Data Visualization Linguistics / Interpreting & Visual Language / Tableau

Pop Dashboards: Playing with Color in Tableau

I recently got asked about color palettes when I posted a sample to Twitter.  Tableau allows you to customize your preferences file (scary .tps file with the gear on it), so I spent the day redoing mine, since my hard drive crashed melted.  I guess that’s one way to reset your digital life…

Here’s my favorite tricks to color palettes:

  1. Go here and download.  Follow it to the letter.
  2. Go get ColorTool.
  3. Spend a night and make stuff you like.

Now, like a kid, I had to muddy the bike and bend the rims before I could share it.  It’s a thing…

I decided to revisit this dashboard for fun.

Executive Tableau Dashboard Blue - Simply Elegant Dashboards
The original VizMix.

Using my 901 color palettes, I decided to go Andy Warhol on it.

GREEN!!!!!!! And Purple!
GREEN!!!!!!! And Purple!

I love green.  No one else does, it has a bad rap for being rather nasty to the color blind, and if you put this one in the tester, YIKES!  You can give it a whirl if you want the pain.  I had to get it out of my system just once.  This would likely never fly, but sometimes, we gotta try.


Executive Tableau Dashboard Palm - Simply Elegant Dashboards
This might fly…


Executive Tableau Dashboard Modern - Simply Elegant Dashboards
Restoration Hardware version.  I kinda like it.

I drift towards odd shades of blues in dashboards.  And greys.  And brown.  I could probably get away with this somewhere, if I haven’t already.


Executive Tableau Dashboard Orange - Simply Elegant Dashboards
All the colors of clay!  How I like to play.

I usually avoid red like the plague.  A. it’s wicked hard on eyes. B. I was NEVER allowed to wear it while interpreting (see A). C. There’s a certain type of blindness that is massively irritated by red.  Orange isn’t too far behind and it’s one of those colors I’ve never been able to wear well.  Of course, I had to try it.  D. Color blindness – another scary one in the tester.


Executive Tableau Dashboard Tucsan - Simply Elegant Dashboards
NOT interpreter friendly!

Since I went orange, I had to go dark in the background.  I like this, too, and I might be able to pull a part of this off somewhere.  Maybe…


Executive Tableau Dashboard NYC - Simply Elegant Dashboards
A less extreme version.  It reminds me of some of my audio gear.

I won’t lie – I had too much fun with this one.  A. It’s got some of my favorite colors for dashboards.  I inverted my scales on all the dark dashboards so the light pops as the large number and the heat map looks like something I’d put in my kitchen as a splash guard.  B. It’s a dark dashboard and I love ’em.  C. The bar/line chart looks like something I’d see while running sound.


Executive Tableau Dashboard Purple - Simply Elegant Dashboards
Had to.

Like green, I rarely seem to get to use purple.  Of course, I had to here.  And as vibrant as possible without turning pink.


I had fun.  Live versions below with a gift inside.

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