Design education and brand development
Flying Colours – Colour Report
See some of my basic views on colour below, based upon some really good work online including
some information taken from the following sites.
See my basic code: most of the colourways fit neatly into the following categories.
Light/deep/clear/muted/warm and cool.
Cool colour palette is usually those who have pink undertones in
their skin, who burn easily, their eyes are usually blue, brown black, slate,
or cool grey. The darker cool palettes can have a bluish tinge to veins,
and very dark almost black eyes with ashy, olive or bluish tones.
Warm colour palettes are generally those with yellowish
undertones to the skin. The light and the dark complexions show slightly
greenish tinge to veins. Their eyes are usually green, hazel to brown and
deep brown, if blue there is often a yellow or warm grey aspect to the
Winter colour palette >
Colour matches are based upon skin, hair and eyes, but women do
change their hair colour often. It is always better to go with your natural
original hair colour where possible or keep hair within cool or warm
There is also a muted story where the colour of the skin, hair and eyes
are soft and closely related as a colour story. Celebrities examples
include Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman and Sarah Jessica Parker.
Bright and clear contrasting colour palettes are easy to spot eg:-
Courtney Cox with clear bright blue eyes, pale skin and dark hair. This is
typically cool, clear and contrasting.
It is easy to see where striking examples fit this code. Difficulty
emerges when a colour palette is neutral, soft and not easy to fit into a
particular category, and it feels uncomfortable classifying people so
tightly when we are all unique and have strong character preferences.
We all have our own tastes and this is when these variations come to the
fore. I enjoy exploring the effect certain colours have on people in relation to
their psyche, sometimes they literally hate a colour that they really suit for some reason
usually related to past horrible memories.
Our personal nest of colours are the ones that make us feel good,
look good which are uplifting and if we choose well they all go together as a family of
colours. Working out the basic 12 to 24 shades of colours that suit is not
only very satisfying, but saves a lot of wasted money and time as it
encourages personal style rather than just following fashion trends slavishly and it is fun to
do. It means all our clothes go together and it shows the complexion off
to its best. It can have a dramatic effect on our view of how much make
up we need to wear and the ageing process in general and how it affects us
If you look online there are many sites to help you identify your
palette, however calibration of computer screens is often inaccurate and
can be confusing. Carrying it out in real life is better. But much
information can be found for example by following a celebrity who has the
closest colouring to you, it is easy to explore images of celebs in different colours and the effects can easily be seen.
I tend to use a more
typology, based on 12 variables
instead of 4 season types. In
order to accommodate
people whose colouring
is close to neutral in
either variable and to
differentiate much better
than the traditional seasonal approach, by adding a secondary factor and an additional character element.
This secondary factor depends on your colouring’s most defining quality:
light, deep, clear, muted, warm or cool. Your secondary factor can help
you further narrow down your own colour palette. If you work between two
different seasonal palettes, it’s probably because they both share your most
defining quality. If you are interested in colour and are considering
adjusting or updating your wardrobe accordingly, I strongly recommend
you figure out your secondary factor as well as your base season before
spending money. It will just give you a much more accurate idea of which
colours suit your individual complexion – if you are going to use any kind
of typology, do it right. Here’s a run-down of the six secondary factors:
Light: You are either a light Summer or a light Spring.
Your hair colour is light (blond or light brown), your skin is light for
your ethnicity and your eyes are either a light blue, green or grey. You
look best in the soft, light and muted shades of your colour palette, e.g.
peach (Spring) or a pale lavender (Summer).
Deep: You are either a deep Autumn or a deep Winter.
You have dark brown or black hair and deep brown, green or hazel
eyes. You look amazing in the deep, vivid shades of your palette, e.g.
deep terracotta (Autumn) or black (Winter).
Warm: You are either a warm Spring or a warm Autumn.
Your overall colouring has a distinctive warm undertone to it. Your
hair is either golden blond to brown, or strawberry blond to deep auburn.
Your eyes are green, topaz, hazel or light to medium brown. You best suit
the mid-range colours in your palette that are neither too intense nor pale,
e.g. a medium tomato red (Autumn) or a soft aquamarine (Spring)
Cool: You are either a cool Summer or a cool Winter.
Regardless of whether you have light or dark skin/hair, your overall
colouring has an underlying cool quality to it. Like the warm type, you also
look best in the mid-range shades of your palette, e.g. emerald green
(Winter) or periwinkle (Summer).
Clear: You are either a clear Winter or a clear Spring.
Your overall colouring is high in contrast and saturation. Your hair is
either a medium brown to black or a vivid, bright blond, your eyes are
blue, bright green, topaz, amber or turquoise. You look best in saturated,
clear colours, e.g. a bright, warm pink (Spring) or hot pink (Winter).
Muted: You are either a muted Summer or a muted Autumn.
There is little contrast between your skin, hair and eyes and
sometimes your overall colouring is relatively close to neutral. Your hair is
neither very light nor very dark. Your eyes are green, grey-blue, hazel or
brown. You look best in soft, muted shades, e.g. olive green (Autumn) or
blue teal (Summer).
For instance when we are boarding an aeroplane looking at the air steward
uniforms, this has been carefully considered with Air France, Belgian airlines and Quantas where there are great examples of quality design. When emotions are heightened colours seem to have a
stronger impact, so people contained in a small space are easily affected. Navy Blue and Grey are particularly good colours to induce trust and professionalism.
This concept is easily carried over to other
architectural spaces, large or small, real or virtual
eg:- interior decor and websites.
Looking into the meaning of colours or
investigating them online can help you to make
wiser choices for interior decoration of shops,
bars and restaurants and in waiting rooms and
consultation rooms. This research is best done
prior to creating logos and choosing corporate
clothing, for obvious reasons. If colours need to
be toned down or lived up, smaller scale
accessories for interiors and clothing can alter
the appearance dramatically. It can be the make or break element of
keeping clients longer in a space they feel comfortable. Or on the other hand, moving people through a space quickly making room for more clients as soon as possible. The circle below is a fantastic graphic to help you understand how
colour is perceived across the globe.
The theory of colour involves science, art and psychology, a
strange and powerful mix. It is best dealt with on an intuitive level, it is like
taste preferences with food. You can use a sketch pad, or a Pinterest
board is a good way of developing your personal style. Stylists practice
combining individual elements to create visuals to evoke a certain feeling.
I dream up a particular event or scenario and bring it to life using lots of
different images to define which clothes the context requires. These are
my moodboards because they define a particular mood, inspire colours,
textures and character styling, although sometimes an individual board is
needed for each of these elements. I don’t have to stick to the details, It is
just about letting my intuition guide me to come up with something
visually dramatic. It is fun to create, these kinds of boards as they are
also a great way to practice your styling skills and train your eye.