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Why Data Visualization Is Incomplete Without Effective Colors?
- Colors can evoke a whole host of different emotions from optimism, confidence, strength, and friendliness, to defiance, fear, anxiety, and boredom.
- The emotional connection of each color, in part, is cultural, so you want to be mindful of that in how you display information. In the West, purple, for example, is typically associated with wealth and luxury. In Thailand, however, the association is one of mourning.
- All of us associate certain topics, brands, locations, foods and other objects or concepts with color. And these associations can help you bring information to your audience more easily, make it more accessible and memorable.
- Examples of color associations include political parties, holiday destinations, environmental topics and many more.
- One such visualization comes from Klaus Schulte, who visualized data about the Olympic sport of Luge, a discipline that appears to have been dominated by German competitors. Klaus made a conscious decision to color the different competition categories in the colors of the German flag.
- The color pattern leads to immediate recognition and creates an immediate connection with its audience.
- Color can often be made conspicuous by its absence.
- Always tend to keep all contextual data in shades of grey to ensure that data points are visible, and do not distract from the key insights.
- Using one or two colors in this way also allows you to connect certain key metrics to specific colors and helps your audience to recognize these indicators easily.
- In his visualization about Malaria in Zambia, Daniel Caroli chose to highlight a single district in red to show how much it differs from the rest. Sinazongwe, a district located near bodies of water, has an extremely high rate of malaria cases compared to the other districts.
- Applying color to different parts of your visualization lets you tell a more effective story, one that engages your audience at an emotional level and captures their attention quickly.
- Well-chosen colors reduce the time to insight for your viewers and help them understand your message sooner and more easily.
- Getting it right takes practices, try different ways of using color in your visualizations and to take a critical look each time, assessing whether it communicates your message effectively.