Tonal directions or seasonal analysis? Translation 101

When I write the Kettlewell blog, I talk almost exclusively in seasonal terms (i.e. referring to the colour palettes as Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter), and within that the different ‘types’ of each season. However, the palettes can also be divided up according to ‘tonal directions’ rather than seasons.

In the interests of keeping things clear for all of Kettlewell’s customers, not just those who have had a seasonal analysis, a translation guide seemed in order.

Most modern colour analysis systems – including the two UK big names, House of Colour and Colour me Beautiful – use a 12 season analysis system. The difference is not so much in the palettes as in the different names of those palettes. I have dealt with the different seasonal types used by House of Colour in depth in four posts (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter), and today it’s the turn of the Colour me Beautiful system to get a little in depth attention, and a translation to the seasonal system.

In the Colour me Beautiful analysis process, the client is assigned a dominant and a secondary tonal direction. These two tonal directions together determine the palette that the client is given. So a client may, for instance, be given ‘Clear and Warm’, meaning that their dominant tonal direction is Clear, with Warm being the secondary palette signifier.

So what do each of these tonal directions mean? Please note that the translations from tonal to seasonal below may not be exact – every analysis system is slightly different.  However, it should give you a good starting point for finding your colours.

Cool

A Cool dominant skin tone is one in which the primary, most important descriptor of the client is that they have a cool (blue) undertone to their skin and need cool toned colours to look their best. A Cool dominant person might be a Winter or a Summer in seasonal terms.

Cool + Clear roughly translates to a Cool/Sultry Winter, at the coolest, deepest end of the Winter palette, whereas Cool + Soft translates to a Cool/Deep/Dark Summer, which is the deepest, most saturated end of the Summer – the most ‘Winter’ end of Summer.

Warm

A Warm dominant skin tone is one in which the most important descriptor of the client is that they have a warm (yellow) undertone to their skin, and need similarly warm toned colours to look their best. A warm toned person might be a Spring or an Autumn in seasonal terms.

Warm + Clear translates to a True/Warm Spring, at the warmest, most vibrantly yellow/golden end of the Spring palette, while Warm + Soft equates to a Warm/True/Vibrant Autumn which, like the Spring equivalent, is the most golden, warmest end of the Autumn palette.

Light

Rather than being predominantly warm or cool, the defining characteristic of the Light dominant palette is, well, light. Often fair of skin, hair and eye colour, the lightness of the colour is more crucial than whether the colour falls just to the warm or to the cool side. A Light dominant person might be a Spring or a Summer in seasonal terms.

Light + Cool equates to a Pastel/Light/Cotton Wool Ball Summer, the lightest and brightest summer colours – these colours are the least ‘greyed’ of the summer palette, and seem to be softened by white more than by grey. Light + Warm translates most closely to a Light/Pastel Spring, containing the lightest and most pastel end of the Spring Colours.

Deep

As with the Light palettes, the dominant characteristic of the Deep palette is not warmth or coolness, but depth of colour – tending towards the dark and saturated, and the more neutral end of the spectrum rather than overly warm or cool. A Deep dominant person might be an Autumn or a Winter in seasonal terms.

Deep + Cool translates as a Deep/Dark/Burnished Winter, the Winter palette containing the most neutral (in terms of warmth and coolness) tones, seen as the ‘softest’ in the Winter palette, as much as any Winter colour can be soft. Deep + Warm is a Deep Autumn, again tending towards the darkest, most neutral (in terms of warmth and coolness) end of the palette.

Clear

The Clear dominant palette has as its most defining feature an absence of greying or muted tones to its colours – all the Clear colours are ‘true’ shades rather than softened versions. A Clear dominant person might be a Spring or a Winter in seasonal terms.

Clear + Cool translates to a Clear/Bright/Sprinter Winter, which falls at the lightest and brightest end of the Winter palette, whereas Clear and Warm equates to a Bright/Clear/Blue Spring, at the brightest and most ‘Winter’ end of the Spring palette.

Soft

The predominant feature of the soft palette is an element of muting, or greying, to the colours, rather than a dominance of warmth or coolness. None of the colours appear at full saturation. A Soft dominant person might be a Summer or an Autumn in seasonal terms.

Soft + Cool equates to a Soft/Brown Summer in seasonal terms, featuring the least cool Summer colours, such as the jade greens and rose browns. Soft + Warm is a Soft Autumn, at the lightest and most muted end of the Autumn palette.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s