Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

The end of the rainbow? Color schemes for improved data graphics



Modern computer displays and printers enable the widespread use of color in scientific communication, but the expertise for designing effective graphics has not kept pace with the technology for producing them. Historically even the most prestigious publications have tolerated high defect rates in figures and illustrations [Cleveland, 1984],and technological advances that make creating and reproducing graphics easier do not appear to have decreased the frequency of errors. Flawed graphics consequently beget more flawed graphics as authors emulate published examples. Color has the potential to enhance communication, but design mistakes can result in color figures that are less effective than grayscale displays of the same data.