Cynthia Brewer profile

Oct 22, 2014

Wired wrote a short profile for Cynthia Brewer, best known for Color Brewer, a tool that provides visually apt color schemes for maps (and charts).

Brewer has been thinking about these issues since her graduate days at Michigan State. But the idea for Color Brewer grew out of a sabbatical she did with the U.S. Census Bureau, overseeing the atlas that accompanied the 2000 Census. “We were trying to be really systematic with color throughout the atlas,” she said. Other mapmakers liked the color sets they developed and began asking for them, and Brewer set up Color Brewer to make them more readily available.

If you’ve looked at thematic maps at all, you’ve likely come across a color scheme from Color Brewer. I wouldn’t say it’s ubiquitous quite yet, but it’s close. I just like how something so widespread came from a couple of people in a room who wanted to streamline the process of putting together the decennial atlas.

Favorites

Shifting Incomes for American Jobs

For various occupations, the difference between the person who makes the most and the one who makes the least can be significant.

Who is Older and Younger than You

Here’s a chart to show you how long you have until you start to feel your age.

How You Will Die

So far we’ve seen when you will die and how other people tend to die. Now let’s put the two together to see how and when you will die, given your sex, race, and age.

Best Data Visualization Projects of 2016

Here are my favorites for the year.