I think I have to explain a bit of context to introduce the question.

In the project I am working we have reference object that belong to 3 major groups A, B, C (real name Archaea, Bacteria, Eukaryota if you are interested in biology). We have a lot of them and each major group is split in subgroup, I choose to represent subgroup based on gradient color according to group color A: blue, B: blue/green-to-green-to-Yellow and C: grey. (I choose green for B because is the group with the most of subgroup >70) I have so many subgroup that I know is not possible to have a clear separation so I selected a the most interesting for me and I divide them equally along the gradient. Then I have my new stuff (that we want to compare to reference) that belong to 3 group X, Y ,Z To be able to see them on the reference I pick color to contrast with my reference, X:pink, Y:violet, Z:orange.

Everything was fine (may be not the most harmonious but we were able to distinguish most of the thing) until my boss came to me asking me to add 2 new reference groups N1, N2.

  • N1 and N2 do not have subgroup so is one colour no gradient for them.
  • N1 is related to A
  • N2 is related to B
  • N1 and N2 are something we would like to highlight is more important to be able to distinguish N1 and N2 than other random group of A and B.
  • If possible N1 and N2 should be very easy to see like our X, Y, Z.

My problem is that I don't what colour to pick for N1 and N2. I thing I have not many colour left (Or I don't realize it), Is okay for me to reduce the number of color of B but If I can avoid it perfect!!!

here an example of what I am obtaining whithout N1 and N2 enter image description here

any help would be appreciated!

1 Answer 1


I not very comfortable to answer my own question, but I fact I ran into specialize website that have a color wheel, I was not aware those things exist before!! but In my case they prove to be very valuable! The one I used was name paletton but they are many other. With the color wheel I was able to see the range of colour I used and color left and also pick very distinct color.

I change the violet for a red, and the orange for a darker orange (having a distinct gradient for my X,Y,Z) then a use violet for N2 for N1 I used a lighter orange.

  • 2
    See this post for a more full list of color generators May 13, 2019 at 14:21
  • It's OK. Answering your own question is absolutely fine. Also, don't forget to choose it as best answer, if it is in fact the best answer!
    – Billy Kerr
    Jan 8, 2020 at 19:22

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