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The Functional Art - Ch 3 & 4

Chapter 3 and 4 talks about "the beauty paradox" - the balance between art and communication in infographics. Depending on how abstract, functional, density, multidimensional, original and novelty a visualization work is, an infographic can become either more complex and deeper or more intelligible an shallower. These two chapters talk about how to balance all the metrics in the Visualization Wheel in different situations by identifying your target readers and how the designer wants audiences to use this infographic.

I love these chapters. I can't help thinking about my first project1 when I was reading this. When I was reading about Multidimensionality - Unidimensionality. For me, other than the two variables mentioned in the book which are "the number of layers of depth a graphic lets readers navigate, and the different forms it uses to encode the data" multidimensionality and unidimensionality to me also means the use of color. In the first version of my project1, I used two different colors to represent two counties while used another color in choropleth to represent the ALICE rate by counties across the U.S. And my professor pointed out that this third color was not compatible with the color palette of the whole work and suggested me to apply one of the two colors used for those two counties on the choropleth to make the whole work look more consistent. I understands the reason behind it and the outcome turns out really well. But what I was confused about is that when reader is reading the poster, would they relate anything in one color to the same thing? Like in my final version, I used to color for Glades County for the choropleth and I was a bit worried if that would confuse readers.

A week later, I figured out in some way. Firstly, there is some relationship between that choropleth and the Glades county: the choropleth is showing the seriousness of ALICE in each county and Glades is the most serious one in regarding of ALICE rate. And it is because the choropleth is presented to readers before graphics for the two counties, readers may not have a perceived concept of that specific color represents only information about Glades. Therefore, it makes sense to use the same color palette on these two graphics. Secondly, maybe next time, I can try to use a color scheme including two colors that matches well with each other rather than different hue of a single color. My friend Deb Pang Davis set a great example for it.

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