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Dashboard Color Schemes: Advice for Branding Your Analytics

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insightsoftware is a global provider of reporting, analytics, and performance management solutions, empowering organizations to unlock business data and transform the way finance and data teams operate.

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When it comes to embedded analytics, embedded dashboard color schemes are the foundation of the brand. They not only need to match the look and feel of the existing application, but also convey information in a clear, concise way.

Choosing dashboard color schemes for embedded analytics may seem like a task for application designers. But often, it’s left up to developers to select dashboard color schemes for their in-app analytics. Are developers up to the task?

“There’s a misconception that developers don’t understand how to use dashboard colors,” says Josh McClure, solutions engineer at Logi Analytics. “But once you’re comfortable with the tools available, it’s easy to build effective palettes.”

Start with Your Brand

Chances are, your company already has a defined color palette used in client branding. So it makes sense to start there.

The established brand style guide should detail the visual identity the company wants to project. Guides define a company’s brand colors by using standard profiles—CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black), RGB (red, green, blue), or HEX (hexadecimal). Profiles provide color values in percentages, so a specific palette can be recreated in various applications: For example, the primary green color of our Logi Analytics logo has Hex color code #89BB40 and an RGB value of 137, 187, and 64

Start by identifying the dominant color—often one that pops out in the logo. Use that as your accent color to focus attention on the most important information in your embedded analytics dashboard. Choose secondary dashboard colors that complement the accent color and take care to not stray too far from your palette.

Use Third-Party Tools to Find Dashboard Color Schemes

You don’t have to be a designer to come up with gorgeous dashboard color schemes. Use free third-party tools like the Adobe Color Wheel and Color Brewer to find dashboard colors that complement your accent color. Combine these into an eye-catching palette.

As you determine your color palette, keep in mind that different devices may display the same color value differently. Screen resolution, algorithms, and other factors impact how users will see a color on their particular device and screen. Test your dashboard colors on a variety of devices and screen sizes to ensure the colors you select are consistent across most screens.

It’s easy to make a great-looking dashboard using these basic principles of design. Your customers won’t even know that they’re looking at a branded dashboard. Nigel Derbyshire of FMP commented that in their application, “our customers are seeing our embedded analytics module as a feature of our product. It looks like our product and they don’t know they are using third-party software.”

Another great resource for developers who want to hone their design chops: Universal Principle of Design, by Lidwell, Holden, and Butler. If you’re interested in color theory and strategy, this book a must-have.

Dashboard color schemes may seem complicated, but if you start here you’ll be on the right path. And once you’ve decided on a color scheme, use these dashboard color strategies to guide the colors you choose for your data visualizations.

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