Choosing the Right Palette


Anyone have any preferred references/reading material re: choosing/creating palettes for visualization in ggplot? Currently I either experiment with palettes until I find something that looks ‘nice’ (whatever that means) or just stick with the ggplot defaults.

Obviously a Google-able question but I imagine some of you have some bookmarked resources.


One very important thing to keep in mind when making or choosing palettes is colour blindness.

Here are some resources:

  • a package to see what your palette would look like to various types of colour blind viewers
  • a great site (and palettes can be accessed from R through the package RColorBrewer)

  • some advice on choosing palettes (a bit old though)
  • a list of palettes
  • a rather popular colour palette package (but it is already in ggplot2)

Also, colors have some subconscious meanings to us and our data perception can be biased by poor color choices. I have some info on this and will look for it and post here when I have a bit of time (in a rush now).


Claus Wilke, the author of the colorblindr package has a (free, online) book on data visualization that has some good chapters on color selection:


Thanks to both of you. Going to leave this question open for now in case others have anything to contribute.