Palatable Palettes: Five tips for creating and applying bespoke colour schemes

NHS-R Community Conference | Five tips for making good use of colours in your ggplots


November 17, 2022

In this talk, I cover five tips for making good use of colours in ggplots. There’s not much code to share other than what’s on the slides, so happy slide perusing!

TLDR? Here are my five tips:

  • Use colours purposefully to harness them for story telling
  • Let others help you - there are so many great colour combinations out there!
  • Apply colours using a named vector to avoid nasty surprises
  • Check your colours for accessibility - I’ve popped a few resources below
  • Make use of colour interpolation

Scroll down for a list of resources I recommend during the talk.


You can watch all the videos from Day 2 of the NHS-R 2022 Conference here.


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Useful tools for generating and checking colour palettes

Other talks of mine I pinched bits of code from

  • Variations on a ggtheme: Lightening talk on creating and applying a custom ggplot theme to all your plots
  • Level up your plots: A code-along workshop where we live coded our way from a basic plot to the annotated penguin bake off plot



For attribution, please cite this work as:
Thompson, Cara. 2022. “Palatable Palettes: Five Tips for Creating and Applying Bespoke Colour Schemes.” November 17, 2022.