colorspace: A toolbox for manipulating and assessing colors and palettes

Journal of Statistical Software
By: , and 



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
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title colorspace: A toolbox for manipulating and assessing colors and palettes
Series title Journal of Statistical Software
DOI 10.18637/jss.v096.i01
Volume 96
Issue 1
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Foundation of Open Access Statistics
Contributing office(s) Idaho Water Science Center
Description 49 p.
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