Use Color to Your Advantage.

Neon-Clad Baylor Advances
Neon-Clad Baylor Advances

Clad in neon green from their jerseys to their shoes, the Baylor Bears advanced to the South Regional finals in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament last night, leading by as many as 18 points in a game that was pretty hard to watch. Literally.

Spectators had lots to say about Baylor in the Georgia Dome last night, but instead of commenting about their talent, skill and ball handling, most people talked about the obnoxious neon "green" color that the Bears and their fans were wearing. Their neon green uniforms (think "tennis ball" yellow) made it nearly impossible to keep your eyes off of them -- yet for many of us, was a complete distraction from the game itself.

As I tried to watch, I thought about the critical role that color plays in the communication of data and information. By highlighting certain details with color, we choose to draw attention to them or put greater emphasis on them. At the same time, color has the potential to confuse or distract our audience if the color we select conflicts with the message or purpose we have in mind.

Can color impact outcomes, giving one team a greater (and perhaps unfair) advantage over another? Could the Baylor Bear's neon uniforms be playing a part in their success?

What are your thoughts?

For more on color and tips for your next presentation, design or data visualization, see "Color Has Meaning".