Color Model Standards

Color Model Information

If a map requires high-volume reproduction and color is necessary for map interpretation, it should be designed to minimize reproduction costs. A map that requires more than four colors must be reproduced using four-color process inks. A map using four or fewer colors can be efficiently printed with four-color process inks or PMS (Pantone Matching System) inks. PMS (Pantone) inks offer more flexibility in design and color choice for a limited color map.

The information displayed in the following tables represents the land ownership colors approved for use on BLM maps. These colors were selected based upon information provided by each agency and are presented as a visual reference only. Three different color models are shown: CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black), RGB (red, green, blue), and Pantone. The numbers used in the CMYK and RGB columns represent combinations of colors that match the closest four-color process simulation of solid Pantone colors often used in the Offset Press printing process. The CMYK values are for lithographic printing and represent the color-subtractive process as percentage values of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (standard four color process). The RGB values are for internet publishing and represent the color-additive process as an intensity value from 0-255 for Red, Green and Blue. When using or converting these colors from one color model to another, it is important that the numerical values, or the actual Pantone color code for each color be specified for the desired land ownership color.

Display devices and scanners use the RGB primary additive colors, and are commonly used to refer to color space, mixing system or monitor in color computer graphics. It is not possible to accurately reproduce the exact RGB values when using the traditional printing process, because of the way inks are blended to create colors. The RGB values are not actually used in this process, but are converted to CMYK values used in the pre-press color separation process. So, it is imperative to use exact RGB values, enabling conversion to the approved CMYK values for printing.




(ArcView HSV)


Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM)
BLM Oregon & California
Lands (O&C)
BLM Wilderness Area0-20-60-0254-204-92
US Forest Service20-0-20-0204-235-197
USFS O&C30-0-60-0179-222-105
USFS Wilderness Area40-0-40-0153-213-148
National Park Service (NPS)20-20-0-0202-189-220
NPS Wilderness Area30-40-0-0177-137-193
US Fish and Wildlife (USFW)
National Wildlife Refuge
USFW Wilderness Area60-0-50-0 102-191-127
National Grasslands 10-0-30-0 230-245-177
Bureau of Reclamation 0-0-30-0 255-255-179
Indian Reservation (IR) 0-30-50-0 253-180-108
IR. Wilderness Area 0-40-60-0 253-154-82
Military Reservations and
Corps of Engineers 
0-30-5-0 251-180-206
Other Federal 10-20-30-0228-196-159
State 30-0-0-0179-227-238
State Wilderness Area 50-0-0-0 107-207-226
Bankhead-Jones Land Use Lands 0-20-10-0 252-205-207
State, County, City; Wildlife, Park
and Outdoor Recreation Areas

Colors on a printed product may differ from the colors shown above; colors can be affected by any combination of variables inherent to the four-color process printing. These variables include, but are not limited to, film and plate registration problems, plate quality, type and weight of paper stock used, the wrong type of process color ink, printing press dot gain, the print run color sequence, printing press color control, and sometimes pressmanship.

Download printable PDF file

Downloadable Color Pallets

Download Instructions for .shd and .avp files - Depending on a number of factors, downloads will be handled differently on different machines. When you click on the links below, your machine may automatically start download to disk, and you can open that file in the appropriate application. However, your browser may try to interpret the file, and deliver a few random characters to the browser window - this is still a successful download. Under the file menu pull down at the upper left choose "Save As", and direct it to the proper folder. Be sure to choose "source" or "html source" under the format options. Then you can use that saved file in the appropriate application.

ArcInfo Shadeset (Unix) - .shd file , text file

ArcView/ArcGIS Color Pallet - .avp file

Adobe Color Pallet - eps file