After we wrapped up the mobile-first round of #IronQuest, I was all out of ideas on what to viz next. Thankfully, the #datafam weren’t short of suggestions when I asked for ideas on Twitter! With so many ideas flying around, I summerised the four most-popular suggestions I received and put them to a Twitter vote:

A whopping 256 people voted in the poll, with 36.3% voting for ‘Black & White Vizzes’ as their favourite. That being said, the other categories also faired well so I’ll certainly be considering them for future rounds.

It’s no surprise therefore that for this round of #IronQuest, we’ll be focusing on designing in black and white (and greyscale).


Black and White Design

Black and white are stark opposites. Both colours work well by themselves but when brought together, they create a powerful contrast.

Black is the strongest of the neutral colours. On the positive side, it’s commonly associated with power, elegance, and formality. On the negative side, it can be associated with evil, death, and mystery. Black is the traditional colour of mourning in many Western countries and in some cultures, it is associated with Halloween and the occult. In design, black can be either conservative, modern, traditional or unconventional, depending on the colours it’s combined with.

White is at the opposite end of the colour spectrum to black. White is often associated with purity, cleanliness, peace and virtue. In much of the East, however, white is associated with death and mourning. In design, white is generally considered a neutral backdrop that lets other colours in a design have a larger voice. It can help to convey cleanliness and simplicity, though, and is popular in minimalist designs.

Greyscale, traditionally is a printing setting that uses shades of grey to reproduce color variation. It’s often used to save money on colored ink when viewing a design in color isn’t absolutely necessary. If you desaturate all the colours in a full colour image, the result is greyscale; black, white and all the grey tones in-between.


The Challenge

The challenge this month is to create a compelling visualisation using only black, white or greyscale colour schemes.

Remember, #IronQuest is modelled upon the #IronViz feeder competitions which are judged on design, storytelling and analysis. With this in mind, we are looking for visualisations which tell a compelling story, supported by thorough analysis and complementary design techniques. Ideally, you will use the black and white colour scheme to your advantage. With such contrasting colours, consider how you can use black and white to capture your audiences’ attention quickly and engage them at an emotional level. Whatever you decide, you are free to use any dataset or chart types you wish.


Inspiration from the Tableau Community

Black and white designs are popular within the Tableau Community.

Below are a few examples from Tableau Public authors to inspire you. Click on the images to view the original visualisations on Tableau Public.

Pokemon Generations by Ludovic Tavernier

Flytipping in London by Gary Collins

The High Cost of Commuting by Samo Drole

Chain of Death in Connecticut by Anna Dzikowska

Tableau by Day, Sleeping by Night by Robbin Vernooji

Chanel Branding Illustration by Jeffrey Shaffer

It’s also worth checking out the entries submitted as part of the July 2020 #SWDChallenge where the objective was to design in a single hue.


How do I enter?

The process is simple:

  • Source your data and build a viz that somehow touches upon the chosen theme for the month.
  • Upload your viz to Tableau Public or somewhere where it can be openly viewed online.
  • Fill in the submissions tracker (embedded at the bottom of this post) so we can keep track of who is participating. This step is essential if you want to request feedback or be credited in the wrap-up blog post.
  • If you opted in for feedback in step 3, the guest judge and myself will provide some constructive feedback on your viz after the submission period closes.

Top Tips

  • You can use any data set which fits the theme (assuming you have permission to share it publicly).
  • Always remember to credit your data source/s on your viz.
  • Refrain from using any images or logos on your viz unless you have permission to do so.
  • Remember the Iron Viz judging criteria and try to focus on all three; Design, Storytelling and Analysis.
  • Think outside the box!

Who is my guest judge?

I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be teaming up with Chantilly Jaggernaugh this month!

Chantilly is the Founder and CEO of Millennials and Data (#MAD). Through #MAD, Chantilly works to bridge the data literacy and analytical skills gap by training, mentoring, and preparing millennials to enter a data-driven global environment. Her goal is to build a community of millennials who have the analytical skills needed to become data-driven leaders within any industry. In her day job, Chantilly is the VP of Data Visualization and Training at Lovelytics in Arlington, VA. Chantilly is also a Tableau Zen Master and Tableau Public Ambassador.

Visit her blog here.

Chantilly has an impressive Tableau Public portfolio featuring 58 stunning visualisations. Chantilly is famous for both her infographic and business dashboard styles and she is one of my go-to authors whenever I am in need of inspiration.

Below are a few of her designs.


When is the submission deadline?

The deadline for submissions is midnight PST on Sunday 6th December.

Feedback will be provided (to those who request it) via a conversation recorded and posted to YouTube between Chantilly and I, shortly after the deadline date.

Please note, if we receive a large number of feedback requests (more than we can cover in two hours), we’ll prioritise those from Tableau beginners or those entering #IronQuest for the first time. Any remaining feedback will be shared with the authors directly via email.

Continue the conversation and connect with other participants by following the #IronQuest hashtag on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thanks for reading and we look forward to seeing your entry!

*Cover photo by David Buchi from Pexels

Submissions Tracker