Using Color in Figures [Video]

  • Article

Watch our video to learn the types of colors that work best when creating figures for your research.

Updated on September 17, 2018

color palettes for article figures and tables

After doing months of research, it's finally time to create your charts and graphs to demonstrate your findings.

But where do you begin?

Well, after you choose which data to include and what to leave out, you'll want to decide which software you'll be using (Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe Photoshop, etc.) Whatever your decision, make sure it is something you are comfortable working in.

The next thing you will want to consider is your color scheme. This is not something that should be based on a variety of your favorite colors, or even ones chosen at random. Instead, this is something that requires forethought and consideration.

The possibilities may seem endless, but you may find it helpful if you begin with color schemes. Three useful schemes are analogous, complementary, and triad. There are also specific colors that you should not use because they are difficult to see which detracts from the points you are making with your data. Color blindness is another factor to consider when choosing which colors to use together.

Our research team has gone into more detail about all of this in the video, "The Use of Color in Figures."

More information

For even more information about how color can be used and why journals request your figure colors as RGB or CMYK, you can download the white paper, "Color in Scientific Figures."

What are some other challenges you have had when creating charts and graphs for your research? If you have questions about these topics, please email us at [email protected].

For more information about AJE's Video Abstract service, visit our website. You can also view more videos from AJE on our YouTube channel.

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