Tonal directions and seasonal analysis
Here at Kettlewell we talk in terms of seasonal palettes - Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, and within that the seasonal sub-types of each season. But if you've had your colours analysed using what is known as a 'tonal directions' system rather than a seasonal analysis, you might be feeling a little bit lost with our seasonal approach.
And we want everyone to be able to access colours in their very best palette, so we've created a full translation guide to help you understand how tonal directions translates into a seasonal system, as well as showing you which Kettlewell shades will work best for your tonal directions palette.
Most colour analysis systems - including the two UK big names in the industry, House of Colour and Colour Me Beautiful, alongside numerous independent consultants and global systems - use broadly similar divisions between colour palettes. The difference between a tonal directions system (such as Colour Me Beautiful's) and a seasonal one (as used by House of Colour) is not so much in the actual palettes but more the different names of those palettes and the way they are seen to relate to one another.
As an aside, the seasonal system might at first glance appear to only have four palettes, but the sub-types within each season bring it up to a full 12 - you can read more about the four seasons and their sub-types in this blog post. The tonal system used by Colour Me Beautiful has 24 possible palettes.
Today I want to focus firmly on the tonal directions system, and how it translates to the seasonal system that we more commonly use at Kettlewell, to help you switch easily between the two.
What is the tonal directions system?
If you have a colour analysis under a tonal directions process, you will be assigned one of six tonal directions - Warm, Cool, Light, Deep, Clear and Soft - as a dominant seasonal attribute, based on your hair colour, skin tone and eye colour, and then with further analysis one as a secondary attribute (and also a tertiary attribute, but for the purposes of this article we are ignoring the tertiary as we end up with too many palette variations for us to reasonably cover every single possible combination of tonal directions right here). For instance, you might be assigned Light as your primary tonal direction, with Soft as a secondary one. Your primary tonal direction is always first when describing your palette, so in this example you would be described as 'Light and Soft' with Light as the primary and Soft as the secondary signifier.
The tonal directions work together to dictate your personal colour palette. But what do they mean, and how do they translate into our seasonal palette and sub-type system? To read more about each of the six tonal directions and which seasonal palettes they relate to when linked to their secondary signifiers, click on the links below.
Please remember that translations from tonal to seasonal systems (or indeed, between different versions of the seasonal system) may differ because every system is very slightly different and uses fractionally different colour groupings. However, these differences are small, and we're confident that our seasonal coding and tonal directions translations are as accurate as it's possible to be and work with every single analysis system we've come across.
No time to read six posts? Here's our 6 step cheat sheet guide for converting tonal directions palettes to our seasonal system when looking at colours on the website (when looking at any product, hold your cursor over the colour swatch to see which seasons we assign it to):
- Light? Look for colours that we assign to both Springs and Summers
- Deep? Look for colours that we assign to both Autumns and Winters
- Cool? Look for colours that we assign to both Summers and Winters
- Warm? Look for colours that we assign to both Springs and Autumns
- Clear? Look for colours that we assign to both Springs and Winters
- Soft? Look for colours that we assign to both Summers and Autumns