09 Dec 2014
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Android App Review: Color Pal

By Eddie Monotone

Many designers and artists are happy to tread the same ground again and again, reusing Helvetica Black and that one shade of tan for every piece of work. Others strive for more variety, and for them the choice of a new colour palette for each new project can be a struggle. The Color Pal app offers some help by offering a range of interesting palette options, but doesn’t quite do enough to be my go-to colour resource.

Color Pal is a simple app that showcases a range five-colour palettes of varying styles and tones. Once you’ve found one you like the app gives you the Hex, RGB and CMYK values for each colour so you can incorporate them in your work. The preset palettes have names like ‘Dream Magnet’ and ‘Dance to Forget’ and ‘Wasabi Suicide’, so I guess you can use this app not only to select colour schemes for your design work, but also to name the tracks on your forthcoming progressive-rock synth-metal album.

A nice feature is that you can search not only by keyword (which is a bit vague and reliant on the palette namer thinking along similar lines to you) but also by a six-character hex value. So if you already have one colour that you have to include in your project, you can simply type it in and the app will show you a range of interesting combinations that include it. There’s also the option to save certain palettes as ‘favourites’, so you can quickly refer back to them later.

There’s one obvious omission from this app, and unfortunately it’s a big one. There’s no option to create your own palettes through the app, or to tweak the ones that are already there (if, for example, you like four of the five colour and just want to swap out the last one).

Color Pal sources its palettes from colourlovers.com (and seriously this discrepancy in the spelling of ‘colour’ annoys me more than any of the buggy glitches or cynical ad placements I’ve seen in my time as an app reviewer). The website does give you the option to make your own palettes, and although I only played with it briefly it seemed like a decent tool. Although you could make palettes on the website and then favourite them and refer to them through the app, this would seem to make the whole thing a bit needlessly cumbersome, seeing as you can do everything the app does through the site (and much more besides just generating palettes).

As a quick reference tool Color Pal has some value, but without the capability to create palettes in-app, it come up lacking in comparison to the website it’s linked to, or to other apps that include this function. It’s a shame, because what Color Pal does it does well – it just doesn’t quite do enough.

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