Tips on how to Use Colour in Data Visualizations | by Michal Szudejko | Oct, 2023



Harnessing shade to reinforce knowledge comprehension

Michal SzudejkoTowards Data SciencePhoto of langur monkeys: two adults in black and an infant in orange.Langur monkeys. Supply: Adobe Inventory, Commonplace License.

The picture above highlights François’s langurs, one of the crucial unusual monkey species. Notably, their infants boast vibrant orange fur, which darkens to black as they mature. Prevailing theories counsel that this orange hue permits mother and father to watch their younger amidst the treetop surroundings¹ simply. That is important for promptly figuring out and reacting to threats, reminiscent of an imminent predator assault. Have been an grownup monkey capable of verbalize, it’d exclaim:

Seize the orange ones!

Kudos needs to be awarded right here to Mom Nature. Due to the efficient use of shade, the existence of the smallest and most weak can doubtlessly be preserved.

I have to admit that I hesitated to publish this put up for a very long time. The reason being that this matter is broadly lined. Nonetheless, I nonetheless see a distinct segment, particularly in presenting sensible nuances of utilizing shade.

I launched already the useful use of shade idea in one among my latest posts. Now, I need to share a number of extra suggestions on this space. I hope you can find them sensible and unbiased. Let’s start with some examples of ineffective shade use.

1. Ornament earlier than perform

This drawback emerges ought to we’ve no clear clarification of why shade was utilized in a particular visualization. Take this chart, for instance. Are you able to make clear why such an abundance of colours was utilized right here?

Bar chart with a lot of colors, used for no particular reason.Supply: picture by the writer.

Typically, aesthetics is a viable clarification. However that’s a difficult one. We’re coming into a shady space of tastes, likes & dislikes. What’s visually interesting to 1 could also be unacceptable to others.

2. Lack of consistency & objectivity

Typically, we inconsistently use saturation or lightness ranges in our visualizations. We achieve this by deciding on colours from a palette (like in PowerPoint) with out making certain consistency…


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