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Nov 21


2006 at 08.44 pm posted by Veerle Pieters

Defining the colors you will use can always be daunting, it’s sometimes hard to find perfect complementary colors. There are a lot of web-hosted applications out there that can help you with that. If you want an overview of some of the better ones you can find it on my link page. A new kid on the block is “Kuler” from power house Adobe.

Online community based around the use of color

It's from Adobe labs so you could call it a technology preview or beta. It allows users to quickly create and share color themes over the Web. Users can also collaborate, comment and share color themes based on predefined color formulas or you can create custom themes by using Kuler’s interactive color wheel. It also uses a star rating system ala iTunes so you can narrow things down by only showing the highest rating ones.

Interface of Kuler


Kuler also let's you create your own color combos by several options such as "Analogous, Monochromatic, Triad, Complementary, Compound, Shades or Custom". Once you've found your favorites you can give it a title, tag it and save it to a section called "Mykuler". Another option is to save your color themes as Adobe Swatch Exchange files (.ASE) but you have to own the Adobe Creative Suite for that. I've experimented with it and I must say it's easy to use and I am gonna use it again to go back to my colors that I saved for later usage. Some days are easier than others when you need color inspiration ;)

The Mykuler section

I think it is the first time that Adobe launched something that isn't an application that you have to buy. It makes me wonder if this is a new kind of Adobe that we are starting to see come to life.




permalink this comment M. Jackson Wilkinson Tue Nov 21, 2006 at 09.52 pm

The corps are all realizing that it’s better to invest a little bit in a small project and see if it takes off rather than spending a whole lot on one and getting nothing out of it.  Adobe is finally coming around to this, perhaps partially under the influence of Macromedia, which is used to these kinds of things (flash apps).

That said, Adobe Labs does a lot of stuff like this, and has for a little while now.

Hopefully, they find that these useful, little tools work well and generate for them a loyal fanbase.  It worked for Google, after all.



permalink this comment Mike D. Tue Nov 21, 2006 at 09.56 pm

Wow, thanks for the heads-up. Very, very cool.  The only thing that I *really* wish it had was the ability to just quickly thumb through all of the swatches via key commands.  For instance, I’m about to paint my condo, and I’d love to just be able to rapid-fire through 1000 of these in 10 or 20 minutes.

Adobe?  You there?  Whaddaya say?



permalink this comment Ingo Tue Nov 21, 2006 at 11.13 pm

Did you create the one in your first screenshot? I like it and might use it for my redesign(/realign)...



permalink this comment Graham Wed Nov 22, 2006 at 12.16 am

Thanks Veerle, excellent tip. What would we do without you!



permalink this comment Chris Lienert Wed Nov 22, 2006 at 01.49 am

I’m most impressed! Thanks for the link :)



permalink this comment Ross Johnson Wed Nov 22, 2006 at 04.53 am

Very nice, bookedmarked!



permalink this comment René Kleizen Wed Nov 22, 2006 at 08.59 am

Thanks for noticing us. I was very impressed by Kuler, a very nice, cool and handy application.



permalink this comment NO Wed Nov 22, 2006 at 09.21 am

This is another money making application. I rather use



permalink this comment Johan Wed Nov 22, 2006 at 09.47 am

That’s a very nice tool! Thanks for the tip.
I particularly like the different options when creating a custom colorset.



permalink this comment Johan Wed Nov 22, 2006 at 10.28 am

Great link/review.
Until today, I used to find inspiring color schemes, but Kuler looks ways better!




permalink this comment Jeff Wed Nov 22, 2006 at 03.18 pm

This is wonderful, thank you so much.  I think “web 2.0"s (pardon the trend-speak) ability to give us truly useful applications plus make our ideas shareable is going to be a huge boon for the designer.  Now, if those kind of web applications could just start appearing….



permalink this comment EL Mystica Wed Nov 22, 2006 at 08.35 pm

I think it is the first time that Adobe launched something that isn’t an application that you have to buy. It makes me wonder if this is a new kind of Adobe that we are starting to see come to life.

Nope, I think we’ll start to see Macromedia’s open culture within the Adobe ecosystem..



permalink this comment Mark Thu Nov 23, 2006 at 10.15 am

Works beautifully, at home, using IE7 and Firefox. But at work, where we have IE6, I do not see any colors, or could that be due to my browser settings?

But it sure is a nice tool!



permalink this comment Ignacio Thu Nov 23, 2006 at 11.05 pm



permalink this comment ocube Fri Nov 24, 2006 at 05.14 pm

Thanks for this… just what the doctor ordered



permalink this comment Z Fri Nov 24, 2006 at 10.21 pm

Unfortunately, Kuler doesn’t work for me. I have no idea why… Flash 9 is installed perfectly and all. It just won’t show the colors for me. It will show the text, the tools, and everything but the colors themselves. This holds true for every browser I have… (IE6, FF2, Opera 9)



permalink this comment Joan Mas Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 07.22 pm

This is strange. It doesn’t work for me, neither. The Flash movie loads, but the colour chips are empty (in black.) I will give it a try in another computer and with a different browser/Flash plugin.



permalink this comment Shymansky Stanislav Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 09.52 pm

I think it’s the best application for color experiments. Sure, people have troubles with, because it’s fully built on Flex technology. Thus, there are a lot of issues with browsers. But it’s cool anyway.

Thanks, Veerle.



permalink this comment Johan Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 03.15 am

Without a firm understanding how colors relate, function and what they can convey and mean: where do you stand?

I can highly recommend the book A comprehensive Guide for Graphic Designers (published by Rotovision). It demystifies the theory of color, and opens the door to the a new use of color to communicate and entertain.



permalink this comment Johan Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 03.25 am

This book uses cutting edge illustrations and touches on color theory first , to go on with a most interesting analysis what to do with that theory.

the title of the book is Colour management - A comprehensive Guide for Graphic Designers



permalink this comment Martijn Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 01.11 pm

Very, very nice tool! Although I have the impression not everything is displayed as it should, but that’s a flash issue.



permalink this comment Nick Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 02.55 pm

I spent a while getting familiar with this app over my vacation from work and I have to see I rather enjoy it. Fast, efficient, and versatile. The ability to see and access other swatch sets as they are made by other other people is great.

I’ve yet to have any compatibility issues with my browsers (IE6, Firefox 2.0) which are PC based.

Thanks for showing us this Veerle, yet another fun tool to play with ;-)

I hope Adobe comes out with more interesting and useful apps like this in the future.



permalink this comment Shymansky Stanislav Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 05.05 pm

It’s evident thing, that if you don’t have basic knowledge, tools will not be so useful for you. And results will have some taste of plastic.

By the way. There are links on color theory in the links section on Kuler.

Johan, thanks for advice with a book.



permalink this comment jimnrg Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 11.33 am

Thanks for the info *S*. I’ve created and published 2 pastel themes for web backgrounds or whatever if you’d like to check them out. They’re named Pastel Parfait and Pastel Parfait 2



permalink this comment Jackie Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 08.42 pm

Very nice color application.  I tried it out - (it requires the download of Flash Player 9, for those people who were having trouble with it.)

  Thanks again for all the tips on how to mix and try out different web colors. Looks like it is very fun and useful.



permalink this comment Steve Ivy Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 08.59 pm

kuler is a great app, but I was disappointed in the lack of bookmarking or other sharing features. In particular I want an RSS feed of recently added themes, or for a particular user.

I started poking around with a traffic analyzer and came up with the start of an API doc and a demo:




permalink this comment Počasí Sun Dec 3, 2006 at 09.42 am

Kuler? I understand more interesting software here.



permalink this comment David G. Paul Sun Dec 3, 2006 at 02.29 pm

“Social Colouring” - I like it! LOL

Anyway, seriously, it is a good tool, and I can see how it would people decide on what colours will work well together.



permalink this comment Gavin the Photographer Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 09.40 am

I’d hate to see these programs replace the essential education of color theory.  Everyone should learn this first in a painting class (though it would differ from RGB) to get the basics down.

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