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Affective color palettes in visualization

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) M.Sc.
Date created
The communication of affect, a feeling or emotion, has a central role in creating engaging visual experiences. Prior work on the psychology of color has focused on its effect on emotions, color preferences and reactions to color. Studies have attempted to solve problems related to improving aesthetics and emotions of images by improving color themes and templates. However, we have little understanding of how designers manipulate color properties for effective visual communication in information visualization. Designers manipulate color to communicate affect in visual representations, but the knowledge of how to effectively use color is largely rooted in the professional craft of the designer. In this thesis, we report research into how different color properties lightness, chroma and hue contribute to different affective interpretations considered to be of interest in information visualization. We report results of several studies examining whether certain kinds of palettes (sets of colors) were more likely to be chosen to convey different affect. We found significant differences in lightness, chromaticity and hue patterns between desired affective impressions. Our results suggest guidelines for how color properties can be manipulated to achieve affective expressiveness in information visualization.
Copyright statement
Copyright is held by the author.
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Bartram, Lyn
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etd10203_APatra.pdf 2.74 MB

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