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Standardized Colour Scale for the Colour Blind

Standardized Colour Scale for the Colour Blind

Standardized Colour Scale for the Colour Blind

Like 8% of males and 0.5% of females in the world, I am red-green colour blind.

Overall, this isn't much of a disability, but I do find understanding colour-scaled FEA outputs very difficult.  I have noticed that the standard scale for colour goes, in increasing stress/heat/whatever is being measured, (blue) to (purple or pink) to (green or red) to yellow to (green or red).  I am assuming that, since this scale seems to be very common, that there is a good reason for the colours being in said order.

My question is, does anyone know of a standardized scale to accommodate people like me?

RE: Standardized Colour Scale for the Colour Blind


Like you, I am "Red-Green Colour Blind", and typical colour contour schemes can be quite hard for me to interpret. My habit is to use the contours to highlight points of high (or low) results, and then interrogate the results to get the actual numerical values - I can't rely on my colour perception to "read" the stresses, deflections etc from a contour plot.

For me, in the default "Rainbow" scheme used in Strand7, a whole swathe of mid-range yellow-green "bands" often end up quite indistinguishable, and ironically, the purple colour that Strand7 uses for its maximum contour, above red (or at least I assume it's purple!) is almost indistinguishable from the blue minimum contour! This rarely causes confusion though, because you don't generally see a minimum contour in very close proximity to a maximum contour.

Different software applications have different methods of changing colour schemes. Some offer more than one "palette", such as "Rainbow" (red through to blue / violet), "Topographic" (blue "water" in the lows, green "vegetation" in the mid-range, and white "snow" on the peaks), and so on.

If you can't find a colour "palette" that works for you, reducing the number of contour bands can often help, as it should create a greater colour distinction between adjacent bands.


RE: Standardized Colour Scale for the Colour Blind

This is a site that we have used over the years for infromation about the use of color in the design of software interfaces:


They have also done some good research on how to design interfaces that will be used by colorblind people and have provided charts to help software designers do this.  For example, a non-colorblind person needs to know what a colorblind person sees when he looks at say a color chart.  This way you can avoid using colors which will be confusing to someone like CharlesHeard.  You can find these tools and other information that may be of interest to both the colorblind as well as the rest of us:


Anyway, good luck.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
UG/NX Museum:   http://www.plmworld.org/p/cm/ld/fid=209

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Standardized Colour Scale for the Colour Blind

Thank-you all for your wonderful responses! I have been able to set up some good scales for the programs I primarily use.

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