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Many recent maps I have seen have these neat two-way color gradients that can be used to color correlations between continuous estimates.

Here is an example is taken from a recent publication.

Christian Levers, Pieter J. Verkerk, Daniel Müller, Peter H. Verburg, Van Butsic, Pedro J. Leitão, Marcus Lindner, Tobias Kuemmerle - Drivers of forest harvesting intensity patterns in Europe. Elsevier. 1 March 2014 (access: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2013.12.030).

Example

I believe those gradients have been generated with ArcGIS 10.x and I was wondering how I could reproduce such color gradients with freely available GIS tools (or at least those available on Linux)?

Happy to hear suggestions or code snippets.

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Excellent answer by @Martin but it seems you have 2 attributes you want to have a colour gradient (Plantation Cover and Forest Harvesting Intensity). If I'm mistaken then I will remove this post. You could set up a Rule-based style, create a new rule, edit the symbol layer from a Simple Fill to a Gradient Fill. Create a filter for your attribute column and set your colours. Then repeat by adding another style rule:

Gradiant fill

Rule-based style

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    +1 Ohh yes, forgot the gradient fill options. But how to color it with both a vertical and horizontal gradient as shown in the example figure of my question? – Curlew Feb 26 '15 at 11:51
  • That's a good question! Just a thought as I haven't tested this before but you could try using a Single Style (not Rule-based), select the Gradient Fill and set the colours via Data defined properties. Not sure if this will work but it may give you a single gradient legend. – Joseph Feb 26 '15 at 12:04
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    Great answer. I didn't know this function :) – Martin Feb 26 '15 at 12:13
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    Thanks @Martin =). I actually never used the gradient option but remembered it was there because of your post (never intended to steal your answer!) – Joseph Feb 26 '15 at 12:18
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    Nono seems like my answer is not complete, so thank you for adding this ;) – Martin Feb 26 '15 at 12:29
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In QGIS 2.6 you can create a two color color ramp this way:

Double click on the layer (or right click > Properties) > Style > Change from "Single Symbol" to "Categroized" > Color Ramp > Random colors> Select Gradient > Choose the colors and safe > Choose the column with the values > Classify > Apply

enter image description here

In the "Column" field you have to select the column containing the values that should be displayed in the color ramp.

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