The Power of Patterns in Visual Communications

PatternChart

Patterns are everywhere and even where they aren’t, we’ll make them up. This is because all animals are hard-wired to find patterns through our sensory input. It’s all about survival. Our skill at pattern recognition means capitalizing on opportunities and coping with challenges.

All visual communications use patterns whether purposefully designed or not. I’m sure you’ve seen designs with unintentional patterns such as Business Insider’s 15 Worst Corporate Logo Fails.

Data visualizations are reliant on pattern recognition. A chart interprets measurable values as a visual image. This in turn allows us to recognize patterns for the purposes of making comparisons, identifying outliers, etc.

The interactive tutorial below introduces some of the scientific theories behind pattern recognition and how to use that knowledge to improve the clarity of visual communications products, especially data visualizations. To view the tutorial in full screen, click here. All opinions expressed in the tutorial are my own.