Spring: explaining the different types


This is the first of four blog posts, exploring the different ‘types’ of each season. When discussing each season I will try to use the most commonly understood terms of each type, but please do contact us if you feel we’ve missed out a term that would help colour analysis clients understand their season.

When a client has a personal colour analysis, the time when they were given one of four designations – Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter – and sent on their way is long gone. Whether you’re pastel, clear, deep, soft, mellow, golden or dark, the chances are that you were given some other descriptive terms alongside your seasonal classification. Under some systems, you may have received no season name at all, but simply have been classified as two descriptive words (cool and clear, for instance). However it is described, the fact is that the time of being simply one of four seasons is over. Most systems are now what is called ’12 season’, which means that you can be slotted into one of  12 ‘boxes’ by your analyst.

This process means that your analyst can more easily show you the very best palette of colours for you, but can also mean that you leave your analyses not entirely clear on what exactly you are.

The time has come, you’ll be pleased to hear, to clear up any confusion that may be lingering since your colour analysis.

Each week I’ll be looking at one season and discussing the different types within that season and how it might affect the kinds of colours you choose to wear.

Do remember though, that your seasonal type is a guide. If you fall at one end of, say, the Summer palette, it doesn’t mean you can’t ever touch colours from other areas of the Summer palette you may have been given, just that this particular area is the strongest part of the palette for your personal skin tone and contrast level.

This week, we’ll be looking at Spring colours.

True/Golden/Warm Spring

This is perhaps the most ‘standard’ Spring palette – the colours are warm, bright and have a clear yellow undertone. Golden Springs are often (although not exclusively) the ones who ‘look’ like they are going to be a Spring – strawberry blonde, bright red or golden yellow hair colour and clear blue, green or light brown eyes. Their fair peaches and cream skintone glows with their best colours.

A True Spring falls at the very warmest, most golden end of the wider Spring palette, and if you viewed the entire colour range of all four seasons as one big spectrum of colour, then Tue Spring’s colours would fall nearer to Autumn’s than to Winter’s or Summer’s.

True Spring’s best colours are usually warm greens, yellows, orangey reds, very peachy pinks and every shade of light brown from tan to palest beige.

Your best Kettlewell colours: paprika, deep salmon, coral, coral red, geranium, buttercup, soft gold, yellow ochre, new lime, lime, mallard, soft teal, corn yellow, tomato, seaspray, beige, sand, light sand, nut brown, chocolate, tan, gold lace.


Light/Pastel Spring

This is the Spring palette with some of the intensity and saturation removed. Tints (ie base Spring colours that have had white added to make them lighter and clearer) feature heavily in the Light Spring palette – the colours never get too dark and heavy. The darkest of the Spring browns can often be too gloomy, with bright navy and dove grey making for better neutrals.

Light Springs often have very light clear eye colour, such as pale grey, blue or green, and hair that can look ashier than the golden tones of True Spring.

Again, if we were to put Light Spring’s colours onto one big spectrum of all four seasons, its colours would fall towards the Summer end of the Spring palette.

Light Spring’s best colours are (unsurprisingly!) the lightest Spring colours. Pale peach, light dove grey, palest mint green and aqua.

Your best Kettlewell colours: salmon, mellow rose, peach, cream, beige, soft white, sand, light sand, vanilla, primrose, corn yellow, new lime, apple, spearmint, pastel jade, light aqua, bluebell, cornflower, heliotrope, wisteria, pebble grey, soft white lace, warm grey, light grey lace, light teal marl, cobalt blue marl, periwinkle, blue iris, breton blue (maybe bright spring?), lapis blue, light navy.


Bright/Clear/Blue Spring

Containing the most saturated and boldest of Spring’s colours, people who fall into the Bright Spring category are often some of the trickiest to analyse – they can look like Winters, with piercingly bright eye colours, and often relatively dark hair with little or no warmth.

Bright Spring falls at the Winter end of the Spring palette, making it easy to see why the colours get clearer, brighter and less warm than those of True Spring.

Bright Spring’s best colours are the bright blues and true reds, dove greys and more acidic yellows.

Your best Kettlewell colours: watermelon, pink coral, poppy, true red, shocking pink, cream, soft white, acid yellow, leaf, aquamarine, tiffany blue, aqua, turquoise, azure, chinese blue, cobalt blue, oxford blue, bright navy, royal blue, midnight blue, iris, lobelia, purple, bright purple, violet, dove grey, soft grey, light grey marl.


A note on Paintbox Springs

There is one designation that doesn’t fall neatly into any of the above categories. A Paintbox Spring is a classification used by House of Colour to denote someone who suits all of the strongest and brightest Spring colours, both those at the warmest and cooler end of the palette. Falling somewhere between Bright and True in its warmth level, Paintbox Springs need saturation and contrast in their outfits to look their best.

Paintbox Spring’s best colours: watermelon, geranium, poppy, true red, tomato, buttercup, lime, leaf, aquamarine, tiffany blue, aqua, cobalt blue, bright navy, royal blue, bright purple, violet.


A note on crossover colours

Once the Spring colours are explained, and you start to see why certain groups of colours go together and lean towards one or other season within the Spring palette, it is easier to understand why crossover colours happen.

Once you begin to consider all four seasons as a spectrum, rather than four distinct blocks, it easy to see that where. for instance, Spring meets Summer, there will be a few colours that sit so close to the dividing line as to be indistinguishable to the human eye from virtually identical colours that sit just the other side of the seasonal ‘line’. And where three (or even four, in the case of true red and one or two other colours) seasons meet, we can find a multi-season colour that genuinely works on more than two seasons.

When considering crossover colours, look first at those that fall at ‘your’ end of the palette (so if you are a Light Spring, consider colours that are Spring/Summer crossovers), but don’t totally ignore colours that crossover with other seasons if you think they’ll work. Your own colour analyst can advise you if you are still feeling unsure, or give Kettlewell a call.

Crossover colours can be a tricky subject to get your head around, but once you begin to look at the entire spectrum of colours rather than each season in isolation, it starts to make perfect sense.


6 thoughts on “Spring: explaining the different types

Add yours

  1. This sounds like ‘Colour Me Beautiful’ rather than ‘House of Colour’. The latter is far more simpler to follow if you are just starting out on this. I’ve had both done as I was asked to be a guinea pig in Guildford, free of charge, for those learning the job to become consultants. Both very good, but House of Colour by far the easiest to get your head around – just Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, not dark, cool, warm etc.

    1. To me this sounds more like Sci/Art, but in a much (MUCH) better way. It’s nice to see an in-depth explanation and guide as to why one person scores differently in the same colours as another person of the same season. To me, the scoring alone shows that the concept goes well beyond a general classification under a season.

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