The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: A Theoretical Framework for the Assessment of Continuous Colormaps

TitleThe Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: A Theoretical Framework for the Assessment of Continuous Colormaps
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year2017
AuthorsBujack, R, Turton, TL, Samsel, F, Ware, C, Rogers, DH, Ahrens, J
JournalIEEE transactions on visualization and computer graphics
Volume24,1
Pages923-933
Date PublishedAugust 29
PublisherIEEE

A myriad of design rules for what constitutes a "good" colormap can be found in the literature. Some common rules include order, uniformity, and high discriminative power. However, the meaning of many of these terms is often ambiguous or open to interpretation. At times, different authors may use the same term to describe different concepts or the same rule is described by varying nomenclature. These ambiguities stand in the way of collaborative work, the design of experiments to assess the characteristics of colormaps, and automated colormap generation. In this paper, we review current and historical guidelines for colormap design. We propose a specified taxonomy and provide unambiguous mathematical definitions for the most common design rules.

DOI10.1109/TVCG.2017.2743978
Refereed DesignationRefereed