back: a three-set Venn diagram shows:
Altogether, you get seven distinct sections. So, you’ve got to be careful as you wade into the territory of three-set diagrams.
A four-set Venn diagram is one that’s packed with four, overlapping sets. A four-set Venn diagram might look like this example below, or you might choose to use ovals instead of circles.
Lastly, we’ve the five-set Venn that comprises five circles, ovals or curves. Alternatively, you can pair a three-set diagram with a recursive curve.
Again, it’s best to proceed with caution: too many cooks can spoil the broth. Or, more accurately, too many ovals can spoil the Venn diagram.
If you’ve to absolutely use a five-set Venn though, don’t lose heart — Visme’s got a template to simplify the process:
Now that you know how useful a Venn diagram can be and the types you can use, this question is an obvious next one. Let’s explore.
Aim for creating a Venn diagram when you have lots of data or information to compare.
If you don’t have anything to compare, your Venn diagram will end up looking like this. This is, basically, not a Venn diagram but a fun way to understand when to make one:
So, let’s suppose you’ve lots of comparative data begging to be compared. What then? Get to work.
You can easily divide this task into two main steps:
To jump start the process, you need to first be clear about what you want to compare. Once done, gather the data.
Depending on the sets involved, you need to decide whether you need a 2-circle, 3 circle or more circles/ovals diagram.
Start this step by giving a title to your chart. This way, you won’t forget slipping a title once you’re done. The title will also keep you on track — reminding you of what you need to compare in your diagram.
Here, you’ve two ways moving forward: making a Venn diagram from a template or designing from a blank canvas. Let’s address both.
All the templates that Visme offers are customizable. So, you can tweak the template’s fonts, font sizes, colors, and every other element. If you’d like, you can also change the circle’s size.
Simply drag in or drag away the circle and its size will change.
Additionally, click the circle and press the color box on the top of your dashboard to change the set’s color.
If needed, you can change the canvas’ size too. You can do so from the three horizontal lines on the extreme left side of the dashboard. You’ll find the canvas size on the second as you click it.
This won’t be tough either. Thanks to the pre-made content blocks that you’ll find on the left side of your Visme design dashboard.
Start by clicking Create from your Visme account. Pick from Custom Size, Infographics, Web Graphics or Printables depending on your requirements.
Once you’ve settled on a canvas, head to Graphics on the left of your design space. Move straight to Shapes after this. Select as many circles as you need here and resize as needed.
Insert some text next. For this, go to Basics, followed by Header & Text and pick Add a Title. Move the text box to get it to the front and center of your graphic and give a title to your Venn diagram.
What else? Add text to the circles with an Add a short body of text box. Move and resize the boxes as needed. Once done, move the circle so they intersect where they’ve to. Add a description there and you’re done.
Awesome Venn diagrams don’t have to be professionally designed. You can make them too. Wondering how? Follow the tips below and you’ll see how your Venn diagram goes from meh to perfect:
You need to give each set a different color. And, you also need to make sure all the colored circles put together look attractive as well as understandable. This is why, the number one tip is to ensure you pick the best color combinations.
If you’re making a Venn for marketing, here’s a secret tip: only choose colors after you’ve read the psychology behind them. This way you can encourage your viewers to take the action you want them to. *High-five.*
No matter how wonderful the colors that you use are, your design is meant to be doomed if the font you use isn’t readable. So, it’s best you start with tried and true fonts.
Pay attention to the spacing between your typography, avoid using a lot of uppercase setting, and stick with one font. If you have two, pair one font with another, but only after careful study.
There’s always room for creativity. Want an idea? Play with symbols or icons. Here’s how:
This Venn diagram template by Visme adds text to the side, but includes icons to add value to the graphic. Since Visme offers over 10,000 icons, you can change the icons in this Venn template to make a diagram that meets your needs.
You don’t necessarily have to stick to circles or ovals. Instead, you can play with all of the shapes Visme’s Venn diagram maker has to offer, like this template does below.
See how creative you can get with your Venn diagram design and match your shape style to your topic.
Lastly, do whatever you can to give your Venn diagram a clean look. Even if that means you’ve to write outside the intersected zone (if there’s no or less space). See how this Venn chart’s descriptions are outside the overlaid zones:
That’s the complete rundown of a Venn diagram — its history, benefits, uses and the whole enchilada. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up for a free Visme account today and design a stunning Venn diagram now.