[R] Overplotting: plot() invocation looks ugly ... suggestions?

hadley wickham h.wickham at gmail.com
Wed Jul 26 12:30:24 CEST 2006

> I would like to make a question regarding the use of a grey background
> (by ggplot in this case, but also in other settings - I seem to
> remember a relevant lattice discussion). It seems that it is generally
> discouraged by journals. I guess one practical reason is that it makes
> photocopying difficult (in the sense that it may lead to low contrast
> situations). It might have to do with printing costs, as it leads to
> higher coverage of the page, but I do not know about that.
> [Disclaimer: it does look nice, though.]
> Any comments?

It is very easy to change to the usual black on white grid lines (see
?ggopt and ?ggsave), so if your journal does require it, it's easy to
turn off.

Here are a few reasons I like the gray background (in no particular order):

 * you can then use white gridlines, which miniminally impinge on the
plot, but still aid lookup to the relevant axis

 * the color of the plot more closely matches the "color" (in the
typographic sense) of the text, so that the plot fits into a printed
document without drawing so much attention to itself.

 * the contrast between the plot surface and the points is a little
lower, which makes it a bit more pleasant to read

Of course the big disadvantage is if you don't have a high quality
printer, or a looking at a photocopy of a photocopy etc.  This
disadvantage should go away with time as the quality of printed output
steadily improves.



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