Select a sample visualisation or infographic project and identify all the composition choices on display. Pretend you are now the designer working up some new composition choices in the face of having to accommodate new contextual factors, how might you colour this project if… Assignment Link: http://book.visualisingdata.com/chapter/chapter-10
Composition choices in a visualisation or infographic project refer to the design decisions made by the designer in terms of layout, arrangement, placement, and overall organization of visual elements to convey information effectively. These choices play a crucial role in the success of a visualisation project as they determine the clarity of the message, visual hierarchy, and overall aesthetic appeal. In this assignment, we will analyze a sample visualisation project, identify its composition choices, and then discuss how we might modify the colour scheme to accommodate new contextual factors.
For the purpose of this assignment, let’s consider the “Population Pyramid” visualisation project showcased in Chapter 10 of the book “Visualising Data” by Andy Kirk. This visualisation project presents the age and gender structure of the population for different years and countries.
The composition choices on display in this project can be categorized into several aspects:
1. Overall Layout: The visualisation employs a vertical layout, with a clear separation of age groups and gender using color-coding. It utilizes a standardized format to display the data for different countries, allowing for easy comparison.
2. Visual Hierarchy: The project uses size and position to establish a visual hierarchy. The length of bars represents population size, and the color choice distinguishes between genders. The vertical axis represents the age groups, with younger ages at the top and older ages at the bottom.
3. Arrangement of Visual Elements: The visualisation arranges the age groups in a pyramid-like shape, highlighting the distribution of population across different age ranges. The bars representing each age group are parallel and evenly spaced, contributing to a visually balanced composition.
4. Color Scheme: The project uses a color scheme that differentiates between male and female population, employing blue for males and pink for females. This choice is consistent throughout the visualisation and helps viewers quickly understand the gender distribution within each age group.
Now, let’s explore how we might modify the colour scheme of this project to accommodate new contextual factors. In this case, let us assume that the visualisation needs to be adapted to a colour-blind audience or a context that may require using different colours due to cultural or symbolic significance.
To address the first scenario of designing for a colour-blind audience, we need to choose colors that are perceptible for individuals with different types of colour vision deficiencies. Instead of relying on blue and pink, which may be difficult to distinguish for some individuals, we could select colors with high contrast that can be easily perceived, such as using contrasting shades of green and purple or orange and blue.
In the second scenario, where cultural or symbolic significance plays a role, we would analyze the specific cultural context to identify suitable colors. For example, in some cultures, red may symbolize luck or fortune, whereas in others, it may represent danger. Therefore, by considering the cultural context, we can select colors that align with the intended message and are culturally appropriate.
In summary, composition choices in a visualisation or infographic project encompass various aspects of layout, visual hierarchy, arrangement, and color scheme. The sample “Population Pyramid” visualisation project exemplifies these composition choices. When faced with new contextual factors, such as designing for a colour-blind audience or considering cultural significance, modifying the color scheme becomes crucial. By selecting appropriate colors that are perceivable and culturally relevant, the visualisation can effectively convey its message to a diverse audience.
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