I have produced an article for publication and I have just been informed that I must produce all maps in colour and greyscale as the printed journal is only published in greyscale but the article will be made available in full colour for download. I'm looking for advice/guidance on making the below maps suitable for printing in greyscale but still easily understood.

How should I display the different layers (the vulnerability ranking, the centroids, the flood zone etc.) so that the entire map remains easily identifiable and understood when printed in greyscale?

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  • 1
    this website, colorbrewer2.org is my go to place for getting good color schemes, there is a greyscale option. s for your points you only have two classes so that should be simple enough. I like to switch up the fills and outlines between classes but that is just me. Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 16:51
  • 2
    Whichever way you do it, using greyscale will degrade the insightfulness of your maps significantly. I think your best option is to use different fills for the LAs and different marker symbols for the LSOA centroids. A simple greyscale should work out for your second map considering there are only 4 classes.
    – MyFamily
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 17:01
  • You should also search on CartoTalk for ideas like this one or to post a sample map and ask for a critique.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 17:34
  • With only the four classes you could probably still get away with grayscale, maybe changing the flood zone to a pattern fill and different outline. But for many more classes than that, like your first map, you'll definitely have to look at using pattern fills and/or varying the outline. Maybe they don't even need fills in that first map with a clear, thick border as the answer suggests. Related: gis.stackexchange.com/questions/109440
    – Chris W
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 22:19

1 Answer 1


On the first map you could use a heavy stroke around the Local Authority boundary and rely on the labels to communicate that information. The flood zone could then be hatching fill. Points could then become x and o with x being cutoff LSOA centroids. Hospitals could be the same symbol but black. Rivers are a bit tricky but if you made all 'land' a light grey, rivers could be shown in white.

The second map could be easier to understand if the boundary between Local Authority's was shown with a dark stroke. Then the colored rankings could be made greyscale (low = lighter, high = darker). Flood zones could be the same hatching that is used in the top map. Hospitals could be the same symbol but black. White rivers could also work on top of the grey colored rankings.

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