Advertising
Advertising

How to Choose the Best Colors For Your Data Charts

How to Choose the Best Colors For Your Data Charts

Are you a person who loves charts because they make data interesting and easy to understand? Or are you a person who sees a chart and immediately gets stressed?

Charts should never make information more confusing. Even if you’re not someone who enjoys analyzing data, a chart should make understanding data a quicker and less stressful process. When charts are made well, they can communicate data quickly to readers at even a minimal level of data literacy. But when made poorly, charts will have even the top analysts scratching their heads.

That’s why proper color selection is essential when creating charts. Well chosen colors will make charts easy to read and data quick to be understood. Poorly chosen colors will make charts confusing and hard to understand.

1. Use colors that won’t distract from the data.

This is one of the most (if not THE most) important points to remember. The colors you select should be easy on the eyes and should make your charts easier to understand. This means avoiding glaring neon colors or colors that are very muted and hard to see.

Also, don’t use too many different colors. Too many colors will confuse readers and distract from the data being presented.

Advertising

too-many-colors

    2. Don’t use colors on opposite sides of the color wheel.

    One of the easiest ways to avoid confusing readers is to not use colors that are on opposite sides of the color wheel. The contrast between the colors will be too much, and it will distract from the data. Instead, pick either a cool color palette or a warm color palette.

    Cold color palette:

    cold

      Warm color palette:

      sunset

        3. Use colors that reflect the theme of the information

        While you should generally avoid using colors that contrast too greatly, there are some exceptions to the rule. Using colors that reflect the theme of the data you’re visualizing can make charts easier to understand. Take this series of charts that depict which political party is most common among people with different occupations:

        Advertising

        politicalparties

          Because blue is the brand color for Democrats and red the brand color of Republicans, the values attributed to both parties on the charts are colored accordingly. Since those brand colors are widely known, readers are able to look at the charts and immediately understand which value belongs to which party, without the need for an actual legend.

          4. Use shades of the same color to show different values

          Create a uniform appearance by coloring the sections on a chart with different shades of the same colors. This way, readers won’t be distracted by the colors and will be able to focus fully on the data. That being said, don’t alternate abruptly between light and dark bars or sections in the middle of the scale; instead, have the colors progress in a gradient.

          a85b6b42-bf93-4cb9-9ccf-904d4a2714dc-2

              5. Keep colors consistent throughout your article/report

              This is a basic principle of good design that is worth repeating: keep the colors you choose consistent. For example, don’t color one chart green and another one blue. Or, if your chart contains multiple colors, keep the color scheme consistent across all of the charts. Not only does this create a more cohesive design, it also makes it easier for readers to read the charts. If readers know that one color corresponds with one category of data, when they see the color used again in a different chart, they will understand immediately that it represents the same category of data.

              6. Use bright colors to emphasize important lines

              While it’s important to not let color distract from the data, sometimes you want readers to focus on one particular data point. In that case, use one bright color to distinguish one line, section, or bar in a graph from the rest.

              Advertising

              50da6d6a-1e4d-4e65-bfec-77007b68efbd

                7. Use a darker shade to highlight a particular segment

                Similar to the last point, if you don’t want to use an entirely different color to emphasize one point on a graph, you can use a darker shade of the same color.

                a85b6b42-bf93-4cb9-9ccf-904d4a2714dc-1

                  This method only works for charts where each point is separated–i.e., it wouldn’t work on a pie chart where the sections are all attached, because they would just blend together!

                  8. Avoid using a legend that relies on color alone

                  This point is particularly important if you want to ensure that your charts are readable for the color-blind. General readers may already have difficulty distinguishing between the different colors between different colors in a legend. The task will likely be only more difficult for color-blind readers.

                  9. Use black text, unless the background is black

                  Generally, black text is the easiest to read, unless the background of your chart is black or another dark color. In that case, use white text. But for most situations, black text is the easiest for readers across the board to decipher.

                  Advertising

                  04c3edcd-a198-4c66-9b0b-178e2527c3fa

                    10. To test the differentiation between colors, convert to grayscale

                    This is a simple and effective trick to test if the shades you have chosen are different enough for anyone to distinguish. You can make your image grayscale in Word by going into “Format Picture,” “Picture Color” and then adjusting the Saturation to 0%. If you can’t distinguish certain sections of your chart from the others once you’ve put it into grayscale, you will know to change the colors so that the difference is more noticeable.

                    Remember, while selecting the best type of chart for your data is important, the actual design elements within the chart are equally as important. Keep these chart color tips in mind and you’ll have no problem creating beautiful and functional charts.

                    a85b6b42-bf93-4cb9-9ccf-904d4a2714dc-2

                        grayscale

                          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                          More by this author

                          Sara McGuire

                          Content Editor

                          7 Fundamental Design Principles You Can Learn From Star Wars [Infographic] graphic design 10 Graphic Design Software Alternatives to Photoshop 8 Tips to Make Engaging Presentation Slides How to Turn a Process Into an Infographic Poster [Infographic] How to Choose the Best Colors For Your Data Charts

                          Trending in Design

                          1Create an Eye-Catching Logo to Focus Your Brand 29 Beautiful Journals for People Who Love To Take Notes 3Leaflets and Brochures are Still a Simple and Effective Way to Promote Your Business! 45 Things to Know Before You Build Your Dream House 58 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

                          Read Next

                          Advertising
                          Advertising

                          Create an Eye-Catching Logo to Focus Your Brand

                          Create an Eye-Catching Logo to Focus Your Brand

                          We live in a world where brands surround us. We recognize companies through their logo designs rather than their service or products. Our philosophy is that if it’s a brand, it means it’s good. Why? Because it’s known and recognized by all. Youngsters prefer to wear Nike or Reebok footwear, even if there are the same designs in local companies, just because they will be easily recognized as branded by their friends and family.

                          A logo is a statement of a business or a company and a sign of individuality, which distinguishes one brand from another. Even a child would recognize the M of the McDonalds, even from far away. The people use the logo to associate with the brand or the company. Creating and setting up a business is easy, but making it a brand is difficult. To make your business a brand, the most important thing is to create an eye-catching logo design.

                          Advertising

                          One must think that how difficult would it be to create a catchy logo? It is a major task.

                          There is a lot of work that goes into the making of the perfect logo, which is a recognizing factor for people. Here are some of the tips that will help you in creating a logo design that will make your business a brand.

                          Advertising

                          Gauge the Market

                          Study your business or company and see the competitor company’s logo designs. Know the business in and out and write down all the important points and use them to create a related logo design.

                          Research

                          Conduct research about the client and customers and the target market. What is the business about? If the products cater to children then create a colorful and lively logo, while if it is for corporate parties, then create a formal and attractive logo.

                          Advertising

                          Link It

                          Whatever logo you design, keep in mind that it should relate to the company and the nature of business. The logo is used to recognize the brand, so it should have connections with the company’s history and future.

                          Use Resources

                          There are some applications available for you to download and create a perfect logo. You can use the variety of samples and tweak it a bit to your liking by changing the colors or font.

                          Advertising

                          Font and Colors

                          Always make sure to use bold and striking colors. Study the color therapy and what affect each color has on the onlookers. Choose bright colors for an attractive and appealing logo design. Use creative fonts so that it instantly hooks up the customers.

                          Customize

                          Learn Photoshop, Adobe, and Illustrator for that eye-catching logo design. Create a customized logo design with abstracts and images, or choose a picture. You can also make use of solid shapes or go with a flow and retro design. A tagline or your company name or your name initials can also be a logo design. Just incorporate it in a unique way, so it stands out from the others.

                          The logo is a signature of your brand; it is one of the company’s most valuable assets. A well-designed logo is the one that exposes your business and communicates your message to the public.  Designing an eye-catching logo is not that simple as it sounds; it demands a lot of creative imagination and out of box thinking.  Whatever logo you design, ask your friends and family to view and ask them their suggestions and change and set it accordingly, as they represent the public. A well-designed logo should represent the true and perfect image of a company to the people. Make sure your logo design represents your brand and has striking effects.

                          Featured photo credit: Yuanbin Du via unsplash.com

                          Read Next