Watch Lisa write our book on how to use colors in data vis

Hi there! It’s Lisa. I’ve been working at Datawrapper since 2017 and introduced formats like the Weekly Chart, the Data Vis Dispatch, and the Data Vis Book Club.

You might also know me from a few articles about do’s and don’ts in data visualizations, especially about color.

Now the moment has come: I’ve written so much about how to use colors in data visualizations, it’s time to compile it into a book. I’m excited to announce that I’m working on the first Datawrapper book, and the first book in general (as far as I know) that’s just about colors in data visualization.

What this book will be

Decorative image showing different color elements like the color wheel.

I have clear expectations of what the book will look like:

  • Skimmable: You can read this book cover to cover, but I won’t judge you if you don’t. This book is made to come in handy if you’re trying to solve specific color problems.
  • Illustrated: If you’ve read, e.g., my “What to consider” articles like this one, you know I like to make my points with illustrations. They keep the book interesting to look at and help you understand for yourself why and how the color tips work.
  • Practical: This book will give you advice you can directly use. I’ll only write about color science to explain to you why this advice works. (The 250 of you who filled out the survey on the color book (thanks!) also said they’d be least interested in a chapter about color science.)
  • In depth: I’m not interested in writing the nth “introduction to data visualization” with the most important do’s and don’ts. There are lots of chapters on color in lots of data vis books, but none of them go as deep and practical as I want them to go. This book will be that deep dive. It will cover edge cases, tradeoffs, and exceptions.

Where you can keep up to date

We’re trying something new: You can follow along while I’m writing this book! I’m documenting my process each day on this Notion page.

Overview of the latest updates on the blog writing.

I’ve been doing so since mid-November, so you can already read updates about how I explored new color tools, analyzed the results of the survey, got excited about good papers on color, mused about the book structure, and much more.

I’m very excited to write this book for and at Datawrapper, and especially excited that you can follow along. If you have more questions (e.g., “Why Notion?” or “When will the book be published?”), head to the FAQ section of the updates. If you have any thoughts about the book in general, let me know at — or find me on Twitter (@lisacmuth). I’m looking forward to hearing from you.