The Alphabet Project

C is for Colour


When Adam told me that he’d chosen “Colour” as our third topic for the project, I knew exactly what I wanted to do (which was a relief after B is for Beer!) 

If you look through my Tableau Public Profile, you’ll see a lot of short format dashboards that answer a very specific question: “how many steps did I take at TC18?”, “which artists have topped the charts most frequently?” and “what can we do to save the bees?” 
So I wanted to take the opportunity to make a long-form infographic detailing how humans see colour. 

I also decided that I wanted to show the wavelengths and colours of the entire visible light spectrum that users could click through (OK, I actually wanted to use the pages shelf, so I’ll update the viz when pages on server is released). 

Data collection

As it turns out, there’s no definitive way to map wavelengths of light to hex colours, but I had an idea and wouldn’t give up! So I found a tool that gave a best-estimate method. Unfortunately, I couldn’t work out how to get to the source data, so I copied out colours for the entire visible light spectrum (380-780nm). I then joined this to a second file with x coordinates and calculated the y coordinates to form the light waves.

Building the viz

To make the colours pop, I chose a black background and then set about writing the text. The topic seemed to fit the infographic format quite well and I broke up the format with borders built by plotting squares to represent each wavelength of the spectrum. 

C is for Colour – a dashboard to describe how the human eye sees and interprets colour

Now, I will hold my hands up, a lot of the viz could have been created in another tool and it is definitely more informative than analytical, but I really enjoyed creating this and dusting off my A-Level biology knowledge. 

What’s next? 

It’s my turn to pick the topic and there was only one runner in this race…

D is for Dinosaurs

Adam will be releasing his viz-asaurus on Monday 17th Feb and will blog about it at

Over to you Adam! 


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