I rather like the framework presented by Dan Roam in "The Back of a Napkin" as a guide for S (simple/elaborate) Q (quality/quantity) V (vision/execution) I (individual/comparison) Δ (change/as-is) and the who/what (portrait), how much(chart), where (map), when (timeline), how (flowchart), why (plot).
In general, these two dimensions (technically 3 dimensions but some aren't used) are presented in a matrix to demonstrate the basic forms of diagrams you can use for communicating concepts. The book is a little more high-level than many books on this topic for scientific presentation but I think it's important to be able to select the right picture for your message.
Once you get down to nitty-gritty details, then Justin Zobel's "Writing for Computer Science" has a number of really good specific pieces of advice for how to lay out diagrams and tables, including how to typeset them so that people remember how to find them and how to make it so that tables don't look all crowded. The book's title says "computer science" but much of the advice is reasonably general to most quantitative research fields.