Exploring the Hue Chroma Luminance (HCL) Color Space for Data Visualization

This writing discusses the Hue-Chroma-Luminance (HCL) color space that is tailored to how we see colors as humans. In my previous writings on colorizing data visualizations, I have focused on the Red Yellow Blue (RYB) and the Red Green Blue (RGB) color spaces. The RYB space has a long historical use by artists for mixing paints and dyes in creating visual compositions. The RGB space is based on the concept that Red, Green and Blue (RGB) are the color primaries for viewing displays like what we see on our desktop and mobile devices. …


Translating Color Harmony into Data Color Schemes

In this writing, I discuss how to blend the concepts of Color Harmony with sequential, diverging and categorical Color Schemes for data visualization. By translating the fundamentals of Color Harmony into Color Data Schemes, you gain the ability to improve the control of and amplify your efforts to colorize a data visualization. I call this improving your “harmonic resolution”.

It is also my hope to provide a guide to bridge between image creators or product designers that apply Color Harmony and data visualization practitioners who need to colorize their data. There are many situations in which these two communities might…


The process of colorizing a data visualization

In this writing, I discuss how to work with a Triad color harmony to create a Qualitative color scheme. Qualitative color schemes use colors to label different categories of data. There are no implied magnitude differences between each of the categories. This might be a mapping of different routes on a subway, equivalent steps on a flow chart, or types of vegetables in a market are examples of visualizing qualitative data. In building the color scheme, there should be no large variances in lightness or saturation of colors since that can signify importance or preference for a particular category. …


Deciding between Monochromatic or Analogous Color Harmonies for your data visualization

Today, I discuss the color impact of choosing between a Monochromatic or an Analogous color harmony in your data visualizations. A Monochromatic color harmony combines one hue (a 100% saturated color) with various tints, tones and shades of that hue to create a color scheme. The Analogous Color Harmony combines three or more colors that are next to each to other on the Color Wheel to form a color scheme. Using the same data set, the presentation results can have different visual and perceptual impacts. These color choices can create subtle as well as obvious visual impressions about your data…


Applying the Analogous Color Harmony to data visualizations

The Analogous Color Harmony refers to selecting colors that are next to each other on the Color Wheel. This harmony is one of the easiest to create and one of the easiest to fail color deficiency tests. It can especially be difficult for someone with normal color vision to differentiate between two colors that are adjacent on the color wheel. A color deficiency can add to the challenge of distinguishing between such adjacent color. In this writing, I will discuss how Adobe Color can be used to create effective Analogous color harmonies, that pass color deficiency tests, for your data…


Using a complementary color harmony to build a diverging color scheme for data visualization

In this writing, I discuss an approach to creating your own Diverging Color color themes for data visualization. This facilitates capturing the attention of your viewers and setting up the environment for a unique and memorable visual presentation of your results. As a reminder, a Diverging color theme places equal emphasis on both a specified mid-range value as well as two extreme critical values.

By joining two fundamental principals from color theory, customized results for Diverging color schemes can be achieved. …


How to Tame Vibrating Boundaries in your Data Visualizations

A Complementary Color Harmony is defined as two colors that oppose each other on the Color Wheel. In Red Green Blue (RGB) Color Space, two fully saturated complementary color lights, when combined, will produce White light. The results can be vivid. In this writing, I discuss how a fully saturated complementary color scheme might pass color deficiency tests but become too difficult for people with normal color vision to view for an extended period of time. This can result in viewers having difficulty following the narrative in your data visualization. …


Expand your color toolbox with the Pantone Connect app

Pantone Connect is a recently released app for selecting Pantone colors or for extracting Pantone colors from images on your desktop or mobile devices. Personalized color palettes can be digitally created from Pantone’s color library of more than 10,000 hues. In this writing, I discuss how the Pantone Connect app can be used to facilitate the process of creating data visualizations by combining it with other tools like Viz Palette and the Color Blindness Simulator — Coblis. …


Creating a Bubble Chart Visualization with a Diad Color Harmony

Combining two colors that are two steps apart on the Color Wheel creates a Diad Color Harmony. This Color Harmony is one of the lesser used ones. I decided to cover it here to add variety to your options for colorizing visualizations.

As noted in my earlier Nightingale writings, color harmony is the process of choosing colors on a Color Wheel that work well together in the composition of an image. “The Blues of Color Harmony” noted the similarities between color harmony and musical harmony. …


From colorizing to printing a data visualization

As noted in my earlier Nightingale writings, color harmony is the process of choosing colors on a Color Wheel that work well together in the composition of an image. Today, I will step further into color theory by discussing the Split Complementary Color Harmony and apply it to a data visualization example. Most importantly, I discuss moving between display (RGB) and printing (CMYK) color spaces. Indeed there are many situations that require moving beyond digital results to produce a physical output. Unfortunately, colors frequently lose their vibrancy when transitioning from the RGB to the CMYK color spaces.To …

Theresa-Marie Rhyne

Theresa-Marie Rhyne is a color expert. Her book on “Applying Color Theory to Digital Media and Visualization” was published by CRC Press in 2016.

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