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Escaping RGBland: Selecting colors for statistical graphics


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  • Zeileis, Achim
  • Hornik, Kurt
  • Murrell, Paul


Statistical graphics are often augmented by the use of color coding information contained in some variable. When this involves the shading of areas (and not only points or lines)--e.g., as in bar plots, pie charts, mosaic displays or heatmaps--it is important that the colors are perceptually based and do not introduce optical illusions or systematic bias. Based on the perceptually-based Hue-Chroma-Luminance (HCL) color space suitable color palettes are derived for coding categorical data (qualitative palettes) and numerical variables (sequential and diverging palettes).

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Computational Statistics & Data Analysis.

Volume (Year): 53 (2009)
Issue (Month): 9 (July)
Pages: 3259-3270

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Handle: RePEc:eee:csdana:v:53:y:2009:i:9:p:3259-3270

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  1. Tenenhaus, Arthur & Giron, Alain & Viennet, Emmanuel & Bera, Michel & Saporta, Gilbert & Fertil, Bernard, 2007. "Kernel logistic PLS: A tool for supervised nonlinear dimensionality reduction and binary classification," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 51(9), pages 4083-4100, May.
  2. Kneib, Thomas, 2006. "Mixed model-based inference in geoadditive hazard regression for interval-censored survival times," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 777-792, November.
  3. Harezlak, Jaroslaw & Coull, Brent A. & Laird, Nan M. & Magari, Shannon R. & Christiani, David C., 2007. "Penalized solutions to functional regression problems," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 51(10), pages 4911-4925, June.
  4. David Meyer & Achim Zeileis & Kurt Hornik, . "The Strucplot Framework: Visualizing Multi-way Contingency Tables with vcd," Journal of Statistical Software, American Statistical Association, vol. 17(i03).
  5. Gelfand, Alan E. & Banerjee, Sudipto & Sirmans, C.F. & Tu, Yong & Eng Ong, Seow, 2007. "Multilevel modeling using spatial processes: Application to the Singapore housing market," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 51(7), pages 3567-3579, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Emura, Takeshi & Lin, Yi-Shuan, 2013. "A comparison of normal approximation rules for attribute control charts," MPRA Paper 51029, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Tseng, George C., 2010. "Quantile map: Simultaneous visualization of patterns in many distributions with application to tandem mass spectrometry," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 1124-1137, April.
  3. Matthias Templ & Andreas Alfons & Peter Filzmoser, 2012. "Exploring incomplete data using visualization techniques," Advances in Data Analysis and Classification, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 29-47, April.
  4. John Fox & Jangman Hong, . "Effect Displays in R for Multinomial and Proportional-Odds Logit Models: Extensions to the effects Package," Journal of Statistical Software, American Statistical Association, vol. 32(i01).
  5. Reto Stauffer & Georg J. Mayr & Markus Dabernig & Achim Zeileis, 2013. "Somewhere over the Rainbow: How to Make Effective Use of Colors in Meteorological Visualizations," Working Papers 2013-37, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  6. Liesbeth C. de Wreede & Marta Fiocco & Hein Putter, . "mstate: An R Package for the Analysis of Competing Risks and Multi-State Models," Journal of Statistical Software, American Statistical Association, vol. 38(i07).


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