For my money, Marc Edwards from Bjango is one of the best designers working today. His in-depth articles on technique are revealing and insightful; I’ve learned a ton from them. He’s also responsible for the incredibly useful Skala Preview, a highly polished utility that lets designers preview their designs on mobile devices in real time.
Now Edwards is turning the Skala brand into something bigger with the simply named Skala, a forthcoming Mac app that promises to be “a precise user interface and icon design tool with phenomenal rendering quality and a unique blend of vector, bitmap and 3D abilities.” I’m pretty excited about this; if it lives up to its promise, it will serve as further evidence that, after a dark age for user interface design tool options, we are emerging into a much more robust era with real competition and richer selection.
Skala has yet to be publicly revealed, but Edwards has released one small component as a preview: Skala Color. It’s a plugin for the native OS X color picker that offers an improved set of color selection tools that cover “everything you’re likely to need for Web, iOS, Android, and OS X development—Hex, CSS RGBA, CSS HSLA, UIColor, NSColor and more. It also automatically recognizes colors copied to the clipboard, presenting them as a swatch that can be applied with a single click.” It can be downloaded for free right now.
I’ve been using Skala Color for a few weeks and I can confirm: it’s a big improvement over the stock color picker provided by the operating system, which has grown quite long in the tooth. Seeing that hoary interface by Skala Color reminds me of how woeful OS X’s stock type palette is, too; that thing hasn’t been meaningfully improved practically since Mac OS X debuted. Edwards says that for Skala he and his team are building many of its support systems themselves, which presumably led to Skala Color. So perhaps there’s a Skala Type coming too.