The album is the first of Smith's to be composed from his own originally produced music in its entirety. Smith's recordings were pressed as samples to vinyl and then mixed using software. Purely analog modular synthesis was also used in the making of the album. In describing why he chose this requirement, Smith has stated: "I was trying to think of something that would be a massive challenge for myself and just a really cool project. I wanted to also prove to myself I could do it."
A Color Map of the Sun is the first album Smith released as a physical product at the same time as the digital copy. Double vinyl and CD copies are to be released. The second disc of the CD features an additional 13 live studio recordings of the new music produced for the album.
A documentary was filmed during the making of the album and was released the same day as the album.
The album made its debut at #2 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Charts. On December 6th, 2013 A Color Map of the Sun received nomination for Best Dance/Electronica Album in the 2014 Grammys.