color

204 posts
Diagram of watercolors from the 17th century

In 1692, artist A. Boogert published a guide to watercolors, showing the thousands of possibilities of mixing 31 shades. Nicholas Rougeux, as per his specialty, modernized the work into an interactive diagram. Tags: color, Nicholas Rougeux

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Who trades with Sweden

It's great that the UN is publishing dataviz but it can do better than this effort: Certain problems are obvious. The country names turned sideways. The meaningless use of color. The inexplicable sequencing of the country/region. Some problems are subtler. "Area, nes" - upon research - is a custom term used by UN Trade Statistics, meaning "not elsewhere specified". The gridlines are debatable. Their function is to help readers figure...

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A German obstacle course

A twitter user sent me this chart from Germany. It came with a translation: "Explanation: The chart says how many car drivers plan to purchase a new state-sponsored ticket for public transport. And of those who do, how many plan to use their car less often." Because visual language should be universal, we shouldn't be deterred by not knowing German. The structure of the data can be readily understood: we...

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Variance is a friend of dataviz

Seven years ago, I wrote a post about "invariance" in data visualization, which is something we should avoid (link). Yesterday, Business Insider published the following chart in an article about rising gas prices (link): The map shows the average prices at the pump in seven regions of the United States.  This chart is succeeded by the following map: This second map shows the change in average gas prices in the...

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A color tool for accessible schemes

Leonardo is an open source project from Adobe that helps you pick accessible colors. There’s a JavaScript API along with a browser tool that lets you select colors interactively. Color is a common encoding to visualize data. It can be used directly in choropleth maps or heatmaps, indirectly as a redundant encoding, it can be decorative, and it can be used for all the things in between. However, a color...

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Superb tile map offering multiple avenues for exploration

Here's a beauty by WSJ Graphics: The article is here. This data graphic illustrates the power of the visual medium. The underlying dataset is complex: power production by type of source by state by month by year. That's more than 90,000 numbers. They all reside on this graphic. Readers amazingly make sense of all these numbers without much effort. It starts with the summary chart on top. The designer made...

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Defining color palettes for all your charts

Selecting a color palette for a single chart can be tricky, which is why we see so many charts that just go with defaults. Selecting a color palette for all your charts is a bigger challenge. For Datawrapper, Lisa Charlotte Muth has you covered with a detailed guide that describes the important bits, existing color palettes in the wild, and consideration for your readers. You’ll want to save this for...

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Funnel is just for fun

This is part 2 of a review of a recent video released by NASA. Part 1 is here. The NASA video that starts with the spiral chart showing changes in average global temperature takes a long time (about 1 minute) to run through 14 decades of data, and for those who are patient, the chart then undergoes a dramatic transformation. With a sleight of hand, the chart went from a...

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What do I think about spirals?

A twitter user asked how I feel about this latest effort (from NASA) to illustrate global warming. To see the entire video, go to their website. This video hides the lede so be patient or jump ahead to 0:56 and watch till the end. Let's first describe what we are seeing. The dataset consists of monthly average global temperature "anomalies" from 1880 to 2021 - an "anomaly" is the deviation...

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The envelope of one’s data

This post is the second post in response to a blog post at StackOverflow (link) in which the author discusses the "harm" of "aggregating away the signal" in your dataset. The first post appears on my book blog earlier this week (link). One stop in their exploratory data analysis journey was the following chart: This chart plots all the raw data, all 8,760 values of electricity consumption in California in...

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