The Role of Seasons: A Deep Dive into Personal Color Analysis




Origin Story


It all begins with the Bauhaus, a revolutionary art school established in the early 20th century that sought to unify art, craft, and technology. Following the devastation of World War I, the Bauhaus's main goal was to enhance people's living conditions through modern design. It was a radical idea for its time, integrating aesthetics with everyday function, with the belief that well-designed objects could enrich our lives, both practically and aesthetically.

At the heart of this school was a Swiss expressionist painter, designer, teacher, and theorist named Johannes Itten. Itten made a critical observation that became the foundation of PCA. When his students chose their own color palettes for portrait painting, he noticed an intriguing pattern. The students intuitively selected colors that mirrored their own physical coloring. These color choices could be broadly classified into four large groups, symbolizing the four seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.

This was a significant breakthrough. It suggested that our instinctive color choices are influenced by our personal coloring, leading Itten to theorize that there are specific color palettes that naturally harmonize with each individual’s coloring. This was the genesis of the four seasons color theory, which forms the backbone of the PCA we know today.

Each of the four seasons encapsulates a unique color profile: Spring is warm, bright, and light, Summer is cool, soft, and light. Autumn is warm, soft, and dark, while Winter is cool, bright, and dark.

12 Seasons


As valuable as Itten’s four-season theory has been, it needed to be expanded to capture the rich diversity of human coloring more accurately. The original four seasons - Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter - have been used for decades and were expanded to capture the full spectrum of human coloring more accurately. One primary issue was that 80% of people are neither significantly cool-toned nor warm-toned. Most people tend to hug the middle more, meaning neutral-cool or neutral-warm.

The system's expansion to twelve seasons means that each original season now has three sub-seasons. If we imagine a square and place the four seasons at its corners in the order of annual chronological seasons - Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter - we can visualize the new setup. Think of it as the original four seasons relocating to the corners and growing large "Mickey Mouse ears," which became their own sub-seasons. So, each original season now has a new sub-season to its right and left.

The seasons falling between Winter and Autumn are characterized as 'Dark,' leading to 'Dark Winter' and 'Dark Autumn.' This is because the common characteristic between Winter and Autumn is low value or darkness. These new classifications keep the original season in their name, preceded by their most dominant attribute - for instance, 'Dark Winter.' The original four seasons have been labeled 'True,' representing their long-standing presence in the color analysis field. To learn more about the science of PCA, click here.

Wealth of Practical Info


Understanding your season goes beyond identifying 'what looks good on you.' It involves comprehending the crucial attributes of your best colors. For instance, if 'Dark Winter' is your best season, the most vital attribute of your palette is the 'dark' value. Other attributes, such as cool hue and bright saturation, offer more flexibility and can be adjusted based on specific contexts.

Exploring the vast array of color possibilities within each season, you will find that colors subtly morph depending on the seasons' proximity. For example, if 'True Autumn' is your dominant season, your secondary season will likely be an adjacent one, such as 'Dark Autumn' or 'Soft Autumn.' This shift in color characteristics is an intricate process, governed by subtle changes in hue, saturation, and value, making it a fascinating area of study for those keen on mastering their color palettes.

Another exciting aspect of the twelve-season system is the concept of 'sister seasons.' Sister seasons refer to seasons located diagonally across from each other on our hypothetical square, like Bright Winter and Light Summer or True Spring and True Autumn. Sister seasons offer an alternative way to expand your palette, depending on your specific pigment characteristics.

Your Season is Your Superpower: More Than Just Aesthetics


Understanding your color season is an exercise in self-discovery and self-expression. It goes beyond merely identifying the colors that enhance your appearance. It provides a roadmap to understanding your aesthetic identity, a tool for effective communication, and a means to assert your individuality. It's a scientifically-backed method that leverages art, design, and human psychology to enrich your daily life. After all, color is more than skin deep; it's an intimate part of who we are.

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Orlando, FL

Moon Over Star is a personal color analysis studio dedicated to your self-image journey. Michelle MacIsaac offers color analysis services in Orlando and to clients worldwide, so you can finally show up to life and achieve your aspirations with confidence and joy.


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