Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Monday, March 31, 2003

How To Utilize Color In Maps and Technical Illustrations

ColorBrewer and
Color Use Guidelines For Mapping and Visualization cab38/ColorSch/Schemes.html
= must have
Online Tool and Reference Information

These two extremely valuable resources are the fruit of Cinthya Brewer's work and passion with map design, color theory applications in cartography, hypothesis generation in visualization by epidemiologists, classification for epidemiological choropleth maps in series.

Cynthia Brewer is an Associate Professor of Geography at Pennsilvanya State University.

ColorBrewer is a Flash-based interactive visualization tool which provides the user with a typical map on which different visual data has to be appropriately displayed. This may include roads, county borders, main cities and towns.

The user is given the option of selecting different color sets for colorizing the sample map. Further the user can choose to mute or switch on certain visual elements rather than others.

Scope of the interaction is obviously the one of identifying an appropriate color set and in dosing carefully the application and use of the different visual elements in the display.

An icon-based indicator allows the information designer to see how the color combination and settings chosen will be readable across a number of media (print, photocopies, naked eye, video/TV, computer screen, etc.), giving each one the a great opportunity to refine and improve in steps while learning by doing.

I have myself adopted ColorBrewer for my Information Design workshops and classes.



Participants love it, and the tool does give, even to the novice an immediate increased awareness with the issues of color coding, visual noise, and the importance of muting, filtering and giving prominence to the right data.

In my case I actually have individuals compete in achieving a color map design that is "readable" on all the media tested by the tool.

Highly recommended if you are involved with Design, Color Coding, Mapping, GIS or related fields.

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posted by Robin Good on Monday, March 31 2003, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.




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