As founder of DATAcated, I frequently see a staggering and frustrating amount of data visualizations where color is being poorly used. We learn about color from an early age, but understanding how it connects our eyes to our brains and how the proper usage can transform graphics is an elusive subject for many. That’s why I decided to undertake this project; to go on a mission to teach business people, and data professionals the proper use of color for data visualization & data storytelling. - Kate Strachnyi

What is ColorWise?

Data has become the most powerful tool in business today, and telling its story effectively is critical to decision making. Yet color is the most neglected tool in data visualization. With this book, author and DATAcated founder Kate Strachnyi provides the ultimate guide to the correct use of color for representing data in graphs, charts, tables, and infographics.

Ideal for data and business analysts, data scientists, and others who design infographics and data visualizations, this practical resource explores color tips and tricks, including the theories behind them and why they work the way they do. ColorWise covers the psychology, history, and culture of a number of different colors. This book is also a useful teaching tool for learning about proper use of color for data storytelling techniques and dashboarding.

You'll explore:

  • The role that color theory plays in data visualization and storytelling
  • Various color techniques you can use to improve your data visualizations
  • How different colors affect your audience's understanding of data visualizations
  • How to use color intentionally to help guide your audience
  • Tips for using colors that can be interpreted by individuals with color vision deficiency
  • How to apply the book's guidelines for use in your own projects

Helpful Resources

Here is a compilation of some helpful tools and resources that you can leverage on your data storytelling journey:

Color Thief

 - Grab the color palette from an image using just JavaScript. Works in the browser and in Node. just drag an image into your browser and you’ll get a color palette, along with a dominant color. 

Palette Generator

 - Use the palette chooser to create a series of colors that are visually equidistant. This is useful for many data visualizations, like pie charts, grouped bar charts, and maps. 


 - Generates color palettes with a tap of your space bar.                                   

Viz Palette

 - Shows you how the color palette will look on a dashboard with various charts and graphs, and allows you to view the dashboard with color-blindness filters, as well as gray-scale mode     

i want hue

 - Colors for data scientists. Generate and refine palettes of optimally distinct colors. 

Canva Color Wheel

 - Helps you build a color palette for projects based on color theory, and then export your palette for use in your design application or a Canva project. 

Coblis — Color Blindness Simulator

 – Choose an image through the upload functionality or just drag and drop your image in the center of the Color BLIndness Simulator. 


 - Colormind is a color scheme generator that uses deep learning. It can learn color styles from photographs, movies, and popular art.                        

"Everyday, in businesses all around the world, I see the unintentional mis-use of color, leading to poorer insights from data. The correct use of color can really propel data storytelling and dashboard design to new heights. Kate Strachnyi has done an amazing job pulling together everything you will ever need to know about the use of color for effective data visualisation."

Bernard Marr

Bestselling author of Data Strategy

"Color is one of those things we often take for granted, especially when it comes to data. Colorwise opened my mind to the ways color can be used to greatly improve the storytelling impact of data visualizations."

Joe Reis

Author of Fundamentals of Data Engineering, data engineer, recovering data scientist

“This is more than a colour book.  It’s an education – there’s history, biology, science and soo much knowledge shared about colour, I’ll never think of it in the same way.  This book is a must-read!”

Susan Walsh

The Classification Guru

“This is more than a colour book.  It’s an education – there’s history, biology, science and soo much knowledge shared about colour, I’ll never think of it in the same way.  This book is a must-read!”

Brent Dykes

Author, Effective Data Storytelling: How to Drive Change with Data, Narrative, and Visuals, Chief Data Storyteller, AnalyticsHero, LLC

"Choosing what colors to use in our data visualizations and data storytelling has the potential to convey our messages better, but only if done so properly. The usage of color is both a science and an art and Kate does a great job at teaching us on how to use color wisely."

George Firican

Founder of LightsOnData

"The ability to build powerful data visualizations can be key to driving data stories and analytical work.  One element that can help make a visualization stand out and pop is the color utilized within.  Kate has written a wonderful book on the topic of color.  Pick it up today and utilize it to make your data visualizations stand out and be seen."

Jordan Morrow

VP and Head of Data and Analytics at BrainStorm, Inc. and the Godfather of Data Literacy

“Kate skillfully applies the scientific principles of color theory to the everyday practical reality of business communication about data. In her pragmatic yet comforting style she has created another MUST READ guide for data professionals everywhere. Why remain 'color dumb' when you can so easily become ColorWise?!” - Scott Taylor, The Data Whisperer

Scott Taylor

The Data Whisperer

"This book is a fun deep-dive into color theory and how the use of color can bring your data visualization to a whole new level. I love all the included graphics and examples included in this book; it makes the learning fun and easy. I'd recommend this book to ANY data professional focusing on conveying convincing stories through data visualization. If you want your visualizations to really "pop" and stand out to your audience, the use of color (and this book) are for you."

Avery Smith

Founder of Data Career Jumpstart

“Kate is an expert at shining a light on Data Storytelling. She is able to both paint a vivid vision and bring light to shady details. Color is a powerful tool in Data Storytelling. But only you use it wisely. This book will teach you how!”

Gilbert Eijkelenboom

Founder of MindSpeaking, Author of People Skills for Analytical Thinkers