Community Pulse, Stamen's latest project with Adobe, visualizes the colors that people are using on Adobe Kuler. Kuler is sort of like digg or flickr—but instead of being about articles or videos, it's about color. People upload, comment on, and rate the color palettes that Adobe's software generates, and can use these palettes in their own projects. The idea is that by sharing your color choices with others, you can design more effectively. It's catching on, and there are a couple hundred thousand palettes on the system as of this writing (April 2009).
All this activity opens up the ability to track color trends, as colors move in and out of fashion over time. And visualizing this kind of thing can lead, we hope, to both better decisions about what to design now, and insight into what kinds of thing people will design in the future.
So you might want to know, for example, what kinds of colors people in the US use during the summer:
As compared, perhaps, to the colors that people all over the world are using and tagging with "hot":
The first two images show just about every color that's being used—which is great for accurate analysis, but can get overwhelming. Grouping the colors together gives you an overall picture of what's going on. Here, we can understand, in a more general sense, what people are tagging with "hot" in Brazil:
Or what Germany is tagging with "beach":
And what the UK is calling "sea":
Where things really start to shine is in side-by-side comparisons between countries and descriptions. You might want to, for example, compare the color trends of one country over another, or the use of blue in spring versus its use in autumn. Here, you can see what the US uses in springtime, relative to what Brazil uses in the same season:
The US vs. France, in the springtime:
Here's the US vs. Japan, in the summertime:
And the US vs. the UK, also in the summer: