Cool Tool Friday: Picking Colors With Color Schemer

I got a request to talk abut Color Schemer in the next Cool Tool Friday, so I checked it out, and here’s what I think so far.

Very cool tool. And simple. Color Schemer is great for people like me who don’t have much design sense, or are too lazy to put much thought into design. I usually have to steal color schemes off of other sites on the web, or either hire a designer, or beg one to give me some free advice. Now I can try using Color Schemer to come up with complementary colors, and I can blame the application if they look like crap.

The application is small and efficient, which I really like. I usually prefer little apps that do one thing very well rather than big, bloated apps that try to do everything at once. Color Schemer just does one thing, and it seems to do it very well.

I also like the fact that part of using Color Schemer is understanding a little about color and design. Rather than just telling you what colors to use, you are encouraged to actually learn a little about color, color theory, and color combinations which you can do quickly and easily through the Color Schemer online tutorial.

I also like the little features that help integrate it with web development workflow, like being able to easily copy HEX colors to your clipboard, and the ability to save color schemes.

What don’t I like about it? Well, I’ve only been playing with it for about 45 minutes now, so I don’t have enough experience with it yet to say whether it really works or not. I haven’t used any of its recommended schemes to build a site with yet, so for all I know, it could turn out looking horrible, but I think as long as you pick reasonable colors to start with, it will pick reasonable colors to compliment them.

One thing I don’t understand about Windows applications is why you always have to install them. I know most people don’t give this a second thought, but since I’m also a Mac and Linux user, it really bugs me that I have to install even the smallest of applications on Windows. Why can’t I just download an EXE file, put it where I want, create shortcuts where and if I want. Then, I can just delete the application if I don’t want it anymore without having to go through all the trouble of uninstalling it, and further fragmenting my hard drive. This is obviously not specific to Color Schemer, but it bugs me nonetheless.

Another potential disadvantage that I can see so far is possibly the price. Color Schemer is $34.99 while Color Schemer Studio is $49.99. I don’t think that’s unreasonable, but it’s a little hard to swallow when you just need a few color suggestions every couple of months or so. (I would find it easier to pay for an RSS aggregator that I use several times a day, for instance.) Obviously the more you use it, the more it makes sense, but if you were the type of person who needed to pick out colors on a daily basis, you are probably more of a designer who wouldn’t use a tool like this at all. This is a very small point, though, since if it saves me from having to consult with a designer even once, it has probably paid for itself. I just feel like I’m constantly reaching for my credit card these days, and half the applications I open up are begging me to purchase them. I should probably just get over it, stop being cheap, and start supporting the hard-working developers building these cool tools.

Anyway, does anyone have any experience with this tool who would like to comment? How about similar tools? Anything for other platforms?