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Apps for Architects: Adobe Kuler

By Andrew Hawkins, AIA


Apps for Architects: The Series

Some people talk politics, others art; I like to talk tech. How can it impact our lives, our work, our future? This is the stuff that rattles around in my head at night and keeps me awake when I should be sleeping (or working).

This series will review tablet apps and hopefully give you a benchmark to make your own decisions about how apps can benefit your workflow or daily process. I hope to get plenty of feedback and always love to learn how other users “architect” apps for their own benefit.  More about this series.

Adobe Kuler: App Review

Adobe Kuler is an app for selecting color palettes from just about anything your smart device can snap with the camera. This is a fairly simple application, but a nice one to have on your device and with you at all times.

The premise is quite simple: Point and capture. Then, the app creates a color palette from the image. You can see this in real time as you move the camera around (see image below). Tap the check and you are in business. The app saves your selected palette, gives you the RGB or HEX value for the color, and allows you to create new palettes based one of the colors from within the current palette. If you choose to sign up or in with an Adobe ID, you can access the color themes online via the Kuler web applet. This allows management of themes created by you and those from others. You can favorite certain themes on the web app also. It is an exploration of color themes from the world over!


The usage for this app is quite limitless. As architects and designers, we look at colors in a different way and all the time. This little app allows you to capture that colorful moment (Yep! A pun) and be able to save it, recreate it, or share it.

This is an app that can be quickly used to document the colors in a building, in nature, or on a printed document. The potential to snap client likes on the fly is also quite appealing. Or simply document them as an approved palette. Also the app could be used to match existing colors for rendering, submittals, or peace of mind. And in the end, the app is just a cool and fun tool to play around with.


  • It is simple to use for capture and saving.
  • It has an online interface so you can see the “themes” online at your desk.
  • Your color themes can be viewed and shared with Adobe Ideas.
  • You can tweet or email the color themes. Emails send a link to the online palette.
  • You can also import a photo if you prefer; for example, maybe you want to find the colors from that awesome shot from last weekend’s trip to the park.



  • Not enough “instructions” on how to use the app.
  • In-app help is nonexistent after the initial use of the feature. This means you have to go online to find any “help” or FAQs, a bit annoying in the beginning but overall not a deal breaker.
  • There is not a definition of what the “color” rules actually do for your palette… Triad, Shades, Compound… what do they do for me? Again, not a deal breaker, but it would be nice to have a bit more information.



Currently this app is available for iOS only. Android users can use the web version for now.


Andrew Hawkins, AIA is the President and Principal Architect of Hawkins Architecture, Inc. Andrew believes in sustainable design, technology in practice, and the power of thoughtful architecture. He routinely attempts to adapt technologies from other disciplines and appropriate them into architectural practice. He is also active in the AIA at the state and the local level in Texas.

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