Image by pealco via FlickrThe grammar of graphics is a fine attempt to teach analytic graphics. Developed for the freeware statistical software R, the ggplot2 module is indeed a fine tool to use graphs to analyze data.
Hadley Wickham has announced that new versions of his popular grammar-of-graphics charting package ggplot2 and his general-purpose data reshaping tool plyr for R are now available.
Some graphs created by ggplot2 are indeed work of art, especially the ones where multivariate data are presented in a single graph, such as the histogram matrix.
Microsoft Excel while made charting easy for those who were not empirically inclined, however, the 3-D graph options and the like made way for certain very ugly and misleading graphs. Nathan Yau's Seven Basic Rules for Making Charts and Graphs is indeed a good starting point for those who are itching to use graphs, but do not know where to begin.