First, let me point out that I like a bargain and have a number of excellent tools I use every day that didn’t cost me a nickel. They’re free. That’s courtesy of a Mac community unlike anything you’ll find in the Windows world (now crumbling as I write).
Then, let me reiterate that bargain mentality with news that I also try and buy so-called shareware (when will that term go away?), or utility applications that provide a function not available in mainstream “suite” applications or within Mac OS X.
Finally, these three color utilities are easily downloaded, easily tried, and offer functions that vary enough between them that I’m willing to use all three, one of them I paid for, but found it useful enough that it paid for itself the second time I double-clicked.
Color is a personal thing. For those of us who do graphics and design, color is waaaaay more important than those who, well, just don’t understand. That being said, I’ve got a good eye for what I don’t like, but it’s not as good for knowing exactly what I want.
In fact, I truly admire those graphic geniuses who seem to have an “eye” for color that comes from another universe (I mean that in a good way).
They’re the Mac graphic guys who make color really look, well, colorful and classy. Most of what I do is just colorful, but would be much worse without these three tools.
Remarkable though it may seem to some, color blends in a web site design, a graphic, or other “color” elements need to match certain standards.
These three tools will help you become and maintain a professional color “look” on your web sites, graphics, and more.
• Color Designer (free, easy to use, limited features)
• iPick (free and handy, simple to use, enough features)
• Color Consultant Pro (is it possible to be better than this?)
All three of these color tools will help you. One, Color Consultant Pro, may help you more than any because it’s just so good at what it does and has more options than you’ll thing color ever needed.
Color Consultant Pro
I’ve used my share of color tools through the years. This one is good and is loaded with features for the color professional (you know who you are). In summary, Color Consultant Pro (CCP) is an interactive color wheel. That lets you test and implement a variety of color schemes in graphic design elements.
If you’re in design, you know what value a color wheel brings to your tool set. This one is the Swiss Army Knife of color wheels. Not only will you get dependable guidelines to how various color schemes work together, but CCP brings you flat smack into the digital age.
CCP supports a number of color systems not normally found on color tools—Scientific (additive RGB) and Artistic (subtractive RYB). Once you’ve established a color combination for a specific requirement, CCP schemes can be saved to your Mac or exported to other formats. You can then use the scheme in other Mac applications.
For both additive/RGB and subtractive/RYB there’s support for Complementary, Split Complementary, Monochromatic, Analogous, Tetradic and Triadic color schemes.
Yep, there’s the Websafe RGB (I’m soooo over that, now) in addition to RGB, CMYK, HSB, Lab and more. Frankly, CCP took some work to get used to since there are so many features and so many combinations.
Once you’ve defined your graphic color elements, let CCP takeover and give you the color you want. This is a great tool for websites.
Similar to Color Consultant Pro is ColorDesigner. There are two major differences. ColorDesigner is free and doesn’t contain the same number of features, although you can get a lot of mileage from the color wheel. It’s accurate and simple to operate although I found the sliders to be cumbersome.
ColorDesigner also incorporates a text component so you can see the effects of color on text. Very handy. Did I mention that ColorDesigner is free?
One of my favorite tools is also the one that does the least, but does enough to make it very useful; especially with web page design color considerations. One of the problems I’ve always had is with HTML colors; what’s the difference between #000000 and #800000? Or, can you figure out the stark contrast between #F9F9F9 and #E6E6E6?
Before iPick, there wasn’t a simple tool to get you there. I’ve used Dreamweaver and Fireworks for years but having to open up such a monstrous application just to get to a color I need (while editing a site within a browser window) was painful.
iPick is a simple application that gives you quick access to the Mac’s color wheel; especially for HTML code. Background, text, link, active link, visited link are all right there. One click and color for each is available via the Mac’s color palette.
There’s also a Theme Generator which puts iPick a notch up. Select a primary color, then appropriate theme colors show up in boxes below; again, all aimed at generating color coordinated HTML pages.
No, the feature set of ColorDesigner or Color Consultant Pro won’t be found. Still, it’s very handy, quite simple even for newbies, and, did I mention that it’s free.
To check out each of these color tools, do a quick search on Macupdate.com or VersionTracker. Two of the three are free. Color Consultant Pro is the tool more suited for professionals (who can charge the tool to clients).
You never know about some web tools. I found this one on the web. That’s where it’ll stay. On the web. Click Here to see a color wheel embedded into a web page. It’s totally interactive and works very well; even giving out real time HTML colors.
Very slick. And free.
What color tools do you use? Do you have a favorite? Click Here to leave anonymous feedback, or click the Comments link below to share your color tool set with other readers.