CV3-3 - Color for cartography and visualization

You are currently viewing an archived version of Topic Color Theory. If updates or revisions have been published you can find them at Color Theory.

Author and Citation Info: 

DiBiase, D., DeMers, M., Johnson, A., Kemp, K., Luck, A. T., Plewe, B., and Wentz, E. (2006). Color for cartography and visualization. The Geographic Information Science & Technology Body of Knowledge. Washington, DC: Association of American Geographers. (2nd Quarter 2016, first digital).

Learning Objectives: 
  • List the range of factors that should be considered in selecting colors
  • Discuss the role of “gamut” in choosing colors that can be reproduced on various devices and media
  • Explain how real-world connotations (e.g., blue=water, white=snow) can be used to determine color selections on maps
  • Exemplify colors for different forms of harmony, concordance, and balance
  • Estimate RGB (red, green, blue) primary amounts in a selection of colors
  • Plan color proofing suited for checking a map publication job
  • Select colors appropriate for map readers with color limitations
  • Specify a set of colors in device-independent Commision Internationale de L’Eclairage (CIE) specifications
  • Determine the CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) primary amounts in a selection of colors
  • Select a color scheme (e.g., qualitative, sequential, diverging, spectral) that is appropriate for a given map purpose and variable
  • Describe how cultural differences with respect to color associations impact map design
  • Describe the common color models used in mapping
  • Describe color decisions made for various production workflows