colorspace: A Toolbox for Manipulating and Assessing Colors and Palettes

Zeileis, Achim and Fisher, Jason C. and Hornik, Kurt ORCID: and Ikaka, Ross and McWhite, Clarie D. and Murrell, Paul and Stauffler, Reto and Wilke, Claus O. (2020) colorspace: A Toolbox for Manipulating and Assessing Colors and Palettes. Journal of Statistical Software, 96 (1). pp. 1-49. ISSN 1548-7660

Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

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The R package colorspace provides a flexible toolbox for selecting individual colors or color palettes, manipulating these colors, and employing them in statistical graphics and data visualizations. In particular, the package provides a broad range of color palettes based on the HCL (hue-chroma-luminance) color space. The three HCL dimensions have been shown to match those of the human visual system very well, thus facilitating intuitive selection of color palettes through trajectories in this space. Using the HCL color model, general strategies for three types of palettes are implemented: (1) Qualitative for coding categorical information, i.e., where no particular ordering of categories is available. (2) Sequential for coding ordered/numeric information, i.e., going from high to low (or vice versa). (3) Diverging for coding ordered/numeric information around a central neutral value, i.e., where colors diverge from neutral to two extremes. To aid selection and application of these palettes, the package also contains scales for use with ggplot2, shiny and tcltk apps for interactive exploration, visualizations of palette properties, accompanying manipulation utilities (like desaturation and lighten/darken), and emulation of color vision deficiencies. The shiny apps are also hosted online at

Item Type: Article
Keywords: color, palette, HCL, RGB, hue, color vision deficiency, R
Divisions: Departments > Finance, Accounting and Statistics > Statistics and Mathematics > Hornik
Version of the Document: Published
Depositing User: ePub Administrator
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2020 14:57
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2020 14:57
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