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Escaping RGBland: Selecting colors for statistical graphics


  • 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).

Suggested Citation

  • Zeileis, Achim & Hornik, Kurt & Murrell, Paul, 2009. "Escaping RGBland: Selecting colors for statistical graphics," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 53(9), pages 3259-3270, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:csdana:v:53:y:2009:i:9:p:3259-3270

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Meyer, David & Zeileis, Achim & Hornik, Kurt, 2006. "The Strucplot Framework: Visualizing Multi-way Contingency Tables with vcd," Journal of Statistical Software, Foundation for Open Access Statistics, vol. 17(i03).
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. MacDonald, Blake & Ranjan, Pritam & Chipman, Hugh, 2015. "GPfit: An R Package for Fitting a Gaussian Process Model to Deterministic Simulator Outputs," Journal of Statistical Software, Foundation for Open Access Statistics, vol. 64(i12).
    2. Emura, Takeshi & Lin, Yi-Shuan, 2013. "A comparison of normal approximation rules for attribute control charts," MPRA Paper 51029, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Matthias Templ & Andreas Alfons & Peter Filzmoser, 2012. "Exploring incomplete data using visualization techniques," Advances in Data Analysis and Classification, Springer;German Classification Society - Gesellschaft für Klassifikation (GfKl);Japanese Classification Society (JCS);Classification and Data Analysis Group of the Italian Statistical Society (CLADAG);International Federation of Classification Societies (IFCS), vol. 6(1), pages 29-47, April.
    4. de Wreede, Liesbeth C. & Fiocco, Marta & Putter, Hein, 2011. "mstate: An R Package for the Analysis of Competing Risks and Multi-State Models," Journal of Statistical Software, Foundation for Open Access Statistics, vol. 38(i07).
    5. Anette Fasang & Marcel Raab, 2014. "Beyond Transmission: Intergenerational Patterns of Family Formation Among Middle-Class American Families," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(5), pages 1703-1728, October.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Fox, John & Hong, Jangman, 2009. "Effect Displays in R for Multinomial and Proportional-Odds Logit Models: Extensions to the effects Package," Journal of Statistical Software, Foundation for Open Access Statistics, vol. 32(i01).
    9. repec:jss:jstsof:v:077:i11 is not listed on IDEAS

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