colorDNA has created a colour system through which a person’s colour characteristics can be analysed, classified and determined as a unique colour expression.
Professor Albert Munsell wrote that: “Music is equipped with a system by which it defines sound in terms of pitch, intensity and duration. So should colour be supplied with an appropriate system.”
The Munsell system
Munsell went on to invent a colour system which allows every colour to be identified ‘three dimensionally’, and it is now used globally in areas such as education, science and art.
Humans, however, have a multifarious range of three-dimensional neutral tones, and biological colour characteristic variations and combinations.
The Munsell system alone is not enough to identify and determine a person’s unique colour expression.
Humans require their own multifaceted colour classifying process. A process which includes additional colour and contrast identifiers.
The classification process also needs to consider the organic nature of the aging process, health and lifestyle.
The colorDNA system allows people to analyse themselves as their colouring changes through life.
Colour system research
The quest to create a colour system which can determine human colouring has consumed my life for more than 10 years.
One development led to another, one discovery led to another, each one providing encouragement, energy and the belief to continue.
We researched all areas, which impact the creation of a human colour system.
We discovered the Neil Harbisson human colour wheel.
We came across the Austrian professor, Dr Felix von Luschan, who, in 1897, published a chromatic scale for classifying skin colour, which consisted of 36 opaque glass tiles that were compared to a person’s skin.
The von Luschan scale was used to establish racial classifications of populations according to skin colour.
It was later reproduced into a clear, highly saturated commercial version.
Von Luschan’s scale was used widely throughout the first half of the 20th century in anthropometry and race studies.
However, the results were inconsistent and the von Luschan scale was largely abandoned by the 1950s.
We also discovered the Fitzpatrick scale, a six-category classification developed in 1975 by the American dermatologist, Thomas B Fitzpatrick, as a way to estimate the response of different types of skin to ultraviolet (UV) light.
This scale was never intended to be used as a human skin colour classification. However, it has been reinterpreted into many different skin classification formats by individuals, businesses and organisations – most often incorrectly.
Given there is no scientific alternative, both the von Luschan and Fitzpatrick scales remain a reference for some people as a human skin colour classification scale.
Considering human skin, hair and eyes include a wide range of hues and tones, a standard classification method of comparing skin colours based on a value scale alone is not a plausible method to analyse skin colour.
‘A personal visual assessment is required’.
Seasonal colour theory
The most significant research and development we carried out came from the study and use of the 12-season human colour theory.
For over seven years, I researched and developed colour profiles and palettes using the 12-season colour theory, referencing two main books: ‘Colour Me Beautiful’ and Kathryn Kalisz’s ‘Understanding Your Color’.
They aided me in the process of turning a standard physical human colour analysis into an online human colour analysis and classification process.
The seasonal colour theory of visually analysing humans through a process of colour comparisons is based on the Munsell system and a number of standard colour principles and image consulting techniques.
From 2013 to 2018 we developed and launched our first colour system, which included 12 seasonal websites and personal profiles.
The online system worked from an uploaded photo, and a series of AI colour comparisons and multiple-choice questions. Each person would receive a colour profile and colour palettes.
The colorDNA websites included over 26 full spectrum colour palettes and 30,000 personalised colours.
I processed thousands of mini-Pantone colour swatches into hundreds of thousands of colour palette combinations.
After five years of trialling the 12 seasons colour system, I concluded there were too many limitations and inconsistencies with a system that classifies all people into 12 labelled categories and it provided incomplete colour palettes.
People need their own classification, their own colour expression.
Our development of comprehensive colour palettes highlighted the limitations of the existing system, and helped us identify what was missing and what was required.
Alternative structures and processes started to evolve; it was time to create a new human colour system.
We applied more colour theory and human genetic principles in a more structured and methodical process – generally directed towards our colour palettes.
The more we delved into what was required to cover all human colour characteristics, the more complicated it became.
However, my faith in the process and the outcome never wavered: we had come too far and I knew there was a positive answer to every issue.
We all need a personalised human colour system through which we are able to accurately classify our colour characteristics, and discover the true relationship between our colour expression and juxtaposed colour.
I also know what a great benefit it would be for people to have a personal description and name for their own unique colouring. And not be labelled as black, white, coloured – or something else.
I hope the colorDNA colour system will help change the general narrative around describing human skin colour.
All humans are coloured, just differently.
In 2012, I received encouragement from the Australian Government, which recognised the colorDNA project for such activities as creating a human colour analysis, human colour palettes and human colour profiles.
We were awarded an annual R&D tax incentive grant, which continues today.
We tried many times to secure private investment and venture capital, including wasting tens of thousands of dollars paying people and businesses to write plans, presentations and pitch decks.
What will the system do?
The colorDNA system can determine the colour/s of underlying skin, hair and eye pigmentation.
The system will also determine the level of colour tone and saturation.
It considers any variations within a person’s biological skin, hair and eyes, and how even or uneven the variations are.
It determines the level of contrast between colour characteristics and which colour quality dominates the balance and harmony of a person’s colour expression.
With this information the system will provide the answers to which colours, tones and contrasts look best with a person’s skin, hair and eye colouring.
If we know the full range of colours and tones which match our colour characteristics, we can apply this knowledge to wearing, coordinating and purchasing clothing and make-up.
These colours and tones could also be applied to the environment in which we live, making our daily lives more comfortable and enjoyable.
Personal colour knowledge would help us look and feel better – and if we feel more comfortable, our energy is more positive.
Appearing comfortable, with positive energy, will also make people we interact with more comfortable.
It also means we will make fewer buying mistakes when choosing clothing colours, reducing the number of clothing purchases we need to make.
This will in turn reduce the amount of unworn clothing and clothing wastage by each person in the Western world.
Scientific colour theory
Through a series of human colour profiling articles, I will explain how scientific colour theory is used to classify a person’s colouring and determine their colour expression and colour profile.
In our second series of articles on clothing colour theory, I will demonstrate how individual colour characteristics and a person’s overall colour expression create balance and harmony – or discord – when wearing particular colours, tones and contrasts of clothing and make-up.