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*Note* This post is part of our ongoing series “Misconceptions in the visual communication of science.” You can find other posts in the series here.

As a team of scientists and scientific illustrators, we’ve worked alongside many researchers who try their very hardest to communicate through pictures. Yet, despite best intentions, we often see common misconceptions that undermine the effectiveness of the pictures we encounter. We cover one particularly powerful misconception in this post and will cover more in future posts.

Misconception: More color is better

Color can be a powerful tool for visual communication. It can highlight important parts of a picture. It can differentiate between things that might otherwise look the same. And color can effectively signal that separate things are related to each other. However, as you’ll learn in the two “S.P.A.R.K. Snippets” below, too much color can overwhelm your content and, if used incorrectly, can lead to mixed messages.

We cover many best practices for the use of color in our full S.P.A.R.K. course, so be sure to check it out!


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