Thursday, May 27, 2010

8. Model With Skin Tone W2

Here we have a model with Warm 2 (W2) [from First Edition selection of colors] skin tone wearing colors from her correct personal color palette. As you see, her clothing, hair, cosmetics, jewelry, shoes and the background color are all perfectly compatible with her complexion. The images have a pleasing look.

Possibilities for hair color, clothing, etc. are endless. For example, many people with a W2 skin tone have blonde or red hair. As long as W2s select their colors from the W2 color palette, the colors will harmonize.

Friday, May 21, 2010

7. Whimsical Color Combinations

You might enjoy creating some whimsical color combinations. Be sure to use the colors from your personal color palette to ensure selection of harmonious colors.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

6. What About Hair and Eye Colors?

I am sometimes asked to clarify the following issue; "Will a person's eye color and hair color naturally show up in their palette if their skin tone is properly determined? I can imagine a wide variety of different hair and eye colors for people who have the same skin tone match on your scale."

The answer is no, not automatically, but you are to add them in. Eye and hair color will not necessarily be found in one's palette if skin tone is properly determined, but these colors should always be added to your personal color palette. Your natural hair color(s) is/are your Primary Neutral Color(s). Your natural eye color(s) is/are your Secondary Neutral Color(s).

It is very possible that hair and/or eye color(s) will be in your palette, but they won't necessarily be. This is because of how the colors are selected. First, all of the visible colors that fall within a certain contrast distance from the skin tone are selected. Next, the process selects out the colors that fall at proportional contrast distances from that skin tone color, at 5%, 10%, 20%, 40%, [+60%, 2012] and 80-88%.

It is this precise rhythmic color selection processs that provides absolute harmony and cohesiveness to the structure of the palette as a whole so that your colors may be mixed-and-matched with impunity. A person's eye color(s) and hair color(s) will not necessarily be positioned exactly at the 5, 10, 20, 40, [60, 2012] or 80-88% contrast distance from the skin tone. They almost certainly will, however, be included within the first selection of all colors that relate very closely to the skin tone color.

Occassionally, however, a person will have a very light skin tone (warm, neutral or cool) and very dark hair and/or eyes. In that case, the individual may add the color black to their personal palette of colors even if it doesn't automatically appear. The contrast between the palettes' very light colors and black will not be too extreme for such people.

Most people will find at least some of their hair and eye colors within their palette. Hair and eye colors are usually a blend of colors. My eyes, for example, are hazel. The greens, gray and golden brown colors of my eyes are all found in my personal palette. My exact hair color, however, is not in my palette. Since I like to color my hair, I select colors for highlights, lowlights and/or all-over color directly from my palette. The end result is quite beautiful. Not everyone, of course, wishes to color their hair or wear colored contact lenses, and that is fine. One's natural hair (Primary Neutral Color) and natural eye color (Secondary Neutral Color) are absolutely compatible with one's skin tone, and with all of the other colors in your palette.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

5. Color Analysis System

Our twenty-four [33, 2012] skin tone coordinated color palettes of 620 [380, 2012] colors each originate from computer-generated mathematical algorithms, making the process both efficient and precisely accurate. This method selects a pool of colors with a close mathematical relationship to a specified skin tone as measured by contrast, and then reduces the pool of colors to just those colors that create a palette of cohesively harmonious colors--harmonious with each other, and with their targeted skin tone color.

Remarkably, human beings have the capacity to see about three million colors. Instead of trying to describe colors by words (such as "light mocha" or "springgreen"), which can be interpreted differently by different people, we can now name, or identify, all three million colors numerically. Each color note has its own hue, value and chroma identifying numbers. Hue is the way we commonly understand color; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and back to red again. Value measures the lightness or darkness of a color, and chroma measures a colors' intensity or dullness. So, for example, a particular "rose" color note can be identified as Hue: RP 2.22, Value: 6.37, and Chroma: 9.84.

In the early 1920s, to help us to envision these color concepts, Albert Munsell invented a color organization system that has meaning to this day. Imagine all visible colors floating in three-dimensional color space as illustrated by the graph to the right.

The Munsell Color System graph is designed such that contrasts between colors are all the same among groups of neighboring colors on the same hue page and neighboring colors on different hue pages, and chroma has a steady, linear rate of change with contrast reaching zero at the neutral axis.

Don't worry, you don't need to understand what that means. The important thing is to realize that the three-dimension perceptually ordered Hue/Value/Chroma color space facilitates the accurate calculation of color distances (contrast) between any two colors in the color space.

It would, however, help you to understand what is meant by "color contrast" because's whole color analysis system hinges on this concept. Color contrast is the measure of the visual difference between two colors when they are viewed side-by-side. For example, a black square and a white square placed next to each other create the greatest contrast possible. On the other hand, a pastel blue and a pastel purple placed side-by-side will create much less of a contrast.

Within the color space defined by Munsell's color system, it is critical to have a way to measure the contrast between any two colors.
  • We first mathematically quantify color contrast relationships in three dimensional Hue/Value/Chroma space
  • then we apply harmonic progressions or scales to those Hue/Value/Chroma contrasts. A color palette of controlled, organized contrast is our goal.
"Contrast is critical to controlling color relationships, because contrast is something we can attach a number to. Once we can attach a number to something, we can control it. Once we can control color numerically, then we can organize, arrange and harmonize color. So, in a sense there is no such thing as color harmony. There can only be color-contrast harmony, because it is not the color that we are harmonizing, but the differences between the colors, measured objectively and numerically, just like music." [Master Colors Blog: August 2007] "Harmony is not an opinion or a subjective feeling. Harmony is objective. Harmony's effect is subjective." [Master Colors Blog: January 2008]

The progression chosen by selects only the colors that are 5, 10, 20, 40, [+60, 2012] and 80-88 [black] contrast levels from the targeted skin tone color. This is a simple doubling progression that lends a solid color-contrast harmony to each personal color palette of 620 [380, 2012] colors.

Within each of the 24 [33, 2012] different palettes:
  • you will find a full range of soft, medium and intense color choices.
  • All colors within a palette harmonize beautifully with each other and with the skin tone they were selected for.
  • Though black will not appear in a personal palette if it would create a contrast too strong for a very light skin tone, wearing a print of black on white works well for everyone.
  • Additionally, your natural hair color(s) which is/are your Primary Neutral Color(s) and your natural eye color(s),which is/are your Secondary Neutral Color(s), should be added to your personal color palette, if they are not already there.
  • People with very dark hair or eyes, and very light skin may also add black to their palette.
In the system used by, 88 is the contrast level between black and white. It is the strongest color contrast possible. And interestingly, 88 is also the number of keys on a keyboard. "Combine technology with mathematical proportions and it's as if you are creating musical compositions with color." [Andrew Hussie]

Thursday, May 13, 2010

4. New Color Analysis Method Illustrated

The following illustration using concentric circles will make color quantification easy to understand. Think of your skin tone as the center color, the color all the other colors closely relate to. Next comes the ring of colors that differ from the skin tone by a 5% contrast (difference) as measured by hue, value and chroma. Then we step out to the ring of colors that vary from the skin tone by a contrast level of 10%. In turn, the colors at 20%, 40%, [+60%, 2012]and 80-88% contrast levels are identified.

All colors inside the largest circle closely relate to the skin tone color, but only those colors that fall on the pink line (at exactly 5,10,20,40 [+60, 2012] and 80-88%) will be accepted into that skin tone's unique palette of colors.

This carefully measured selection gives your personal palette of 620 [380, 2012] colors true harmonic structure. Hues, values and chromas differ, but they differ with a precise purpose. Just as there are rules for creating musical harmony, there are rules for creating color harmony.

Until now, color analysis was more of an art than a science. Now, we can KNOW what colors harmonize, which leaves us free to trust our colors, and to confidently enjoy them.

The illustration on the left is a 2-dimensional demonstration of how different skin tone palettes relate, though in reality the space is 3-dimensional. As you see, the color palettes may overlap a little, depending on how close two skin tones are in color, nevertheless, each palette is cohesively harmonious, and only relates well with the other colors within that palette.

3. Clearing Up The Mystery of Color

Much of the mystery about color can be deciphered very easily. To do so, we need to focus on some basic terms used to describe different facets of color. These terms are "color,"  "hue,"  "pure color,"  "tint,"  "tone" and "shade."   The most widely used term, "color," covers all the bases. It's a generic term used to label any color, including white, gray and black.

"Hue" refers to the purest/truest/brightest colors. These are colors with no added white, gray or black

Any pure hue with some white added is a "Tint." Tints are commonly referred to as pastels. They are clear (absent of gray), lightened hues.

"Tones" are pure hues mixed with gray (which is a combination of white and black). Tones are generally softer, muted and easy to live with.

The term "shade" refers to a pure hue with some added black. Shades are clear (absent of gray), darkened hues.

2. Can Cool Skin Tones Wear Orange?

A lovely woman, whom I've enjoyed communicating with concluded, "I've had my colors done in the past [with seasonal color analysis] and I really disagree that cool undertones can wear orange." Consequently, she decided against purchasing color palettes from What a great topic for us to address this week!

Rather than offer my opinion, I want you to decide for yourselves whether cool skin tones can or cannot wear orange. Take a look at these sample colors from's Cool 2 Color Palette:

Note that the surrounding skintone color is more orange than blue. Also, note that the orange color swatches are rusty in color, rather than a bright orange. They are highly muted, containing more blue, and less pure orange, than Warm skintone oranges do.

The border color indicates the skintone, and the inner color swatches are technically harmonious to each other and to the skintone. So, what do you think? Do the colors work together? Please realize that if even one of the colors is compatible, they all are because they are all very closely related mathematically.

A separate issue relates to an individual's color preferences. Someone may see that a group of colors work with a particular skintone, and still not like the colors. People naturally have preferences for, and against, particular colors and color combinations. Happily, though, with 620 colors to choose from, all color preferences, moods and occassions can be well satisfied.

1. What's Wrong With Seasonal Analysis?

The phenomenal seasonal color analysis system originated in the 1920s through home economics university classes. In the 1970s books began to appear about how to identify the most flattering colors to wear, and in 1980 Carole Jackson released Color Me Beautiful. Her seasonal color analysis method set off a firestorm of excitement about personal color. Interest in personal color analysis has since settled down, but it has never faded away. Wonderful, older and newer books on seasonal analysis are still available at Barnes & Noble and Borders book stores.

People can become very passionate about color, and if they've invested time, energy and money into exploring the 12-palette seasonal color analysis method, they can become strongly opinionated, so we might as well jump into the deep end of the subject.

First of all, let me say I don't view seasonal color analysis as the definitive solution. Carole Jackson doesn't either. By her own admission she believes this system to be imperfect. A recent quote by Anna Villaruel of The Chic Fashionista reported one of the flaws, "because ethnic women have less variation in hair and eye color, the Carole Jackson system often leaves out Latinos, Asians, Africans and Mediterraneans," In walking her readers through seasonal analysis, Anna begins by stating, "Seasonal color analysis can be a little bit tricky to understand..."

I found that to be an understatement. In fact, I find the process to be impossible. There can be no certain conclusion. Words that came to mind as I read through the analysis process were "ambiguity," "opinion," "subjectivity," "complexity," "imprecision," "uncertainty," "guessing," "frustration," "undefined terms" and "maze." (Yes, some of these words are redundant, but they came to mind, nonetheless.) I believe that reasonable people could very easily arrive at different conclusions about an individual's proper category placement with the seasonal approach to personal color analysis.

Look at some of Anna's phrases which are designed to guide a person in deciding whether she/he is a Light, Clear or Warm Spring:
  • "if you're a Spring you probably have..."
  • "warm in complexion, but...brighter with light to medium color intensity"
  • "light blond, medium brown, golden or reddish highlights"
  • "golden or peachy undertones"
  • "your colors are hard to find because they can never be muted or too dark"
  • "you should choose colors that are 'alive' with a hint of gold--meaning balance between muted and dark"
  • "if you get tanned you can wear the lime green and sometimes some of the Autumn colors"
  • "the same thing happens if you dye your hair darker"
  • "lighter or darker eye color"
  • And to help identify Clear Springs, look for skin tone that is "bronze, deep warm brown, brown-black, light peach or porcelain."
A gorgeous color fan of "accurate quality color swatches" is available for purchase once a person has identified their proper seasonal category. My question is, accurate by what standard?