Chapter 12 Using Colors in Plots

In ggplot2’s implementation of the grammar of graphics, color is an aesthetic, just like x position, y position, and size. If color is just another aesthetic, why does it deserve its own chapter? The reason is that color is a more complicated aesthetic than the others. Instead of simply moving geoms left and right or making them larger and smaller, when you use color, there are many degrees of freedom and many more choices to make. What palette should you use for discrete values? Should you use a gradient with several different hues? How do you choose colors that can be interpreted accurately by those with color-vision deficiencies? In this chapter, I’ll address these issues.