Here are some recommendations for making scientific graphics which help your audience understand your data as easily as possible. Your graphics should be striking, readily understandable, should avoid distorting the data (unless you really mean to), and be safe for those who are colourblind. Remember, there are no really “right” or “wrong” palettes (OK, maybe […]


It turns out that my infant son has a milk allergy (not intolerance). He’ll probably grow out of it, but in the meantime we have to be careful not to feed him anything that might contain cow’s milk. This is much easier since 2014, as the UK’s food labelling laws changed so that allergens must […]

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That’s Royal Meterological Society at the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting. We had an afternoon of Visualisation of Meterological data, part of the ECMWF visualisation week, and Better Figures was lucky enough to be invited to present (download the slides). ECMWF was great, in that they have preserved the 1970’s decor beautifully, alongside […]


At the time of writing, the US media is tracking Hurricane Joaquin, and trying to predict whether it will make landfall in the US over the next few days. There are lots of great visualisations, but one thing that this event does highlight is just how many different types of rainbow colour palette there are. […]

People like to put together lists of rules for making better visualisations. In the published literature, I can find a couple of good examples. Rougier et al. (2014) offers some high level advice and Keheller & Wagener (2011) some slightly lower level (more practical/detailed) tips. In the blogs and on the web, there are 7 tips […]

Here is a great video, describing viridis, the new default colourmap for matplotlib in the programming language Python. This has some great features – It’s perceptually uniform across its range, it’s pretty, and it works for the colourblind. Oh, and you’re free to use it. The last five minutes or so describe the process and thinking […]

Better Figures made a video! The video offers some tips for making better figures. We cover: A brief history of statistical graphics [02:20] Everybody loves a bad figure [08:10] Some principles [11:35] Making better timeseries (applying those principles) [13:13] Projection distortion [18:00] Better Palettes [18:46] We need to talk about “Rainbow” [23:30] Design, and design […]


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