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Crs 31345
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3.2 Color

In today’s lesson, I will go over the best practices for using Color in your graphics. I’ve talked about color in just about every lesson, but I wanted to get into some more specifics on using color and point you to some resources for creating your own color palettes. I will also go over the basic terminology and explain how it will affect your graphics.

  • Don’t use different colors for the same variable: We tend to think of different colors representing different things, but that’s not the case in a bar chart. If you need to draw attention to one value, use a darker value of the same color.
  • Don’t use two colors that are on opposite sides of the color wheel: They will compete and even appear to vibrate. Use either different tints of the same hue, or two colors that are on the same side of the color wheel.
  • Don’t choose color based on a theme: The colors will usually be too bright and it’s just gimmicky.
  • Colorbrewer is a cool online tool, aimed a cartographers — especially ones who make choropleth maps — but anybody can use it.
  • Adobe’s Kuler is another good web site. Here you can browse and download member-generated color schemes and make your own.