Charts Visual Language

Charts visualize complex data sets to aid comprehension and synthesize information.


Color assigns meaning and order to create clarity and consistency across widely-used data visualizations.

Asset Allocation

Use to tie data to asset classes.

  • Equity
  • Fixed Income
  • Alternative
  • Cash
  • Other
  • Not Classified
  • If a product does not use these exact terms when breaking down asset classes, use the color associated with the closest asset class. For example, Real Estate, Commodities and Derivatives would use $mds-visualization-color-asset-allocation-alternative, Corporate Bonds and Government Bonds would use $mds-visualization-color-asset-allocation-fixed-income.
  • When there are multiple, related asset classes which fall under the same broad asset class umbrella, use tints of the same asset allocation color to communicate that relationship.
    • Create these tint groups with careful consideration to maximize the contrast between the tints in order to aid in legibility and accessibility, i.e., if you need four total colors, using intervals of 25% will allow you the greatest difference between tints, while still providing enough values.
  • Never apply these colors to type, as they don’t meet Accessibility guidelines.


Use to show positive or negative correlation within a Correlation Matrix.

  • Positive
  • Negative

Super Sectors

Use to represent data relating to Morningstar Super Sectors.

  • Cyclical
  • Sensitive
  • Defensive
  • Sectors that underlie a larger Super Sector should inherit the color of the Super Sector. For example, Basic Materials would use the color ascribed to Cyclical.
  • Never apply these colors to type, as they don’t meet Accessibility guidelines.


Use to represent data related to the Morningstar Sustainability Rating.

  • Sustainability


Use to represent under, fair, or over valuation.

  • Under
  • Fair
  • Over
  • Never apply these colors to type, as they don’t meet Accessibility guidelines.


Use to show positive, neutral, or negative performance in visualizations.

  • Positive
  • Neutral
  • Negative
Do use performance visualization color constants in visualizations.
Do use performance visualization color constants in visualizations.
Don‘t use <a class="mds-link" href="/visual-language/color.html#performance">performance text color constants</a> in tables.
Don‘t use performance text color constants in tables.

Color Order Inside Charts

Use when there are no specific color meanings associated with a visualization.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • Use colors in order, starting with $mds-chart-color-1 and ascending in order to $mds-chart-color-15. If there are more than 15 items, begin again with $mds-chart-color-1.
  • This color order is intended to be a default for when there are not specific color meanings assigned to the data. Designers may deviate from the default when color can be used to communicate meaning.


Charts are made up of four distinct structural elements: Y-axis, X-axis, Chart Area, and Legend. These modular pieces can be reconfigured based on the data being visualized. Charts should feature these elements in consistent, predictable places to brand them as Morningstar charts and ease interpretation. Reconfigurations of structural elements should be done to communicate meaning, i.e., placing a Y-Axis on the right for a Goal Based Chart, rather than for purely aesthetic reasons.

Default configuration of the four structural chart elements


All of these configurations are technically possible. However, carefully consider whether or not deviation is necessary.


  • Aim for evenly spaced, rounded units (i.e., 10, 20, 30—not 6.5, 8.7, 10.3, etc.)
  • Limit significant digits and use one or two decimal places in most instances.
  • Label the starting point of axes.
  • Use logarithmic, rather than linear, scale for price/growth charts.
  • When appropriate, highlight relevant data and/or labels directly on charts to add richness, density, and precision.
  • Use consistent formatting for dates and time periods.
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