Tools for colors and palettes: colorspace 2.0-0, web page, and JSS paper

Version 2.0-0 of the R package 'colorspace' with tools for manipulating and assessing colors and palettes is now available from CRAN, accompanied by an updated web page, and a paper in the Journal of Statistical Software (JSS).


colorspace logo

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.

JSS paper

Zeileis A, Fisher JC, Hornik K, Ihaka R, McWhite CD, Murrell P, Stauffer R, Wilke CO (2020). “colorspace: A Toolbox for Manipulating and Assessing Colors and Palettes.” Journal of Statistical Software, 96(1), 1-49. doi:10.18637/jss.v096.i01.

CRAN release of version 2.0-0

The release of version 2.0-0 on CRAN (Comprehensive R Archive Network) concludes more than a decade of development and substantial updates since the release of version 1.0-0. The JSS paper above gives a detailed overview of the package’s features. The full list of changes over the different release is provided in the package’s NEWS.

Web page

Even more details and links along with the full software manual are available on the package web page on R-Forge at (produced with pkgdown).