Monday, September 30, 2013

Be Cooler with Kuler

Images courtesy of
Color inspiration comes to us at different times and in different ways - sunsets over the ocean, moss on a rock, a store front, or a concrete wall beside a blue mailbox. I’ve been a photographer and graphic designer for over 20 years, studying color, tone, hue, saturation and light. Each element is a vital part of everything I do. Catching the precise combination of each is what makes life a constant challenge. Cell phone cameras have opened a whole new world of possibilities and opportunities to capture the moment as you walk through your day. Kuler (a not so new app purchased by Adobe) allows us to capture and translate these colorful inspirations into our designs. The best part is that it’s FREE!

When I first used the app my mind was overwhelmed with ideas. It’s incredible to watch the program translate what you see in front of you into a usable color palette! You can pick the color point or you can let the program do its magic. If you would prefer to wait till later, no problem, just take a photo and work with it later. 

Kuler allows you to use your camera phone as a window, take a photo, or pull an image from your phone, computer, or tablet and build a color profile based off of the image. You can set the app to analogous, monochromatic, triad, complementary, compound, shades, or custom settings to fit your design needs. Using Adobe Cloud, you can instantly upload the color palette to any of your Adobe design programs.

Images courtesy of
  Here are a few other features:
      - Interactive color wheel
      - Theme sharing
      - Tagging and commenting
      - Preset color modes
      - Theme search, explore, and browse
      - Sync Colors
      - Color editing

Now, how do I use this for my work? At first I just enjoyed playing with the app on my phone. Then, I started to label and categorize the groups of swatches to location or activity. This led to more than color swatches to fit client needs; it led to a flurry of creative thoughts that I applied throughout the design.  Thoughts from the day, who I was with, and even smells became part of the process. It’s cool to apply a smell to a design or a project. As a designer, I believe we strive to not only align pretty images to set margins, but also to give the viewer a complete environment. 

- Phillip McInturff

About the Author:
Phillip McInturff is currently contracted with SideMark as a graphic designer. He also manages Voodoopixels as a graphic designer and photographer—specializing in conceptualization, identity, marketing, and package design as well as journalistic, lifestyle and catalog photography. He graduated from the Art Institute of Colorado with a B.A. in Graphic Design (awarded Best Portfolio) and a minor in Photography.
To contact Phillip, e-mail him at or visit his website at

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