Visualising Actual Performance Compared to Predicted Performance


The Sydney Moderns Exhibition in general, and Roy de Maistre in particular, have sent me off thinking about visualisation this week.

I have been wondering if I can combine my interest in the impact of a team’s ranking on performance with a narrative form that has a visual impact.

Thanks to an alert from my son, Sam, my colour search was transformed by the ColourLovers site. I was able to use their palette tool to explore HTML Colour Codes.

I decided to create two single hue palettes, one for winning (blue) and one for losing (red) performance. The ColourLovers palette enables the user to set the hue (H value), its intensity (saturation) (S value) and the darkness of the colour (V value).

I chose a blue hue for winning performance. The information about the hue includes: the Hex Code; the Red (R), Green (G) and Blue (B) values and the HSV values:

Win Code

and a red hue for losing:

Lose Palette

I have used the performance of two AFL teams in the regular 2013 season to explore the impact colour might have on visualising performance.

Hawthorn and Richmond

Hawthorn were the minor premiers in 2012 and repeated this performance in the 2013 season.

With their number 1 ranking for the 2013 season, this was the prediction of their performance (a completely blue profile):


The darker the blue (indicated by higher saturation values) the closer Hawthorn’s opponents are to them in ranking.

Hawthorn’s actual performance was:

H Actual

The darker the red, the closer the team defeating Hawthorn was in ranking terms. The loss to Richmond was a very interesting result. Richmond were a significantly lower ranked team but as the visualisation of their season below indicates, they were very competitive in 2013.

A comparison of Hawthorn’s predicted and actual season underscores how comprehensive their minor premiership win was.

H Compare

Richmond were ranked 12th in the 2012 regular season. The prediction for 2013 based on this ranking was:

R Predict

The darker blue and red hues indicate a close proximity to teams in terms of ranking. This prediction suggested two wins in the first eight games with an opening game against Carlton ranked two positions above Richmond.

Richmond’s actual performance was five wins starting with a first round defeat of Carlton:

R Actual

The comparison of the predicted and actual indicates how much Richmond improved this season:

R Compare

This comparison prompts me to think about Richmond’s progress by defeating teams ranked near to them.  These colours have high saturation figures and appear as darker colours in the graphic. The highlight is the light blue colour of the win against Hawthorn in Round 19.


This is a first attempt to explore my use of colour in visualsation. I am hopeful that a narrative is present in these visualisations. I have made a conscious decision to use a single hue for winning (blue) and for losing (red). I think the Hawthorn images indicate how successful their season was. After a Round 1 defeat, they followed their predicted path (based on ranking) to Round 15.

I hope that the Richmond visualisations indicate a change in their fortunes in 2013. Their season was a much bluer season that predicted. They were able to defeat closely ranked rivals. Their victory against Hawthorn in Round 19 was one of the performances of the season for me.

I look forward to developing this use of colour whilst being mindful of the excellent advice available about what constitutes better practice.

Photo Credit

Sydney Moderns Catalogue Cover (Art Gallery of NSW)

The Art of Sharing


I visited the Sydney Moderns exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales last week.

The exhibition has almost 200 works by Australian artists who were “keen to explore innovative ways of using colour, light and abstraction in their interpretation of the new world around them”.

I was particularly interested on Roy de Maistre‘s work in this exhibition.


As a young man, he had studied music and art in Sydney. In 1919, he used his Colour in Art exhibition (with Roland Wakelin) to explore colour-music relationships. Deborah Edwards wrote of this relationship in the Sydney Moderns catalogue:

The didacticism of de Maistre and Wakelin … and de Maistre’s continued synaesthetic exploration, speak of their sense of a portentous challenge to accepted colour wisdom in their new envisioning of modernity: one forged through the shared capacity of music and colour to evoke deep emotion, even provide a gateway to the spiritual, and yet respond to mathematical and logical formulation to create harmony …

colourwheel small2_5Roy de Maistre’s colour-music thinking was exemplified in the creation of a Harmonising Chart. This Chart was seen by him as a scientific device for producing colour schemes for dress, furniture and interior design. Niels Hutchinson has written in great detail about de Maistre’s use of colour. Anthony Springford has provided a fascinating account of his reproduction of a de Maistre colour wheel for the Sydney Moderns exhibition.

I learned about synchromies at the exhibition too. Synchromies “are based on color scales, using rhythmic color forms with advancing and reducing hues”. I take the aim of these synchromies to be the stimulation of multiple senses and a celebration of synesthesia.

In synchromies, colours relate to notes, depth of colour to pitch and saturation of colour to volume.

This set me off thinking about how visualisations of performance data might use these insights to share the impact of data and have their own narrative.

The Art of Sharing

Roy de Maistre’s synchromies took me back to choropleth maps. These maps use colour progressions to present data. One form of these progressions is single-hue (from a dark shade of the chosen color to a very light or white shade of relatively the same hue). This led me to isoplath (heat) maps too.

I wondered how visualisations might use colour wheel principles to aspire to two of the main aims of de Maistre and Wakelin’s 1919 exhibition:

  • “conscious realisation of the deepest underlying principles of nature”
  • “deep and lasting happiness”

I wondered too about how to meet some fundamental principles in thematic mapping.

Gregory Aisch took me further into the discussion of colour and representation in terms of choropleths and HSV colours.

My task now is to explore these possibilities. Roy, Roland and their Sydney Moderns contemporaries are a great catalyst for this exploration.

Photo Credits

Art Gallery of New South Wales in the Domain (CAHairy Bear, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

De Maistre colour wheel device (Anthony Springford)