Seeing Color Through Infographics and Data Visualizations

by Drew Skau 1 year ago Filed Under: Design

Color is a crucial part of our visual experience. It indicates many things in our lives, from the ripeness of a banana, to how someone is feeling, to which subway line we should be on. Not everyone sees colors the same way, and colors have drastically different meanings in different cultures, but one thing we all have in common: color is important. These visualizations all show us different things about colors.

  1. Let’s start with the Meaning of Colors in Different Cultures.
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  3. And the Psychology of Color depends somewhat on culture, but some of it goes deeper than that, as we can see by multiple cultures tying similar meanings to similar colors.
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  5. You can be certain that big companies know this, and they choose their colors wisely based on that psychology. So, what are the Most Powerful Colors in the World?
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  7. Most countries were established before there was even a concept of psychology of colors, but The Flags of the World still follow some of the rules, likely out of a common-sense understanding of colors.
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  9. Universities, however, are completely aware of these ideas, and they definitely use them in their color choices. This March Madness Color Chart shows the colors of 64 universities.
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  11. Major League Baseball Colors are also carefully selected. Ironically, they name their colors after the team, despite often sharing the exact color with a competing team.
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  13. Book publishers also use color to their advantage. Weekly Top 10 Bestsellers looks at 12 years of best seller covers to find color and design trends.
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  15. Crayola is certainly full of color experts, and as Crayola Crayon Chronology shows, they’ve diversified their selections over time.
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  17. Community Pulse shows the colors people on Adobe Kuler are using most.
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  19. And whoever thought crayons could be super technical. 24 Crayons shows the spectral power distribution of 24 different crayon colors.
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  21. Some theories say that we only use the colors we have names for. The Color Strata shows color names and the colors that fit into those name categories.
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  23. Stereotypes say that guys have much smaller color vocabularies. Color Names According to the Sexes plays off the stereotype. Fortunately, it isn’t quite true, as Randall Munroe has shown in a really excellent post, but it’s still a funny stereotype.
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  25. His and Hers Colors explores that stereotype even further, with a sort of color thesaurus to help out the chromatically challenged.
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  27. The Names People Use for Colors in Different Languages is also interesting.
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  29. Many artists have their own favorite colors to work with. And usually their favorites change over time. 10 Artists, 10 Years: Color Palettes gives a great overview of 10 famous artists.
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  31. Just like in other art, color in movies is important for setting the mood and context of the film. This can be seen very clearly in this Visualization of the Batman Trilogy.
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  33. What if colors were connected to sound? Audible Color attempts to explore this, by combining drops of different colors that then trigger audio.
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  35. Perhaps the most important color, though, is the Color of Your m&m’s. It has such a big impact on their flavor, after all.

 
Drew Skau is a colorful Visualization Architect at Visual.ly and a PhD Computer Science Visualization student at UNCC with an undergraduate degree in Architecture. You can follow him on twitter @SeeingStructure