Diverging Diverging Color Schemes

Diverging/diverging schemes are the only two-variable schemes that depart from the idea of a direct overlay of the component one-variable schemes. Place a different moderately-dark hue at each of the four corners of the legend. These four hues represent categories that are extremes for both variables. Place a very light or white color at the center of the legend, creating an appropriately light color for the class that contains the critical value or midpoint of both variables. The remaining colors are lighter than the corners, because they contain the midpoint of one of the two variables, and they are transitional hues that lie between their adjacent hues. The color circle is essentially stretched around the perimeter of the legend and lightness adjusted in response to critical values within the data ranges of both variables. Areas above and below the poverty line in 1960 and 1990, for example, are well represented by a diverging/diverging color scheme.

Diverging Diverging Color Example

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