Number of colors

Score importance

  • Perceptual Distance

  • Name Difference

  • Pair Preference

  • Name Uniqueness

Select hue filters

Drag wheel, or add angle:


Select lightness range


Add starting colors

Results may improve with hue filters or slider changes.


Color space
Array format


To generate a palette with n colors, just enter the number of colors you want and click Generate. Bigger palettes will take longer than smaller palettes to make. Results will automatically appear when ready.

For greater detail, please consult our paper or the source code.

Score Importance

Perceptual Distance
Increasing Perceptual Distance favors palette colors that are more easily discriminable to the human eye. To accurately model human color acuity, this is performed using CIEDE2000 in CIE Lab color space.
Name Difference
Increasing Name Difference favors palette colors that share few common names. This is similar to perceptual distance, but can lead to different results in certain areas of color space. This happens when there are many different names for perceptually close colors (e.g., red and pink are perceptually close but named differently). Colorgorical calculates this using Heer and Stone's Name Difference function, which is built on top of the XKCD color-name survey.
Pair Preference
Increasing Pair Preference favors palette colors that are, on average, predicted to be more aesthetically preferable together. Typically these colors are similar in hue, have different lightness, and are cooler colors (blues and greens). Pair Preference is based off of Schloss and Palmer's research on color preference.
Name Uniqueness
Increasing Name Uniqueness favors palette colors that are uniquely named. Some colors like red are readily named and are favored, whereas other colors are less obviously named and are ignored. Like, Name Difference, Name Uniqueness is based on Heer and Stone's color-name research.

Select hue filter

You can limit which colors are selected by either dragging over the wheel to select a hue range, or by entering the angles manually (e.g., select only reds). You can also make multiple selections after one another to select many different hue ranges (e.g., select both greens and purples).

Select lightness range

You can change whether Colorgorical samples lighter or darker colors by dragging the circles on either end of the lightness range marker.

Add starting colors

You can guarantee that certain colors are in your palette by entering them through the Add starting palette colors panel in the menu bar. Make sure that you enter colors one at a time, without quotes, and in either HEX or RGB format. Alternatively, if you generate a palette and want to add a color in it to future generations, click the start button.


Colorgorical was built by Connor Gramazio with advisement from David Laidlaw and Karen Schloss.


If you'd like to read more about how Colorgorical works, please read our paper here. If you're curious about the implementation, please see the Colorgorical GitHub repository located here.

If you use Colorgorical, please use the following citation:

  author={Gramazio, Connor C. and Laidlaw, David H. and Schloss, Karen B.},
  journal={IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics},
  title={Colorgorical: creating discriminable and preferable color palettes for information visualization},