1. Data Visualization
  2. Design approaches for Data visualization

Design approaches for data visualization

The colors and fonts you choose can greatly affect how your audience perceives and understands your data. One of the key aspects of designing effective visualizations is selecting appropriate color palettes and fonts.

Data visualization is crucial for communicating complex information effectively. This article will discuss how to select the right color palette and fonts.

The color palette and fonts used in a visualization can significantly impact how the audience perceives and understands the data. The right color palette can emphasize important data points, provide contrast between different categories, and create an emotional connection. Similarly, the right font can enhance readability, legibility, and add style to the design. Choosing the right color palette and fonts is essential for creating a visually appealing visualization that accurately conveys the intended message to the audience.

Color Palette Selection

Selecting the right color palette is crucial for creating an effective data visualization. Here are some tips on how to choose the right color palette:

  • Determine the Purpose of Your Visualization: The first step in choosing a color palette is to determine the purpose of your visualization. If your visualization is meant to highlight trends, use a color palette that emphasizes contrast between different data points. If your visualization is meant to represent different categories, use a color palette that has distinct colors for each category.
  • Choose a Color Scheme: There are several types of color schemes to choose from, such as monochromatic, analogous, complementary, and triadic. A monochromatic color scheme uses different shades of a single color, while an analogous color scheme uses colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. A complementary color scheme uses colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel, while a triadic color scheme uses three colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel.
  • Consider your topic and your audience: the context of your data will affect the legibility and readability of the font used, as well as the contrast and saturation of the color palette. take a minute and think about the topic of your visualization, you can find some color palettes that represent the topic itself. Get help from sources such as Pinterest, Dribbble, InspirationGrid, and Paletton.
  • Consider Color Blindness: Color blindness affects a significant portion of the population. To ensure that your visualization is accessible to everyone, choose a color palette that is easily distinguishable by people with color blindness. You can use tools like ColorBrewer or Coblis to test your color palette for accessibility.




Font Selection

Choosing the right font is just as important as selecting the right color palette. Here are some tips on how to choose the right font for your data visualization:

  1. Consider Readability: The most important aspect of font selection is readability. Choose a font that is easy to read at the size you are using it. Sans-serif fonts like Arial and Helvetica are generally easier to read on digital displays.
  2. Choose a Font that Matches the Tone of Your Visualization: The font you choose should match the tone of your visualization. If your visualization is meant to be formal or professional, use a traditional serif font like Times New Roman. If your visualization is more playful or modern, use a sans-serif font like Open Sans or Roboto.
  3. Use Font Variations to Emphasize Information: You can use variations in font size, weight, and style to emphasize information in your visualization. For example, you can use a bold font for headings or a larger font for important data points.

Quick practice

The process of selecting the fonts and color palette for your data visualization requires practicing and examining. Moreover, designing is a proportional concept in the mindset of everyone. As long as you stick to the rules and frameworks, your visualization will not lose any value.

One common approach is to showcase Dati.gov.it, the national catalog of open data in Italy. This platform is structured and government-backed, providing easy access to open-source data. It should be noted that the datasets accessible on the website are primarily obtained from governmental organizations and institutions, and private sector involvement is limited.

Let’s start with the website:

  • One could regard the color scheme on the website as a valuable resource for generating a color palette. The website predominantly employs a monochromatic style, featuring a main shade of blue and other complementary colors to facilitate familiarity and recollection for users, thus establishing a symbolic color scheme for the website.

The derived color palette from the website

  • The font that has been used on the website is “Titillium Web”,Geneva,Tahoma,sans-serif;”. The sans-serif font family is very popular for the web and digital formats. As mentioned above the most important element for font selection, is readability,  therefore the process of selecting the font proceeded with examining the fonts that are most readable and also available on the web. 
  • Practice is the key, and the effort for testing and checking the readability of the fonts also is another important, matter. The advice here is to create a sheet, that contains rectangles with different shades of your selected color palette. And test the fonts with color in contrast, on different colors to make sure your font is readable enough. Test the different weights and write in numbers and different characters. in this way, you can check the readability in all possible aspects. You can use any affordable and available graphic design tool. in the last figure, you can see the final result of this practice.


In conclusion, selecting the appropriate fonts and color schema is crucial for creating an effective and visually appealing design. The font type and size should be carefully chosen to ensure readability and coherence with the overall design concept. The color palette should also be selected with care, taking into account its compatibility with the brand identity and target audience, as well as its ability to convey the intended message. By testing the fonts and colors in different combinations and contrast levels, designers can ensure that their designs are both visually appealing and functional. Ultimately, a successful design is one that effectively communicates the desired message while also being aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

If you want to check the final data visualization from our practice, click here.