I came across this flowchart that helps you determine the best chart to use based on the kind of data you are trying to get across.   I know that for me I have a tendency to rely on a few “go-to” charts that I’ve come to rely on when in fact there may be a better option out there that more elegantly expresses exactly what I’m trying to communicate.  This chart looks like a great resource to use to check your instinct against best practice.

Click on the image for a larger and easier to read version.

Source: http://extremepresentation.typepad.com/blog/2006/09/choosing_a_good.html