The following image has been circulating on the internet and I think it is such a fun way of understanding the importance of axis.
Axis and a Christmas Tree
A Cartesian coordinate system in a plane is a coordinate system that specifies each point uniquely by a pair of numerical coordinates, which are the signed distances to the point from two fixed perpendicular oriented lines, measured in the same unit of length. Each reference line is called a coordinate axis or just axis (plural axes) of the system, and the point where they meet is its origin, at ordered pair (0, 0). The coordinates can also be defined as the positions of the perpendicular projections of the point onto the two axes, expressed as signed distances from the origin.
The Spherical coordinate system is commonly used in physics. It assigns three numbers (known as coordinates) to every point in Euclidean space: radial distance r, polar angle θ (theta), and azimuthal angle φ (phi). The symbol ρ (rho) is often used instead of r.