Making Data Visualization Effective

by | Aug 25, 2021

Here at Reach Reporting, we’re all about creating charts and graphs that bring financial data to life. After all, a well-crafted chart can make complex spreadsheets much easier to understand and consume. But, in order to make charts effective, proper layout and color selection are vital. In this article, we’ll be discussing how to select colors that will help make data visualization more effective.

Use colors that won’t distract.

The goal of using colors in charts is to make data easier to understand, not harder. When choosing colors, make sure they are pleasing to the eye and don’t distract from the story you’re trying to tell. Avoid using both loud colors that are hard to look at and muted colors that are hard to see. Additionally, keep your color selection to a minimum, using too many colors can confuse readers and distract them from the financial story you are trying to convey.

Don’t use opposing colors.

When using too much contrast between colors, it can be difficult for readers to determine which color is more important. This creates a competing effect with the data and does not move the information forward, instead, causing sensory overload. Instead, choose a cool or warm color palette that complements your client’s brand colors.

Use colors to reflect meaning.

While avoiding colors that contrast too greatly, colors should be used to depict the meaning of the data. For example, green for growth, red for decline, and yellow for caution. By using these widely known color associations, readers can quickly understand what those numbers mean for their business.

Use shades of the same color.

Try to keep your charts simple, but visually stimulating. By using different shades of the same color, readers won’t be distracted by overuse of color and instead focus on the data. Be subtle with the shading scale, and don’t abruptly change from shade to shade. Use the color process of gradients.

Keep colors consistent.

Make sure to select a color palette and use it throughout the entire report. Don’t color one chart orange and then color another chart purple. Keeping the same color palette makes your report cohesive, making it easier to read the data you are presenting. By using consistent colors, readers won’t have to re-educate themselves every time they turn the page or look at another metric.

Use bright colors to highlight necessary data.

Having a consistent bright color to distinguish important data from the rest will help clients focus on the information you want to bring to their attention. Use your client’s brand color if possible.

Avoid relying on color alone for legends.

Even with the best color selections, people have difficulty reading legends based on color. Ensuring your legend is based on more than color will improve readability, comprehension and ensure that your charts are readable for the color-blind.

Use black text unless the background is dark.

Black text always reads the best unless the background is dark. In those cases, use a contrasting color. For light backgrounds, use black; for dark backgrounds use light font colors. If you can not read black or white text on your background, change your color.

Test your color contrast in greyscale.

If you want to make sure your colors have enough contrast, save your report as greyscale. This can help you determine if you have enough contrast between the colors you have selected.

At Reach Reporting, we believe that charts should make data more simple to understand and consume. By selecting the right colors, you can create charts and graphs that are visually pleasing, easily understandable, and help tell the story of your financial data. With proper color selection, you can highlight the most important information, use shades to guide the eye, and create a cohesive report that is easy to read and understand. At Reach Reporting, we specialize in creating customized financial reports that not only track and analyze your business income but also present the data in an engaging and visually appealing way. Whether you need pie charts, line graphs, or any other chart out there, our team of experts can help you create the perfect financial report to meet your needs. Let us help you turn your data into a compelling story that your clients will love.

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