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50 Shades of Color with Matt Francis

It was only last year I had just met Matt Francis at TC15 in London. I was 2 weeks into Data School and being thrown into Tableau world, and we were just chatting about his color session at TC15 in Vegas (the big one!) later in the year.

Time flies!

My key takeaway is that color is a very subjective but powerful element in communicating stories. Matt did this really well with his carefully chosen photos of evocative landscape. Indeed, just as data drives viz type, data also drives color.

I like that someone’s spelled out for me that this is actually a very subjective world to recommend best practice. I also really like the fact that we have to recognize that color plays off of a lot of our heuristics to drive impact. Quite the double-edged sword. So when recognizing that your color choices are pre-processed with someone else’s associations, make sure you dont distract from your message unintentionally.

And finally we have a middle ground approach to the red/green color blind debate. I’ll admit that the only reason I don’t do any red/green color palettes is only to avoid ridicule from my visualization compatriots. Matt makes excellent points on this in that if the audience is just for your, and its for a few people, then red/green is ok. (So Tableau Public is still a no-go zone)

There are a couple other tactical tips to take away such as:

– Orange is a good color with highlighting. Works great against grey. Its interesting, but not passing judgement

– Use to create a color palette based on a chosen picture

– Save your favorite color palettes with Tableau preferences files

Time to start building color schemes on all my pinterest boards!!

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