Spring: 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 True 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: paprikadeep salmoncoralcoral redgeraniumbuttercupsoft goldyellow ochrenew lime, limemallardsoft tealcorn yellowtomatoseaspray, beige, sandlight sandnut brown, chocolatetangold 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: salmonmellow rosepeachcreambeigesoft whitesandlight sandvanillaprimrosecorn yellownew limeapplespearmintpastel jade, light aquabluebellcornflower, heliotropewisteriapebble greysoft white lacewarm greylight grey lacelight teal marlcobalt blue marlperiwinklebreton bluelapis bluelight 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: watermelonpink coralpoppytrue redshocking pinkcreamsoft whiteacid yellowleafaquamarineaquaturquoiseazurechinese bluecobalt blueoxford bluebright navy, royal bluemidnight blue, iris, lobeliapurplebright purplevioletdove greysoft 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: watermelongeranium, poppytrue red, tomatobuttercup, lime, leafaquamarineaquacobalt bluebright navyroyal bluebright purpleviolet.

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 is 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.

Ellen on Oct 16, 2021 9:27 PM

I am a spring & got a my colours done years ago from a colour analyst, but not sure what category of spring i fit into as I suit most of any of the different types of spring colours from each of the different colour palletes which is a bit confusing for me as to what type of spring I am .How do i know what type of spring i am, can you help.


Kettlewell Colours: Hi Ellen, this blog post might help you decide https://www.kettlewellcolours.co.uk/blog/jo/seasonal-sub-types-which-one-are-you

Leigh on Sep 22, 2021 11:48 AM

I've always known I was a Spring but still can't tell what type of Spring. I have strawberry blonde hair, very pale skin that doesn't tan and bright, dark blue eyes. I'm not a True Spring because reds, browns and oranges are too bright for me. I tend to wear light spring colours the most although I don't have ashy hair. So confusing.

Rita on Mar 18, 2021 9:36 AM

Very well illustrated ...The hues,tints ,shades of colours graduate from light to dark and the light and warm co,ours undergo variations.

Some analogous shades of green and red and the complementary colours play form a part of the Spring colour palette.

Thank you for sharing this.Loved the classification .

Virginia on Mar 10, 2021 2:33 PM

Where is the light orange? I’m a spring who glows in light orange

Kathryn Boyle on Dec 27, 2020 1:53 PM

Imapaintbox spring. Could I get away with a pink from winter colour selection

Nancy Harrison on Jul 26, 2020 3:40 PM

Love my colors here.

Lea on Jul 01, 2020 3:00 PM

I love this site too. It’s like the world of color makes so much sense . It’s beautiful .

Anna Borntrager on May 08, 2020 7:06 PM

i love this site

HELEN COLVILLE on May 27, 2019 3:31 PM

This is a super-helpful article. I'm pretty certain I'm some sort of a Spring but didn't seem to fit into any of the sub-types : Light Spring -too delicate, Warm Spring -browns look rather bland on me, Clear/Bright Spring -Grey and hot pink are a definite no-no! However I can and do wear all the colours listed in the Paintbox Spring category - bingo!

Sandra Stein on Dec 13, 2018 8:58 AM


I'm a bright ..more on the spring side. The thing is that I'm 66 yo, my hair used to be medium brown but am now over 50% white. I'm wondering if my age changes my color swatches.

Kettlewell Colours: We wrote a blog post about this a while back which might help.


Dyann on Feb 12, 2018 4:15 AM

Hello, I've thought of myself as a spring. I have dark blue eyes with a light brown around the iras. Brown hair with golden tone. My foundation is bisk verses ivory.my best colors are off white and tans, even burgundy and periwinkle. Do you think I'm s type of spring?

Kettlewell Colours: Apart from burgundy, all your favourite colours definitely sound very Spring-like!

Cara on Jan 25, 2018 10:22 PM

This is great. Warm/Paint box sounds good. Kate, you sound like a clear winter! Think megan fox...beautiful coloring.

joan kosmachuk on Nov 11, 2017 2:12 AM

The problem with this approach is the mixing of a person's Seasonal reference with a pre-determined set of colors. While Spring colors can be generalized as being tinted with white, each person's coloring is unique and therefore a true Seasonal color analysis based on the method shared by Suzanne Caygill will create a personalized palette unique to that person -- not hand them a preselected palette. Even with two springs with the same color palette, one may have a particular color as a dramatic and it could be another Spring's quiet color. I was put in a Spring box for years and it didn't feel right. Turns out the Seasonal designation of Spring was correct. But the boxed set of colors was not.

Elizabeth Stewart on Jul 01, 2017 2:55 PM

My consultant told me I am a Paintbox Spring. I've never heard of that type in other systems so it must be unique to House of Colour. But I must admit it absolutely works for me and I love these colours.

Anne deeney on Jun 22, 2017 1:08 PM

Warm autumn can I wear Cobalt? Thanks

kate on May 29, 2017 8:06 AM

no analyst in my vicinity! Shame as I still cannot work out my colours - black hair, pale skin except when I catch the sun and turn 40 shades of brown and light green eyes! Any comments (other than try a bag over the head) would be valued...

Erin on Apr 18, 2017 9:58 PM

Wow, I think I am Paintbox Spring! Thank you for recognizing that coloring in people. I would love to learn more about this season.

Mary on Apr 18, 2017 1:54 AM

My color analyst distinguishes between light spring, true spring, warm spring and bright spring. I guess that means that a true spring would be brighter and warmer than a light spring but not as warm as a warm spring?

Andrea Walduck on Mar 02, 2017 10:32 AM

I have been analysed as both Spring, Summer, Soft, Soft and muted and Soft and cool and Light and cool. I have tried your test and the results have been Spring or Summer. One colour analyst said that I was the hardest person that she had worked with! Which to choose?

Lou on Sep 21, 2016 12:27 PM

I guess I'm a paintbox Spring. I've been analysed as both Winter and Spring, and come up as Autumn on your quick quiz...it's those brights that confuse, I think...best colour ever...soft teal.

Liz on Jul 24, 2016 4:18 PM

I'm a paintbox spring but can also wear some of the true spring colors (except for the yellows). Is there a facebook group for springs?

Christabel on Jun 19, 2016 9:17 PM

Hadn't heard of Paintbox Spring before, but it feels like me more accurately than the others. What are the best neutrals for Paintbox Spring please?

Barbara Hall on Jun 19, 2016 6:06 PM

I can't wait for the Autumn blog to refine my palette of colours.

Fiona on Jun 16, 2016 9:41 AM

I'm a 'paintbox spring', it's great to get a reminder of my best colours.

Carolyn on Jun 15, 2016 2:42 PM

Thanks so much for discussing this aspect of seasonal colours. I'm a clear spring and often have difficulty finding good colour combinations, your analysis has helped me a lot. Love your stuff!

Jodie Maurer on Jun 13, 2016 2:19 AM

I love Kettlewell so much! Great post and cannot wait for the rest of the season 'type' details. Just a thought, could you put an example photo of a person who is representative of each different 'type' per season?

Christine Brocklehurst on Jun 12, 2016 3:48 PM

I'm fascinated by the different categories within the colour seasons, and like other comments above, now understand my 'blue spring'. I had my colours redone with HoC about 10 years ago when my hair colour started turning from a light auburn to grey, and my skin colour had aged etc. It really enforced what looked good on me at that age. Am intrigued to see colour types in other seasons, especially as my sister is an Autumn leaf!

Pamela on Jun 11, 2016 8:19 AM

I'm based in Fleet, Hants. Only had the full analysis 2 years ago ( when I lived in another part of the country and I had a head full of blonde highlights )

Ania on Jun 10, 2016 7:26 PM

Simply love your blog. It's guided me towards some really successful purchases, which everyone comments on. Thank you so much!

Kettlewell Colours on Jun 10, 2016 4:02 PM

Pamela, we would highly recommend a colour analysis update as a good stylist will be able to identify all your best colours now…where are you based? Perhaps we can suggest one

Pamela de Chaumont- Rambert on Jun 10, 2016 11:21 AM

Many years ago, with my natural brown hair, blue/green eyes and warm complexion, I was an Autumn. Then, my grey hair was filled with blonde highlights and I was "Light and delicate". I have now stopped the dyeing and have steel grey hair which I love. I find myself drawn to blues/purples/greys, but do you have any other advice for me?

Shantha on Jun 09, 2016 5:07 PM

I love reading your blog - I can't wait to read your verdict on winter (that's me!) the next four weeks will be have me in deep suspense

Emma Gale on Jun 09, 2016 1:10 PM

A really interesting (and useful) article that contains the information I've been searching for as a Blue Spring! Thank you so much for making the task of choosing from my palette straightforward; I'll be able to shop with additional confidence going forwards.

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