color

70 posts
Reading this chart won’t take as long as withdrawing troops from Afghanistan

Art sent me the following Economist chart, noting how hard it is to understand. I took a look, and agreed. It's an example of a visual representation that takes more time to comprehend than the underlying data. The chart presents responses to 3 questions on a survey. For each question, the choices are Approve, Disapprove, and "Neither" (just picking a word since I haven't seen the actual survey question). The...

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Metaphors, maps, and communicating data

There are some data visualization that are obviously bad. But what makes them bad? Here is an example of such an effort: This visualization of carbon emissions is not successful. There is precious little that a reader can learn from this chart without expensing a lot of effort. It's relatively easy to identify the largest emitters of carbon but since the data are not expressed per-capita, the chart mainly informs...

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Generate a color analysis by uploading an image

Mel Dollison and Liza Daly made a fun interactive that lets you upload an image, and it spits out a vintage-looking color analysis a la Vanderpoel: This generator is based on the works of Emily Noyes Vanderpoel (1842-1939), who hoped her original color analyses would inspire others to study “whatever originals may be at hand in books, shops, private houses, or museums.” We hope you are similarly inspired by her...

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Come si dice donut in italiano

One of my Italian readers sent me the following "horror chart". (Last I checked, it's not Halloween.) I mean, people are selling these rainbow sunglasses. The dataset behind the chart is the market share of steel production by country in 1992 and in 2014. The presumed story is how steel production has shifted from country to country over those 22 years. Before anything else, readers must decipher the colors. This...

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Finding the hidden information behind nice-looking charts

This chart from Business Insider caught my attention recently. (link) There are various things they did which I like. The use of color to draw a distinction between the top 3 lines and the line at the bottom - which tells the story that the bottom 50% has been left far behind. Lines being labelled directly is another nice touch. I usually like legends that sit atop the chart; in...

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Varying colors of state guidance maps

Many states use color to represent levels of Covid-19 and/or county restrictions. The color scales states use vary across the country. For The New York Times, Caity Weaver details the usage and the challenges of picking meaningful scales. Tags: Caity Weaver, color, coronavirus, New York Times

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Analysis of color names used with makeup

For The Pudding, Ofunne Amaka and Amber Thomas looked at shades, words, and numbers used to describe foundation makeup: A 2020 study investigating the connotations of foundation shade names in 20 products found that dark shades were largely named after “the least valuable substances and objects” while lighter shades were labeled after “decorative, valuable, and precious objects.” Our analysis revealed similar results, and the more you study the data, the...

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Which color scale to use for your charts

On a superficial level, color scale selection seems like a straightforward task. Pick a sequence of colors that looks like it goes from light to dark. Done. But right when you get into it, you might find the process isn’t so straightforward. Different color scales can represent different aspects of your data, and poor selection can lead to poor communication. So, Lisa Charlotte Rost for Datawrapper wrote a four-part practical...

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Re-engineering #onelesspie

Marco tweeted the following pie chart to me (tip from Danilo), which is perfect since today is Pi Day, and I have to do my #onelesspie duty. This started a few years ago with Xan Gregg. This chart supposedly was published in an engineering journal. I don't have a clue what the question might be that this chart is purportedly answering. Maybe the reason for picking a cellphone? The particular...

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A note to science journal editors: require better visuals

In reviewing a new small-scale study of the Moderna vaccine, I found this chart: This style of charts is quite common in scientific papers. And they are horrible. It irks me to think that some authors are forced to adopt such styles. The study's main goal is to compare two half doses to two full doses of the Moderna vaccine. (To understand the science, read the post on my book...

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