The Role of Color Saturation in Maps for Children

  • Bill Buckingham
  • Mark Harrower
Keywords: color, saturation, children’s maps


Bright, saturated colors are very common on maps for children, especially maps in grade-school textbooks. This is despite the tendency of professional cartographers to use highly saturated colors sparingly in much of their work. This research seeks to determine if highly saturated colors are necessary for children to understand a map’s content and if children prefer highly saturated colors. Two hundred forty two fourth and fifth grade students were tested for both performance and preference on land use and time flow maps. Saturation’s effect on performance appeared to be largely negligible, however the students, both male and female, strongly preferred the maps that were highly saturated.
How to Cite
Buckingham, B., & Harrower, M. (2007). The Role of Color Saturation in Maps for Children. Cartographic Perspectives, (58), 28-47.
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