I have been experimenting recently with R, my favourite statistical toolkit. The plot above (of the gender balance in Australian states and territories) uses a palette extracted from Vermeer’s famous Girl with a Pearl Earring (below) – a brown-and-blue diverging scale with some pink highlights. Interestingly, this is a palette which still works well under simulated colour-blindness. It looks good too.
Oh, and those numbers on the map? Partly related to an excess of males in the mining industry, and partly to an excess of females among retired people.