Adobe Kuler is a free web application that can help ecommerce site designers select beautiful and communicative color palettes, earning it four-and-a-half stars in “The PeC Review.”
“Color is such a pervasive part of everyday life that one tends to take it for granted,” wrote Ayn E. Crowley, in her 1993 paper, The Two-Dimensional Impact of Color on Shopping. “Yet, differential effects (both physiological and psychological) for various colors have been found repeatedly across decades of research in psychology. Since many forms of marketing communication, such as packages, products, advertisements, and store environments, are presented to consumers in color, these color effects are bound to be operative in a variety of consumer behavior contexts.”
Regardless of how you might think or feel about the validity and cogency of color psychology, most any businessperson recognizes that an attractive, even beautiful, ecommerce site is a more powerful selling tool than a bland or ugly one. And, color selection plays an important role in how attractive a website is.
So this week, let me introduce you to Kuler, the aforementioned, free-to-use web application that can help you choose the “just right” color palette for your ecommerce website.
Video: Using Kuler to Pick Colors for a Web Project
Kuler Pulls Colors from Images
Kuler’s best feature is its ability to extract color palettes from illustrations and photographs. It is quite natural that the things we see inspire our web design choices, but rarely can we easily transform what our eye sees into a five-tone color set, complete with RGB values and HEX codes.
Kuler users can either upload an image or select a Flickr photo to work from, and within seconds Kuler offers five algorithmically-selected tones. These tones are chosen with a user-defined mood in mind. Available moods include colorful, bright, muted, deep and dark. You can also customize the palette.
Once you’re happy with your colors, you can save the palette, name it, add tags, or even download it for use with Adobe’s popular Creative Suite, including Photoshop and Illustrator.
Develop Custom Color Combinations
If you were inspired by a single color (perhaps it’s your logo color), Kuler can also help you create a custom palette. Simply select the color you want to start with on the Kuler color wheel — or by typing in its HEX code or RGB, CMYK, LAB, or HSV values — and Kuler uses a set of complex equations to suggest associated colors.
You can adjust the rule set Kuler uses to pick colors, focusing on analogous, complementary, or monochromatic tones, among others. Again, you can also customize your final palette.
Search the Kuler Community
Anyone using Kuler can publicly offer his or her tagged and labeled color palettes for others to use. Many of these user-created color sets are excellent choices, and, frankly, unless you are using an image, I would start using Kuler by searching its expansive collection of color combinations.
Kuler is an excellent single-purpose tool. It won’t design your website for you, but it will help you select an excellent color palette. This is why I awarded Kuler four-and-a-half out of a possible five stars in this “The PeC Review.”