Oneupweb Reviews: Adobe® Kuler™

Creating a calm oasis for yoga and meditation began, for me, with turquoise walls. Bright, airy and accentuated with dark wood shelving and bright white orchids, this room was my sanctuary. Male family members, however, were appalled by my color choice, especially when the sun shone brightly in the room, casting what they called a “radioactive turquoise glow” into the hallway.

While painting a room differs from redesigning a website, the basic idea of choosing colors that properly portray a feeling still applies. Associating your company brand with color helps customers remember your business, whether it’s large or small. For instance, color was found to increase brand recognition by 80 percent, according to statistics republished from a University of Loyola, Maryland study on Color Matters, a site managed by color professor J.L. Morton. Careful use of color is one of the reasons why Fortune 500 companies have such strong brand recognition.

Think about the global package shipping company UPS. Brown dominates, appearing on trucks and uniforms, as well as being mentioned in taglines and company language. (e.g., “see what brown can do for you.”) That’s because most of us associate brown with reliability and stability.

While Adobe® Kuler™ can help you create unique color schemes for a website redesign, this free website application isn’t going to give you a lesson in color theory and application. Kuler’s general purpose is to spark creativity for any project, making it a great launching pad for any business considering a change of color.

Compared to more simplistic color pickers, such as Color Scheme Designer and Color Schemer, Kuler™ offers more functionality. Kuler’s major advantage over these other free applications is the amount of freedom and flexibility it provides to create unique themes.

Download a picture from your desktop or directly from Flickr and this application lets you rearrange color themes based on mood or by selecting your favorite colors from the photo.

Users can also customize themes by creating “from a color.” Like most of these applications, basic color rules are built in. So once you choose a base color, you can let the application guide your choices by selecting a rule to follow.

What’s unique about Kuler™ is how you can also select “custom” as a rule, allowing you to alter color values from a variety of useful color models: RGB (mixtures of Red, Green and Blue), CMYK (mixtures or Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black), HSV (Hue, Saturation and Value), LAB (lightness, chroma A and chroma B) and HEX (Hexadecimal Color Code). Each of these models serves a purpose that helps with color management and aren’t all available with other color pickers.

Once color themes are created, anyone with an Adobe ID can store their creation in MyKuler, which doesn’t have a storage limit. Adobe registration is also free and Kuler™ does reroute users to register prior to setting up a MyKuler account. Once the MyKuler account is established, you can rate and comment on themes, as well as alter or download public palettes.

Kuler’s homepage lets you see which themes are popular and most recent. Comments on these themes can provide valuable feedback. Below, the theme “Garden Swimming Pool” received the comment “I can see a swimming pool with just these five colors. Incredible.” If I were redesigning a web site for a landscaper, this could be a great starting point for choosing a theme.

If you want to keep searching, sort results by tags and HEX values. For example, I can click on the tag “happy” in the “Garden Swimming pool” example and find other themes with that description. These tags can help businesses quickly see how others view color themes and the ratings let you know how many people agree with that artist.

There is also a forum called KulerTalk that lets community members discuss difficulties or challenges with color theme creation. Here users can get additional feedback with how to download these themes through a variety of popular Adobe tools and get help with issues like color management.

For the most part, Kuler™ features are easy to use. Businesses without a lot of resources can take advantage of seeing what other designers are creating and what community members are saying about color combinations. Companies can also find the additional support they need through Adobe’s Help function,

KulerTalk and comments about public color themes. This free application is a great place to start when considering a brand or website redesign.

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