This is the map of all topics my project discusses:

Click for full screen. SVG file

Here are the feedback of the viewers:

  • Person 1: The color is painful to the eyes
  • Person 2: The graphic is quite hard to look at
  • Person 3: If the circles have lighter colors then they will like it more

So I then try another couple palettes that consist all light colors from Coolors:

But I don't see how they fit. The reasons I choose staged circles to present the information are:

  • Each group of topics has a another group of topics lurking beneath
  • All topics are interconnected, even though they are in different groups

My hypothesis is that light colors cannot convey the feeling of deepness/complicatedness. However, as the feedback says, dark colors may be quite hard to look at. Do you have any recommendations?

  • 3
    I think the first one is ok. But since your cramming more text in a smaller area it gets cramped thats my problem. try a pyramid shape – joojaa Jan 29 at 16:12
  • Yes and aside from my answer, I would also note the concentric solution may not be the best idea for this infographic. Explore different ways of building this. – Lucian Jan 29 at 16:23
  • @joojaa I have considered pyramid, but it feels like after a block is done, you then move to the next block. It doesn't convey the idea that all members are interconnected, regardless of whether they are in different blocks or not. While with concentric circles, this gives a stronger impression of that, because outer circles go around the whole inner circles. – Ooker Jan 29 at 17:50
  • 2
    This is still a poor way of presenting your data, no better than your previous 'iceberg'. It doesn't start anywhere & it doesn't lead anywhere, it leaves the observer swimming in randomly-placed text with no real goal. That the bullseye is 'helplessness' gives rather a sense of unintentional irony not determined conclusion. You still have that temptation for the italic font header; which, though better than the cursive, is still a distraction. – Tetsujin Jan 29 at 17:53

My two cents.

A. Keep the palette monochromatic unless you want some other meaning than "Deep". You could use any color, but normally, a warm color will give you the additional meaning of "Hot", green of nature. Using blue could reference the sea, where darker blue means "deeper".

B. Keep the colors, either light enough or dark enough so you do not need to change the color of the text for contrast. But if you need the meaning "Deep" I would keep the dark palette.

C. Keep the colors saturated, especially on the inner circle, unless your concept of "Deep" also means "dark" or "murky"

D. Only use a multi-color palette if you add another meaning, like "urgency".

enter image description here

That is to answer the question, but you need to work a lot on the way you arrange the texts.

Not asked, but for the texts:

E. Try using a condensed font, this way you can make it bigger, in a more compact block of text.

F. Use bold text if you are using a dark background.

G. If you can reduce the space between letters, the kerning.

enter image description here

H. You have longer words than others, so try to maximize the size of the text using different zones of the circle.

I. You could try using another shape than the circle.

J. You could also rotate the text, but it can complicate the reading if you are not careful.

K. Ideally, you integrate the text on the circle, not "just put the text there" but this depends on the software you are using and the time and expertise you have with it.

enter image description here

The overall idea is to maximize the size and readability of the texts. Probably the users are struggling more about this rather than the palette itself.

Also, each shape means something. As you have the subsection in magenta, it looks that you are zooming in the center part (L).

See if you mean that or in reality, it is just a percentage of the outer circle, so you need to use the center of the circle for the lines to converge. (M)

enter image description here

  • 1
    I combine your advices and here is the result. Can you check it out? i.imgur.com/M9UH1xY.png – Ooker Jan 30 at 17:25
  • 2
    IMHO It is a lot more readable. The original palette is happier, but this one is more concise. I will add one more thing. Not always everyone will be happy with a design, you just have to focus and do your best. :o) These are just some tips, not a recipe. Cheers. – Rafael Jan 30 at 18:30
  • If possible, can you tell whether which direction of darkening is better: inside-out or outside-in? – Ooker Feb 2 at 8:50
  • Visually the lighter color is nicer. You could think that it also means "en-light-enment". One more thing. Design is not an exact science, you also need to be happy with how something looks at the end. So, choose one :o) – Rafael Feb 2 at 8:59

All that coloring scheme is distracting and you need to keep people's focus on the content, not the random candy rainbow thing. Reduce the color scheme to a single color, in my example below, 8% of "C" blue, set everything to multiply, and play with something like this.

The graphic needs to support, but not take over, the content.

enter image description here

That, or try a softer combo of more or less random colors, like:

enter image description here

  • If possible, can you tell whether which direction of darkening is better: inside-out or outside-in? – Ooker Feb 2 at 8:51
  • Second option, outside-in. Otherwise you're going back to the chart taking over the content. The bigger the shape, the lighter the shade !! – Lucian Feb 2 at 8:53
  • so the darker the shape is the more it will attract your attention? I thought that the lighter object will attract your attention more? Like a light in a dark? – Ooker Feb 2 at 8:59

I've got a few suggestions:

  • It's not just the background that can change colour, you could also change the colour of the text
  • The background doesn't have to be areas of solid colour, the shapes could be white with a coloured outline or a pale colour with a dark outline, for instance
  • The background areas could be various tints of the same colour, rather than all different colours

All of the above (or a combination of one or more) could help to make the diagram less busy and overwhelming.

I would also consider a different layout. Maybe a stack or pyramid type layout might be clearer than the concentric circles.

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