Tol Color Schemes In R

Jason C. Fisher walks us through a color scheme generator based on Paul Tol’s research;

Choosing colors for a graphic is a bit like taking a trip down the rabbit hole, that is, it can take much longer than expected and be both fun and frustrating at the same time. Striking a balance between colors that look good to you and your audience is important. Keep in mind that color blindness affects many individuals throughout the world and it is incumbent on you to choose a color scheme that works in color-blind vision. Luckily there are a number of excellent R packages that address this very issue, such as the colorspace,RColorBrewer, and viridis packages. And because this is R, where diversity is king, why not offer one more function for creating color blind friendly palettes.

Let me introduce the GetTolColors function in the R-package inlmisc. This function generates a vector of colors from qualitative, diverging, and sequential color schemes by Paul Tol (2018). The original inspiration for developing this function came from Peter Carl’s blog post describing color schemes from an older issue of Paul Tol’s Technical Note (issue 2.2, released Dec. 2012). And the qualitative color schemes described in his blog post found their way into the ptol_pal function in the R-package ggthemes. My intent with this document is to exhibit the latest Tol color schemes (issue 3.0, released May 2018) and show that they are not only visually pleasing but also well thought out.

Read on for step-by-step instructions and to see some of the palettes.  The package authors have taken care in color design, so check it out.

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