Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The brilliance of Kuler

If you haven't visited Kuler lately, it's time for another look. Kuler is a Web site for exploring and creating color themes. Any of the 40,000+ color themes on Kuler can be downloaded as ASE files and used in InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop CS2 or CS3.

This is brilliant. Adobe could have hired a team of color experts and locked them in a room until they developed 40,000 color themes, and then included these themes with the Creative Suite installers. Aside from the considerable time and expense it would take to do this, the themes developed this way would not begin to match the incredible variety and creativity of color themes created by a diverse user community. This is a prime example of how Adobe is trying to figure out how to connect desktop applications to the riches of user-generated content.

Another great feature of Kuler: Upload an image to Kuler (Create > From an Image), and Kuler will extract a color theme from the dominant colors of the image, depending on your selection of Colorful, Bright, Muted, Deep, or Dark colors.

There are four ways to access Kuler color themes:

1. The Kuler Web site.

2. The Kuler desktop application, which, among other features, allows you to "tear off" selected themes and float them over your on-screen project, just as you might hold a printed swatch book up to a printed page to judge color relationships.

3. The Kuler panel in Illustrator CS3 (Window > Adobe Labs > Kuler).

4. The Kuler desktop widget for Mac.

See Adobe Labs for more information about Kuler, as well as links to download the Kuler desktop app and desktop widget. See also Kuler help, a tutorial, and a previous post about Kuler.

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