ColorBrewer in print: A catalog of color schemes for maps

Cynthia A. Brewer, Geoffrey W. Hatchard, Mark A. Harrower

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


ColorBrewer is a tool that assists mapmakers in choosing and creating color schemes. It is available online at <>. The color schemes range from 3 to 12 classes and are organized into three basic categories: sequential, diverging, and qualitative. Each of these scheme types has general perceptual characteristics which are described using Munsell hue, value, and chroma specifications. Each scheme has been proofed hour color-separated negatives and adjusted to offer CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) specifications that produce a readable map when they are used in process-printed publications. This paper offers a printed catalog of all of the ColorBrewer schemes to allow mapmakers to evaluate the appearance of each scheme before they commit to using them in print publications. Since process-color proofing is expensive, this catalog will reduce mapmakers' costs and allow them to be more confident that their maps will make the transition from the desktop computing environment in publication without compromising the intended message through poor color specification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-32
Number of pages28
JournalCartography and Geographic Information Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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