Fashion Magazine

How to Identify the Undertone of Colours

By Imogenl @ImogenLamport

I’ve been asked recently to chat more about how to identify the undertone of colours

Look at the Colour Wheel

Overtone vs Undertone

Understanding how to choose the undertone of colourUnderstanding how to choose the undertone of colour

Colour Overtone

The overtone is the overt colour you see – we label warm overtone colours (yellow, orange, red, pink) as warm because they remind us of things that are warm such as the sun, a fire, heater etc..  We label cool overtone colours (blue, green violet) as cool, because they remind us of things that are cooler – water, cool forests, nighttime.

The Undertone of Colours

The undertone of a colour is how it’s created – what is mixed.

  • Blue is cool
  • Yellow is warm

So colours that have more yellow in them (even if it’s blue) become warm undertone.

Colours that have more blue in them (even if they are warm overtone – such as red) become cool undertone.

The closer a colour is to the colour wheel to yellow, generally the more naturally warm it becomes.

The closer a colour is on the colour wheel to blue, it’s generally more cool.

So what about red which is equidistant from blue and yellow?  Add a smidge of yellow and it becomes warm, add a smidge of blue and it becomes cool.

Black and White are both cool, so adding white or black can make a cooler version of a colour (but may not change its undertone compeltely.

Want to see examples of the undertone of different colours?  Check out these posts:

Undertone of brown

Undertone of blue

Undertone of red and burgundy

Undertone of purple

Undertone of yellow

Undertone of pink

Undertone of green

Undertone of grey

Want to discover the colour palette that suits you best?  Get an online personal colour analysis here.  Or if you want to also get the full style education and get all your colour and style fundamentals sorted, you can get your colour analysis as part of my 7 Steps to Style program

More Colour Tips Here

How to Pick the Undertone of a Colour

Understanding Warm and Muted Colours

How to Choose the Right Metallic for Your Palette

how to identify the undertone of colourshow to identify the undertone of colours


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