Pictaculous is a new “experiment” from the makers of MailChimp. It’s a free color palette picking service that works in two ways. You can either:

  1. Upload an image on the Pictaculous web site, or
  2. Email an image from your iPhone

Either way, your image is very quickly analyzed, and a number of suggested color themes are returned. The color palettes come from Kuler and Color Lovers and an Adobe color swatch file is made available to download.

Below you can see a screen grab from the web application. I uploaded a small photograph I took of a floor mosaic. The results show the hex codes of the main palette suggested, as well as the Kuler and Color Lovers suggestions.


To use the email application, it’s as simple as sending your snap to color[at]mailchimp and very shortly after you’ll get a response with all of the same information you get from the web application. Easy.

We’ve looked at other color palette applications recently on SitePoint, but what makes Pictaculous different is the ability to send a picture from your mobile device by email, and have a palette returned rapidly. So if you’re out and about and see a sign or a scene that you like, take a snap, “send it to the lab for analysis,” and voila! You get several color palettes returned as well as hex codes for the colors.

Finally, it should be mentioned that there are still a few small bugs in the system and the makers themselves readily admit that they are still experimenting. I found it to be fast and easy to use, and as a color palette addict, I had fun using it.

Note: MailChimp is an advertiser on SitePoint, but this was not a paid review.

Related Reading:

Five Free Color-Picker AIR Applications

Jennifer Farley is a designer, illustrator and design instructor based in Ireland. She writes about design and illustration on her blog at Laughing Lion Design.

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  • artemis

    Tried a search on the Iphone store as there was an Iphone in the pic but I couldn’t find anything. Can you link to it?

  • Jennifer Farley

    Hi artemis, there is no specific application on the iphone for this. You can send your picture that you take on the iphone by email to color[at] and the reply will come back. More info here – Mailchimp blog

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