A Simple Way to Sample Colors

color_125You’ve done it before and chances are you’ll do it again. You’ve spotted the perfect color for a project you’re working on while moving through your day, but how do you capture it and duplicate it at the office later? You can try snapping a photo of the item with your smartphone, but those devices are notoriously tricky beasts when it comes to color accuracy, thanks to their susceptibility to changes due to ambient light.

What usually ends up happening is that you thrust your phone screen in your co-worker’s face gibbering something like, “See, it’s this green but darker and cooler and….” And repeat until insane. Which is what makes the forthcoming SwatchMate so enticing.

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For $85 Australian (about $77 US) you get a palm-size cube that you place over the color you wish to capture. Press down gently on the cube and it snaps up the color information, which is either stored in the hardware itself, or sent to a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone where it can be converted into a CMYK or RGB file. The device was funded by a recent Kickstarter campaign, and can be pre-ordered through its Kickstarter page.

The SwatchMate is not the first color-sampling device to hit the market, but if memory serves it may be the simplest to use. Though the size of the cube means only those who regularly carry a bag of some kind are likely to have the item on their person when an inspirational color comes into view, it might be the best option we have until someone figures out how to improve the accuracy of smartphone cameras.

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