Fabio Crameri

A man with a conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point. – Festinger 1956

The scientific use of colour

An incomplete chronology

Timeline of the Scientific colour map initiative (#UseBatlow).
  • 2020 Crameri, F., G.E. Shephard, P.J. Heron, “The misuse of colour in science communication”, Nature Communications, 11, 5444.

  • 2017 Crameri, F., “The Rainbow colour map (repeatedly) considered harmful”, EGU GD blog.

  • 2007 D. Borland and R.M. Tailor, “Rainbow Color Map (still) considered harmful,” IEEE Computer Society, vol. 07, 2007, p. 14-17.

  • 2004 A. Light and P.J. Bartlein, “The End of the Rainbow? Color Schemes for Improved Data Graphics”, EOS Trans. Amer. Geophysical Union, vol. 85, no. 40, 2004, p. 385.

  • 2004 C. Ware, Information Visualization: Perception for Design, 2nd ed., Morgan Kaufmann, 2004.

  • 1998 B.E. Rogowitz and L.A. Treinish, “Data Visualization: The End of the Rainbow”, IEEE Spectrum, vol. 35, no. 12, 1998, pp. 52-59.

  • 1997 E.R. Tufte, Visual Explanations, Graphics Press, 1997.

  • 1996 B.E. Rogowitz and L.A. Treinish, “How Not to Lie with Visualization”, Computers in Physics, vol. 10, no. 3, 1996, pp. 268-273.

  • 1996 C.G. Healey, “Choosing Effective Colors for Data Visualization”, Proc. IEEE Visualization, IEEE CS Press, 1996, pp. 263-270.

  • 1992 P. Rheingans, “Color, Change, and Control for Quantitative Data Display,” Proc. IEEE Visualization, IEEE CS Press, 1992, pp. 252-259.

  • 1988 C. Ware, “Color Sequences for Univariate Maps: Theory, Experiments, and Principles,” IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, vol. 8, no.5, pp. 41-49.

  • 1983 S.M. Pizer and J.B. Zimmerman, “Color Display in Ultrasonography,” Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology, vol. 9, no. 4, 1983, pp. 331-345.

The scientific use of colour

Our achievements to date

Tireless efforts by us and the community pan out. The numbers do say it best.



Crameri et al. (2020)



Crameri et al. (2020)



Scientific colour maps



Scientific colour maps

Scientific colour maps

The early- adopters

Early adopters of novel methodologies – here the Scientific colour maps – are rare, but critically important and truly invaluable to bring more widespread change.

Here are figures of some of these early adopters that have been published during the early years of the Scientific colour map initiative.

TopoToolbox selection by Wolfgang Schwanghart.Coltice et al. (2019), Figure 3aDöhmann et al. (2019), Figure 3Duretz et al. (2019), Figure 4lajolla in Arnould et al. (2019), Figure 2bKareta et al. (PrePrint)Münchmeyer et al. (2019), Figure 1Okada (2020), Figure 2Scott et al. (2019), Figure 11aStraume et al. (2019) on AGU Gcubed coverMaupin (2017)Wright (2019), Figure 1Agrusta et al. (2018)Straume et al. (2019), Figures 1, 2 and 7Albano et al. (2018)Foley (2018)Golledge et al. (2019)Orosei et al. (2018)Solferino and Golabek (2018)Thieulot (2018)batlow in Ward et al. (2021)vik in Ward et al. (2021)roma in Gilford et al. (2019)devon in Matiu et al. (2021)
The scientific use of colour

Our on-going efforts

As long as there is not widespread, University-level education in scientific visualisation, we cannot stop. And we won't.