Finding Inspiration in Art for Color Palettes

It’s New Year’s Eve, and the family decided to take an afternoon trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art to check out the exhibit that will be ending in mid-January called “The Jazz Age”. it’s focused on 1920’s art and design; the art deco movement as it was coined in the 60’s.

The minute I stepped in the exhibit hall I was inspired… inspired for data viz! Weird? Not really. Being able to take photos with my phone I was able to gather over 50 images from which I could create custom color palettes! One thing about the Jazz Era was the brave and bold use of colors, and as you’ll see below, the images generated some really cool pallets to add to my Preferences.tps file.

Using Canva’s color palette generator, I uploaded the images I took in the museum to generate some simple 5 color palettes. Here are a few of my favorites!

Once you have the hex codes, add them to your Preferences.tps file, located in your My Tableau Repository folder. If you’ve never modified it, don’t worry, it’s easy to do.

Step 1 – Pick your favorite text editor and open the file.

Step 2 – If you’ve never edited it before, it will have the following code present:

Between the “Workbook” tags, add “Preferences”

–From here, there are 3 types of color palettes you can create, for this example I’m creating a categorical or regular palette. For other types, check out Tableau’s knowledge base

Now, you add the actual code for each individual palette in between the <Preferences> tags. It starts with <Color-Palette name=”My Palette” type=”regular”> and ends with </Color-Palette>

So, using the Eiffel Tower painting from the exhibit, my palette would look like this:

<Color-Palette name=”Eiffel Tower” type=”regular”>

<color> #F0D26E </color>

<color> #ECA056 </color>

<color> #355449 </color>

<color> #B99A6E </color>

<color> #727E5B </color>


That’s it! Now, when I open Tableau I will have a custom palette listed at the end of the out of the box palettes. If you don’t see it, check your file to make sure all your XML tags are closed property and your quotes are enclosing values correctly.

For an excessive example, check out the Preferences.tps file I uploaded to the Community Forums in February of 2017


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