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USING COLOR IN INFORMATION DISPLAY GRAPHICS


This site provides a guide to color design for information visualization. It includes

- a step by step process for designing color usage in complicated interface graphics
- two detailed examples of design of aerospace displays
- a new color selection tool to support the recommended design process
- information about color usage standards and guidelines
- information about applied color science, and
- reference resources.

Aerospace graphics get special attention, but much of the information should be useful for other color graphics as well.

The site is intended to help designers who are not color experts find usable color designs,
BUT
, keep in mind that even with the best possible recipe there's no substitute for a properly trained, experienced chef!!!
Depending on the complexity of your project, you may also need review or design by a trained and experienced color expert.

Sample image of an aviation chart Demo image of use of luminance contrast to emphasize and de-emphasize text Sample image of a cockpit display of hazard information. Sample image of a demo of pure blue text on a black background and vice versa

Ordered Topics

Designing a Color Graphics Page: Step-by-step guidance for effective use of color in information graphics.
Color Design for Aerospace Applications: Detailed case-studies from aerospace graphics illustrate challenges of color design for safety-critical information interfaces.
Hierarchy of Color Usage Guidelines: A hierarchy of guidelines that begins with high-level cognitive performance requirements and proceeds down to more specific graphic requirements and advice. At the appropriate places there are links to supporting information elsewhere on the site.

Browse In Any Order

Color Guidelines, Standards, Requirements: Discusses conventional approaches to control of quality of color usage, problems presented by technology advances, and opportunities for new approaches.
Applied Color Vision: A simplified overview of applied and basic vision research concepts and pointers to more detailed information.

Interactive Design Tool

Color Selection Tool: Interactive tool gives a preview of user-selected symbol and background colors. Colors are selected from perceptually organized palettes of the display's available colors.
Color Tool Examples: Some examples of things you can do using the Color Selection Tool.

Using This Site

Your Equipment. As with other websites, the appearance of the colors on your display may differ from our intent if your equipment is different from our assumptions. Our server is sending your browser graphics from one of two sets, depending on what it thinks your computer is. The sets have been computed to display accurately on our two idealized "standard" displays. The standard displays are typical Macintosh OS systems and typical Windows systems, both with 24-bit (or more) color and 6500K white alignment. If you are using something else and the colors seem too dark or too light, you might want to look at the site on one of these targeted systems.

More detailed information about color accuracy of the displayed graphics and tools for improving it are available here.

Sponsored by: NASA Human Measures and Performance Project



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