ColorBrewer palettes

Creates nice looking color palettes especially for thematic maps

brewer.pal(n, name)
display.brewer.pal(n, name)
Number of different colors in the palette, minimum 3, maximum depending on palette
A palette name from the lists below

brewer.pal makes the color palettes from ColorBrewer available as R palettes. display.brewer.pal displays the selected palette in a grahics window. For details and an interactive palette selection tools see It is free to use, although ColorBrewer's designers would appreciate it if you could cite the ColorBrewer project if you decide to use one of our color schemes. There are 3 types of palettes, sequential, diverging, and qualitative. 1. Sequential palettes are suited to ordered data that progress from low to high. Lightness steps dominate the look of these schemes, with light colors for low data values to dark colors for high data values. 2. Diverging palettes put equal emphasis on mid-range critical values and extremes at both ends of the data range. The critical class or break in the middle of the legend is emphasized with light colors and low and high extremes are emphasized with dark colors that have contrasting hues. 3. Qualitative palettes do not imply magnitude differences between legend classes, and hues are used to create the primary visual differences between classes. Qualitative schemes are best suited to representing nominal or categorical data. The sequential palettes names are Blues BuGn BuPu GnBu Greens Greys Oranges OrRd PuBu PuBuGn PuRd Purples RdPu Reds YlGn YlGnBu YlOrBr All the sequential palettes are available in variations from 3 different values up to 9 different values. The diverging palettes are BrBG PiYG PRGn PuOr RdBu RdGy RdYlBu RdYlGn Spectral All the diverging palettes are available in variations from 3 different values up to 11 different values. For qualitative palettes, the lowest number of distinct values available always is 3, but the largest number is different for different palettes. It is given together with the palette names in the following table. lr{ Accent 8 Dark2 8 Paired 12 Pastel1 9 Pastel2 8 Set1 9 Set2 8 Set3 12 } ColorBrewer is Copyright (c) 2002 Cynthia Brewer, Mark Harrower, and The Pennsylvania State University. All rights reserved. The ColorBrewer palettes have been included in this R package with permission of the copyright holder. For license details see the file COPYING included in this package.


  • A palette You will get an error when you ask for a nonexisting palette, and you will get a warning if a palette you asked for exists but not with as many different leves as you asked for.

  • brewer.pal
  • display.brewer.pal
## create a sequential palette for usage and show colors
image(1:7,1,as.matrix(1:7),col=mypalette,xlab="Greens (sequential)",
## display a divergent palette
## display a qualitative palette
Documentation reproduced from package RColorBrewer, version 0.1-1, License: Apache-Style Software License

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