PDF Version of this document Search Help Glossary

Lesson Navigation IconLayout Design Settings / Graphical Semiology

Unit Navigation IconMap Size and Scale

Unit Navigation IconDefinition and Organisation of Map Elements

Unit Navigation IconTypography

Unit Navigation IconColour Design

Unit Navigation IconReadability Rules

LO Navigation IconBalance of Map Elements

LO Navigation IconContrast Design of Visual Tone

LO Navigation IconGraphic Density

LO Navigation IconShape Readability

LO Navigation IconAngular Readability

LO Navigation IconReadability of Colour Patterns

LO Navigation IconLand-Water Contrast

LO Navigation Iconwhiteboard discussion

LO Navigation IconTest your knowledge about readability here

Unit Navigation IconMap Critics

Unit Navigation IconSummary

Unit Navigation IconRecommended Reading

Unit Navigation IconGlossary

Unit Navigation IconBibliography

Unit Navigation IconMetadata

GITTA/CartouCHe news:

Go to previous page Go to next page

Readability of Colour Patterns

In the previous learning objective about angular readability, we concentrated on perceptive contrasts on 2-D a surface. Now the focus lays on readability of colour patterns, which relate to the height above the 2-D surface.
This means if you take a global look at a map - during the stage of initial perception - the expected and therefore relevant information has to stick out immediately. The background information needs to be subtle, and not dominating over the foreground.

Many rules deal with the readability of colour patterns. Here we will present the most evident ones, while the more complex ones will be treated on a intermediate level.

Optimal contrasts can be reached if:

  • all shapes and other elements are visible
  • those shapes stick out of their surroundings
  • the tallest elements can be separated from each other

Optimal readability is ensured if:

  • the total amount of black symbols lays between 5% and 10% of the entire surface.
  • If it is less than 5%, the smaller elements will be invisible, whereas, if the percentage is above 10 %, the tallest elements can overlap. The overlap would present illegible information.

From this quantity of black symbols, it will be necessary to have the maximum range. You should try to use the full sensitive range of a given variable.

Now we give those rules a cartographic touch:
Choose radio-buttons one by one, by clicking on them to get the equivalent amount of colour in your presentation. This allows you to test the readability of the map.

The Right Amount of Black
Top Go to previous page Go to next page