It’s not that Mac users and graphic designers are suffering from a limited choice of color tools. Many are free. Most of the good ones come with a nominal price tag. Spectrum is the latest and this is one that’s worth a try.
Floating Palettes, Oh My!
Most color scheme apps for the Mac keep to the tried and true and time honored floating palette metaphor. Full screen is not the domain of color tools.
What sets Spectrum apart, besides the price tag, is the understated elegance of the interface.
A traditional color spectrum wheel graces the lower center of the app’s window, with a row of tools at the top, another row of options on the bottom.
Color schemes are easily created by moving the Mac’s screen pointer along the color spectrum. Choose from standard color theory and harmony rules such as analogous and complementary hues.
The color matrix gives you options to explore similar shades and tints for fine tuning and tweaking.
Drop in a photo or graphic image and Spectrum can automatically generate a color scheme.
Spectrum can display the more traditional artistic color wheels, as well as more contemporary HSV color wheels.
Of course, no color tool is complete without a built-in color picker which floats on the Mac’s screen to grab the color from any pixel.
Color schemes can be imported and exported as ASE files (for Adobe Creative Suite), and CSS and PNG. There’s even an option for app-level color management for coders.
Spectrum lets you generate and save color schemes into the built-in library. The app’s web site has a very useful video which displays most of the basic features so you can compare Spectrum with whatever color scheme too you use now.
Unfortunately, Spectrum has a respectable price tag, and it’s Mac App Store only, so there’s no trial before you buy option.