I love having movies playing in the background while I am working; I put my Netflix and Amazon Prime accounts to very good use. Earlier this week, I was watching Hero, directed by Zhang Yimou and starring Jet Li, Donnie Yen, Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Zhang Ziyi just to name a few. This movie also happens to be one of my favourite movies from a storytelling point of view and one of the most cinematically beautiful movies I have seen.

However, this is not an article about movies or cinematography, but, spoiler alert, how the story of Hero is told from several points of view, and how each story has a distinct color palette for dramatic effect; shades of reds, blues, greens, greys and whites are used with great effect. While watching this I looked at my Twitter feed and saw someone (I cannot recall who) was Tweeting about colours palettes in Tableau, and this took me back to a past project.

The Project

I was once tasked with working on a dashboard style guide which we will use to standard all visual outputs throughout the organisation. This is a huge task and therefore sought the help of a digital design company, who did the following:

  • Performed text analytics on our marketing tweets, external marketing material, presentations as well as other text that we produce to describe ourselves. They produced a list of different adjectives which senior management and marketing approved of.
  • Facilitated several focus groups to see what images provoked the approved adjectives.
  • Used the images to produce several palettes that we would use in our style guide. This was presented to us and we added some slights tweaks of course.

I found this to be a very interesting and creative approach, so found a place in my long-term memory; the movie and Tweet made me remember this project. After the movie, I started reading up on libraries and on extracting color palettes from an image and formulated a plan on how I can use images to produce Color palettes for Tableau. The next night, I programmed the first Tableau Magic utility, a Beta version of the Color Palette Generator.

Found here: https://color.tableaumagic.com

Let us take a simple dashboard, generate palettes from some beautiful images from pexels.com, my go to place, and see what we can come up with.

Spring

Stock Image
Extracted Color Palette
Tableau Dashboard

Autumn

Stock Image
Extracted Color Palette
Tableau Dashboard

Purple

Stock Image
Extracted Color Palette
Tableau Dashboard

Love

Stock Image
Extracted Color Palette
Tableau Dashboard

Summary

I hope you enjoyed this article and more importantly find the Color Palette Generator useful and fun. I do have a feature list which I will implement in the new year, this includes:

  • Saving your palettes to an account.
  • A color picker to choose colors from an image manually.
  • Add sequential and divergent gradient color palettes.
  • Create and manage multiple color palettes.

If you have any ideas about future features, please let me know below or at @Tableau_Magic.

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