Subject Material

Finding Your Personal Colours

Published: 08.04.2010, Updated: 03.03.2017

In the natural world, every plant, bird, animal or insect has a specific colour. (Though some animals, e.g. the chameleon, can change their colour under certain circumstances). Human beings are the only species to wear clothes and use makeup. This enables us to choose our colours more freely.
On an everyday basis, we ask ourselves, "What colour lipstick suits me?" or "Which blouse or shirt shall I wear today?" Do you feel confident that you know which colours suit you?

Note down which colours you like to wear and then tell a partner why.


Make sure you understand these words before you read the text. Use the dictionary in the link collection to look up new words:

  1. enable
  2. distinguish
  3. enhance
  4. bright
  5. gaiety
  6. witty
  7. graceful
  8. complexion
  9. pale
  10. tint
  11. shade
  12. rebellious
  13. jewel
  14. reject


Your personal colours 

When we take a look at ourselves in the mirror, most of us will be able to distinguish a becoming colour on a blouse from an unbecoming one. Good friends can, of course, also give us advice on what to wear. However, it helps to know more about your personal palette of colours in order to dress in colours which will enhance particular aspects of your personality.

The colour classification of people into four personality types, related to the four seasons, has been well known for some time. The colour of your eyes, hair and skin is the basis for deciding which main colour group you belong to. Most of us will probably feel that we are a mixture of two seasons; for example, many Scandinavians are a mixture of Summer and Spring.


Spring coloursSpring colours

The return of light and warmth characterises Spring. The colours in the Spring palette are mainly primary colours and their tints: light and clear colours. There are no dark colours in this palette. Even the blues are relatively bright and warm. Typical colours are: coral, scarlet, peach, sunshine yellow, emerald green, apple green, turquoise, cobalt blue, sky blue, lilac and violet.

Spring people are often blue-eyed blondes or light-coloured brunettes. They give an impression of lightness and gaiety, even into old age. The Spring personality is often witty and attractive, but also a bit shy.


Summer coloursSummer colours

The Summer palette has a different quality. Its colours have a high proportion of grey in them, and there are no clear primary colours. The summer colours are cool and calm, elegant and graceful.

Typical colour names here are: rose pink, plum, grapefruit yellow, sage green, bottle green, powder blue, lavender, cool navy blue and oyster.

Summer people tend to be natural "peace-makers", graceful and extremely sensitive, but at the same time strong. Other common characteristics include love of flowers and of the arts, such as painting or playing a musical instrument. Their hair colour ranges from dark blond to brown, and their complexion is light but not pale.


Autumn coloursAutumn Colours

In the Autumn palette, we again find warm colours and an aspect of liveliness. Autumn displays more intensity than the Spring palette, but the colours are mainly shades, not primaries. The names of these shades include: poppy, burnt orange, rust, warm burgundy, warm browns, mustard, butter yellow, leaf green, olive green, forest green, aubergine, blue-grey and peacock.

Autumn personalities appear more earthy and intense than their Spring and Summer cousins. Their hair colour ranges from light brown to bronze, chestnut or dark brown. An Autumn person often communicates well, but can be rebellious at times. Fire and strength characterise the nature of Autumn. Jewels used by an Autumn person will often shine and sparkle.


Winter coloursWinter colours

The Winter palette contains very strong primary colours and forceful contrasts between pure hues. This palette includes no soft tones, and is the only one of the four palettes which contains white and black. Names of Winter colours include: magenta, crimson, pillar-box red, shocking pink, lemon yellow, cold orange, pistachio green, royal blue, ice blue, indigo, royal purple. Black, white and silver-grey are supportive neutrals.

Winter people are usually dark-or grey-haired. Their  depth and intensity display entirely different qualities than those of the Autumn people, just as nature's power and energy hide deep inside the earth during Winter. Most Winter people have strong personalities, and some can be very dramatic. Many Winter women reject bright colours, and tend to wear black at any time of the day (or night), with only touches of royal blue, white or sometimes rich red.


Tasks and Activities




Find the Colour Words

In the text, find the English words describing a particular colour which are equivalent to these Norwegian terms.

sennepsgul, flaske grønn, turkis, purpur, kongeblå, smaragd grønn, skarlagenrød, kastanje, postkasse rød, karmosinrød, påfugl farge, valmue farge.


mustard, bottle green, turquoise, purple, royal blue, emerald green, scarlet, chestnut, pillar-box red, crimson, peacock, poppy



Discuss in Pairs

  1. What determines which colour group you belong to?
  2. Can you find one example of a Spring, a Summer, an Autumn and a Winter person in your class?
  3. Discuss which main type (season) you belong to.
  4. Which type(s) would you say Michelle Obama, Nicole Kidman and Princess Märtha Louise belong to?