This question is not TeX specific. When creating scientific documents with graphs and figures, what colors are good to use such that they help the reader understand the figure but will also print well on a black and white printer? For example, I would assume that yellow is a poor choice since it is difficult to read on the screen and it prints very light on the page.
In general using patterns is preferable than colour, especially for scientific papers. If you need to use colours though, I suggest you use a combination of high contrast colour values and limit them to two or three colours. For example in the figure below, I wanted to emphasize delayed activities for a Project. I used orange to highlight these values and shades of gray for the rest.
Shades of gray, come out well in print as well as photocopying. For screen viewing, black colours don't look attractive. If you expect people to view your paper on the screen (if for example you posting it on a web page) rather use colours and control the screen version via a boolean, but best option of course is to choose colors that look well both in print as well as on a screen.
I'd take a look at http://colorbrewer2.org/. It is a site designed to help pick color schemes for cartography, but I've used it to pick schemes for regular scientific plots as well.
There is an optional button that will only show color schemes that are photocopy-able. If you click on learn more it says:
Photocopy Friendly: This indicates that a given color scheme will withstand black and white photocopying. Diverging schemes can not be photocopied successfully. Differences in lightness should be preserved with sequential schemes.
An easy way to check whether the black-and-white version of a coloured document will be usable is:
Some folks at Matplotlib have spent a lot of time thinking about this. There is an excellent talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAoljeRJ3lU
Summary: Nathaniel Smith and Stéfan van der Walt designed a colourmap called Viridis that, in an optimal sense, differentiates sequential data in a visually proportional way, projects well to grayscale and is readable to the colourblind. It's very cool research. Don't use Jet!
There are several others, namely magma, plasma and inferno, which are also close to optimal, and have some blues, reds and pinks if you're aesthetically partial to Jet.
If you would like the colours as a discrete palette for making diagrams and such, I have converted them to Gimp color palettes for my use in Inkscape.
Here is a comparison of those color maps to jet:
This is from my experience in writing research papers, personally I find the easiest to read is not by color because sometimes we print papers ourselves to read and due to printer differences it's hard to read sometimes. I would recommend using different patters in your graphics (dotted lines, dots, dashes, stripes, etc...)
Again this is just my opinion but I find that patterns are easier to recognize than different color shades sometimes.