Qualitative Color Schemes

Qualitative schemes use differences in hue to represent nominal differences, or differences in kind. The lightness of the hues used for qualitative categories should be similar but not equal. Assign the lightest, darkest, and most saturated hues in the scheme to categories that warrant emphasis on the map. Data about land use or land cover, for example, are well represented by a qualitative color scheme.

Qualitative Color Example

Qualitative Color Schemes: Munsell Charts

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Dr. Cynthia Brewer / Department of Geography / The Pennsylvania State University