Can you explain the colour PLUM in my Summer swatch?

by Meg
(British Columbia, Canada)

Summer color palette

Summer color palette


Hello Pamela

Thank you for a rich, informative, and educational website.

I've written to Kettlewell Colours with this question (and learned about the company through you) but I think you would be the perfect person to ask (though I didn't want to bother you).

I have a CMB Summer swatchbook from 1994 and a Twelve Tones (Sci/Art) True Summer fan. I've been trying to define the colour "Plum" in the former, feeling that if I had an idea of its dimensions (for instance, in the Munsell system), I could better identify it.

It's one of my very favourite hues, and as I can't wear "brights" or "warms," I treasure its redness. (Plus get many compliments when I wear it.) I'm sure you will know what I'm talking about.

Any information you could give me or how it relates to the Kettlewell colors would be greatly appreciated.

Yours sincerely, Meg in B.C.


Hi Meg

So pleased to hear from you and delighted that you're enjoying the website. Thank you for your kind comments.

I do know exactly what you're talking about and, in the past, I have tried to qualify colors within palettes mainly because I felt that I should be able to point people in the right direction for color matching.

However, I came to realize that color professionals such as garment and color swatch manufacturers, dyers etc. guard their creativity with copyright. It also ensures that they cannot be criticized should there be any variation!
It is possible to match colors exactly with Pantone BUT hugely expensive to purchase color chips.

I finally realized that not only was I chasing the unobtainable but also that I would be doing my visitors a dis-service if I got hung up on this. A color palette is merely a direction and a color swatch should be used as a 'blending tool'. It’s impossible to match a color shade exactly and trying to do so would drive you mad on a shopping trip! It’s far better to use your swatch as a ‘blending tool’ so that you can see when a garment 'fits' in with the overall tones and shades and is doing exactly what it should do for YOU!

'PLUM' on my Summer Color Analysis color swatch is very similar to MULBERRY in the Kettlewell Colours range. Although... don't forget this is either what I see on my monitor or what I see in printed form in a catalogue. Although the color matches from Kettlewell are excellent, there will always be slight variations and of course may be completely different to what you already have in your older CMB swatch. You see the problem!

So my advice would be to enjoy the beautiful shade that generates the compliments. You've found something that you enjoy wearing and looks fabulous. You already know that it's impossible to match it exactly and you obviously know how to choose the best shades for you both up and down the scale while adhering to the Cool and gentle shades of the Summer color swatch.

Continue to enjoy your colors and my main piece of advice would be to TRUST YOUR EYE – you appear to be doing pretty well so far!

Kind regards

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