The ability to experience color can help us in a variety of ways. Colours convey meaning, connect, communicate functions, and help us to distinguish information.

Color conveys meaning

For example: red implies danger, or the need to pay attention, it can communicate that we should “stop”, whereas green communicates the opposite, and let’s us know that we can “go”, and that something is safe to proceed. Colours are also associated with emotional states. For example a smiley that is green conveys the feeling of being sick, or blue conveys the feeling of being sad.

Colors connect

When using colors across a displays of information, readers can assume that the information is associated with each other, grouped or related in some way. In this way it is possible to create groups that are not located next to each other but are rather distributed across an area of thematically different pieces of information. For example a geographic area could be color encoded across different displays and provide insights into this geographic area with different perspectives and foci.

Colors communicate functions

Similar to meaning, colors can indicate states and help us understand whether something is ready to proceed with, or whether something requires additional attention. This can be used in combination with gauges where areas encoded with red or yellow can give a clear indication as of the state of a certain function.

Visual segregation

Conor helps us to distinguish pieces of information from each other and isolate information from other visual displays. When combining colors across displays for various pieces of information this should be taken into account.