D.7 Resources

This page provides a (necessarily incomplete) collection of color-related resources.

D.7.1 Books

The landmark publications by Jacques Bertin (e.g., Bertin, 2011) and Edward R. Tufte (Tufte, 2001, 2006; Tufte, Goeler, & Benson, 1990) provide solid advice and many inspiring examples.

More recent publications that are geared to the needs of aspiring data scientists include:

See the Wikipedia articles on color vision and color theory for a primer on the theoretical underpinnings of color perception and color systems.

D.7.2 Color resources in R

Base R colors

The grDevices component of R comes with many options and tools for selecting and modifying colors:

  • Call colors() or demo("colors") in the Console to view the in-built colors of R.

  • Search for colors in R cheatsheet to find many collections of these colors.

See the CRAN task view: Graphic displays, dynamic graphics, graphic devices & visualization for background information and many pointers to additional resources.

Recent color developments in R

For recent color developments in R (as of 2020), see the following posts on the R developer blog:

A sound introduction to the ideas behind colorspace package is provided by the article colorspace: A toolbox for manipulating and assessing colors and palettes (Zeileis et al., 2020). The colorspace documentation also provides links to additional resources.


Bertin, J. (2011). Semiology of graphics: Diagrams, networks, maps (Vol. 1). ESRI Press.
Brewer, C. (2019). ColorBrewer 2.0: Color advice for cartography. Retrieved from http://www.colorbrewer2.org
Crameri, Fabio, Shephard, G. E., & Heron, P. J. (2020). The misuse of colour in science communication. Nature Communications, 11(1), 1–10. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19160-7
Tufte, E. R. (2001). The visual display of quantitative information (2nd ed.). Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press.
Tufte, E. R. (2006). Beautiful evidence (Vol. 1). Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press.
Tufte, E. R., Goeler, N. H., & Benson, R. (1990). Envisioning information (Vol. 126). Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press.
Zeileis, A., Fisher, J. C., Hornik, K., Ihaka, R., McWhite, C. D., Murrell, P., … Wilke, C. O. (2020). colorspace: A toolbox for manipulating and assessing colors and palettes. Journal of Statistical Software, 96(1), 1–49. https://doi.org/10.18637/jss.v096.i01