Playful Visualizations at Work, Working Visualizations at Play

Access to color

This particular post regarding some of the color work I’ve been doing is coming at a particularly relevant time. I had more than enough access to sunshine today, and my body has turned a different color. It’s a reddish painful pink now, a color that my 2004 Microsoft Office doesn’t offer me when I am playing around with my texts in Word. Because my outdated Office products were limiting my palette in my search for a pretty visual, I downloaded Open Office at Liz’s suggestion. I was (loudly) overjoyed to find more options than I had enjoyed in my Word program. One of the illegible visualizations I posted previously was a Word document in which I had set up a chronology of different iterations of the n+7 experiment, all organized by color. With more colors, I thought about ways in which to make the visual more attractive, and perhaps (slightly) more meaningful. My initial intent was to create some sort of gradual shift in color to demonstrate the shift in the process of the changing nouns, but because each step represents a discrete state, and because the colors are equally discrete, no true gradation was possible. That being said, I reverted to my initial rainbow thoughts, and did what I could. Here are some screen shots, none of which are trying to give you access to the whole process, but they are each screen shots of various levels of closeness and distance that I found appealing.



The top two aren’t exactly Rothko’s, but I like how they are such big blocks of color. Incidentally, those are graphics of when I made the texts size 2 font. For some reason, the color blocks expanded into huge chunks, and the writing is tiny dots on the inside edges of each square. The bottom left image almost fully captures the colors I chose. They are bright, simple (although less simple than my initial efforts, as my palette grows), and uniform in size. The final image shows part of the process when I was playing around with font size.

As I was making these, the person with whom I live happened to glance over my shoulder. This person, it should be known, makes websites as part of his living and is in no way a graduate student nor a student of literature. Aside from being amused with my timid forays into websites (especially my inability to add links to posts, which I am working on for next time, don’t worry), he looked at the images and told me they look nice. It doesn’t make any sense to him why I would take a text and plug it into computer programs and then recopy it into a word document and…add colors? Changes sizes? Zoom in? Zoom out? Where is the point?

I had to admit, as I got more and more engaged in browsing colors and playing with the extra big and the super small, that I was drifting further and further away from any sort of graph I could make on Many Eyes. How far away from the “useful” side of this project can I be? Why am I so resistant to making something useful, or moving in that direction? I will keep asking myself these questions this week, and see if I can come up with any sort of satisfying response. In the meantime, I am going to spend some time plugging (unrelated) grades into excel. How’s that for useful?


Comments on: "Access to color" (2)

  1. meagfitzska said:

    Surprise! The formatting in dashboard is not always what it will look like once posted! In my draft, the pictures formed a square. Now they don’t. You are smart enough to figure out which one I am referring to in any event.

  2. claireihle said:

    I really like the colors of what you’ve created!

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