The 16 Season Color Analysis System

In February of 2012, I trained to be certified in the new 16 Season Color System developed by Ferial Youakim.  It was very illuminating for me as a Color Analyst. Besides learning about this new system, it helped me understand my ‘old’ 12 season better. I was worried when I had heard about the new system because I thought it might be something totally new, something I couldn’t wrap my head around because I was so entrenched in and such a believer of the 12 season system.

I was very happy to find out it was simply an expansion of the existing system. It was more complete, more accurate and completely common sense.

I've updated my eBook “Color Revival” to include information on the 16 season which is officially called the 4x4 Color System©.

Here’s the "Who-What-Why” on this system:

Who: The 4x4 color system was developed by Certified Image Professional Consultant Ferial Youakim, AICI CIP.

What: The new 16 categories of seasonal color analysis, officially known as the 4x4 Color System© has each of the original 4 seasons (Winter, summer, Autumn and Spring) broken down into 4 sub-categories based on whether the person needs -

  • The purest, most saturated colors for that main season
  • Colors that are slightly lighter than the purest colors (tinted)
  • Colors that are slightly muted with grey (toned)
  • Colors that are slightly deepened with black (shaded)


Ferial found that after studying the 12 season system completely that there was something missing, a grey area that was not addressed. And that what was missing: Grey! She knew that Albert Munsell had described color having the following characteristics: Hue, Chroma, and Value. But the ways a color can be changed included either being tinted with white, toned with grey, or shaded with black, or of course in its most pure and saturated state. The four elements creates 4 seasons and this is how and why the 4x4 system was created.

To better illustrate this, here’s some examples:

Take a straight-from-the-paint-tube Blue and you would have the purest color of blue. Add a touch of white and you have a tinted blue; add a touch of grey and you a toned blue; and add black and you have a shaded blue.

But the same can happen for any color. The picture below shows some great colors for the Autumn seasons.

The first dress on the left is the purest and most saturated for the Autumn season. Keep in mind, though, that by its very nature, the Autumn seasons are already muted. So you have one of the most saturated oranges for an already muted season, which in this case would be suitable for the Warm Autumn. The tinted dress would be suitable for the Soft Autumn Light. The toned dress would be suitable for the Soft Autumn Deep. And the shaded dress is best for the Deep Autumn.

And the most important question: So how does it all play out in real humans? Here’s some celebrity examples to match the theory:

Jayma Mays

Warm Autumn

Pure colors

Gisele Bundchen

Soft Autumn Light


Mariah Carey

Soft Autumn Deep


Eva Larue

Deep Autumn


If you can see the difference in these 4 people then you understand the essence of the 4x4 system.

So what exactly are the 4 additional seasons? They are:

  • TONED WINTER (Winter Soft)
  • TONED SPRING (Spring Soft)
  • TINTED AUTUMN (Soft Autumn Light - the Soft Autumn season was split into two)
  • TONED AUTUMN (Soft Autumn Deep)
  • TONED SUMMER (Soft Summer Light -The Soft Summer season was split into two)
  • SHADED SUMMER (Soft Summer Deep)

Are their swatches that corresponds to these?  Yes! Click here...

More information can be found in my new updated eBook “Color Revival: 3rd Edition” 

Leave the "16 Season color analysis" page for HOME

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