Palette Gear is a Canadian start-up on a mission to take photo editing to a new level. Company founder Calvin Chu took inspiration from specialised audio software.

‘I was frustrated at how annoying it was to retouch my photographs using a keyboard and mouse,’ the engineer recalls. ‘So I started researching interface designs. I was talking about it with a friend, who’s a DJ, and we realised that most interfaces share the same common elements – buttons, dials and sliders – yet the tools out there were for audio applications only.’

He devised a system using a USB-powered core, around which one snaps together different modules, consisting of dials and sliders. Each module can be custom-assigned a particular function, and you can stack your system up to suit your workflow. Spend your life lightening levels in Photoshop? Simply assign a dial to the function and fine-tune the response. A partnership with Adobe has cemented the creative approach.

As originally featured in the November 2015 issue of Wallpaper* (W*200)