Learn how to Use Shade in Knowledge Visualizations | by Michal Szudejko | Oct, 2023

Harnessing shade to reinforce information comprehension

Photo of langur monkeys: two adults in black and an infant in orange.
Langur monkeys. Supply: Adobe Inventory, Standard License.

The picture above highlights François’s langurs, one of the vital unusual monkey species. Notably, their infants boast vibrant orange fur, which darkens to black as they mature. Prevailing theories recommend that this orange hue permits dad and mom to observe their younger amidst the treetop surroundings¹ simply. That is important for promptly figuring out and reacting to threats, comparable to an imminent predator assault. Had been an grownup monkey in a position to verbalize, it would exclaim:

Seize the orange ones!

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

I have to admit that I hesitated to publish this put up for a very long time. The reason being that this subject is broadly coated. 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 considered one of my latest posts. Now, I need to share just a few extra ideas on this space. I hope you can see them sensible and unbiased. Let’s start with some examples of ineffective shade use.

1. Ornament earlier than operate

This drawback emerges ought to now we have no clear rationalization 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.

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

2. Lack of consistency & objectivity

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

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