Do you remember the Color Me Beautiful book (there were was an entire line of books!) that became popular in the 90’s? Millions of women experienced breakthroughs in their personal style and makeup as they discovered the colors and clothes that would look best on them and avoided things that made them look drab and washed out.
Have you ever hired a personal stylist or had a professional makeup artist apply your makeup for a special event? They have a way of pulling out your best features in a way you and I don’t seem to do with our mirror and bag of cosmetics (at least I can’t!)
I think of business styling just like I think about a personal stylist.
You’d call a personal stylist in to help you make the most of your wardrobe or help you pick out clothes, colors, designs and fashions that you will shine in. The personal stylist would probably look through what you have, check out your features, colors and body type and find out a little bit more about your personality: what you like and don’t like, what makes you feel great and what fashions you’ve always wanted to try but felt like it was “too much.”
Quick reminder: each business has a personality and that personality will fit predominantly (there are always nuances) into one of the four seasonal categories. To the extent that you can express your business within the creative boundaries of that season is the extent to which you can create a strong emotional connection with your customers (and they to you).
We always want to be seeking to connect with the people who we can serve the best and who want and need to work with us and/or buy from us. Business is a symbiotic relationship; it’s not one sided where one person gets and the other does all the giving. The best business relationships are where both parties know they are getting a great deal.
That illustration is a great segue way into talking about the autumn personality. The autumn personality, more than all the other seasonal personalities is motivated externally by other people and is very curious about other people. The curiosity goes beyond speculation; this person genuinely wants to know more and know a lot about someone else or someone else. They are. all. in.
As Angela Wright points out in her brilliant book, An Introduction into Color Psychology, autumn personalities in the working world often find a lot of joy in careers where they can dig deep such as a psychologist or a investigative journalist or any branch of work that allows them to focus deep. They love people and animals and big dinner parties that aren’t terribly formal.
Autumn personalities are the least likely to want to impress you with their outer appearance. Physically, they often have thick hair and don’t mind it going a bit crazy (a blowout is nice, but not essential in compared with studying or learning something new). They’re the most likely to wear gorgeous bold pieces of mixed media jewelry, big boots and will sport a bohemian style that seems effortless on them.
They’re readers and seekers, often embracing the underdog and the cause of their choice quite passionately. They’re fairly open minded and will change their minds if you can persuade them to see you side of view. They are stubborn and determined, but not obstinate. Because they love people with such intensity, traditions in family and friend circles may be more important to them.
They love their surroundings to be warm and cozy with book shelves filled with books and hard wood floors with an impromptu throw rug thrown down. An autumn personality will love a stomp through the park with you. They’re the most likely to invite you to dinner spontaneously without too much fuss about deep cleaning. Isn’t that what closets are for? Throw the mess behind closed doors, light a few candles and pour drinks. What is important is sharing food and conversation with friends. The autumn personality may often dream of leaving their daily lives for a bit of a retreat somewhere where the crowds are a bit more sparse for refreshment. Open space and freedom is important to the autumn personality. A retreat to the cabin in to the woods for a weekend with a pile of books will be delightful but as soon as they are recharged, they are out and about with people again.
Autumn personalities are very industrious. Just like we all get that burst of energy when the summer fades away and routine settles back in, the autumn personality is goal oriented and energetic, not afraid of getting their hands dirty and getting down to business.
The Characteristics of an Autumn Based Brand
What does the autumn business look like? Apply the above descriptions to the business and you have an idea! Any business in particular come to your mind? Maybe yours?
The feeling of autumn is a mixture of intense industry and glorious abundance. The lazy days of summer come to an end, the vacation pictures are put away and we return to work, school and a sense of routine. Many of us delight in this time of year, getting a fresh burst of energy to tackle on the final projects before the holidays come and year’s end.
In a business, the autumnal personality is expressed with an intense interest in the customer and an energy in producing a service or product that works just right. Quality is important and the autumnal business will charge for the quality because they know their value and the expertise behind it (that might be something the business owner needs to work into if they have a hard time raising prices!).
The other side of the industriousness is the celebratory sense as we have one last hurray before winter weather. Consider nature’s example, not only in the brilliance of fall foliage but also the autumn harvest: orange pumpkins, warm colored gourds, deep yellow butternut squash. Likewise the autumn business has a celebratory and rich abundance in their personality. People love to do with business there and they refer their friends; they feel at home and well cared for by the autumn business, like they are one of the family.
The words used to describe autumn include: industry, productive, energetic, harvest, abundance, decadent, rich, brisk, traditional, family, warm, intense, curious, imaginative, maturity, earthy, substance, lively.
The energy of autumn is energetic, curious and a bit restless. This is a business personality that loves the deep dive, who is externally motivated by the people around them and wants to right the wrongs in their corner of the world. Yet the desire to do good is also tempered with a dose of reality. Autumn businesses (and people) don’t mind rolling up their sleeves and getting a bit dirty to get the job done.
The colors of autumn: warm and muted with a heaviness to them. While spring colors are warm and light with a clarity to them, autumn colors are muted with warmth to them. Of all the seasons, autumn has the widest spectrum of colors to choose from.
Colors range from the classic autumn: dark red apples, burnt orange and cinnamon leaves, dark sap green foliage and deep yellow sunflowers and a deep warm purple. Colors may be described as moody with the (warm) navy blues and deep purples, teals, warm pinks, rust, mustard/yellow ochre, poppy, warm burgundy.
Foundation colors include chestnut brown, taupe, a very dark brown (but never black), deep navy blues (a warm blue, not the cool navy that goes in summer) , cinnamon brown and tan. There are lots of luscious browns in the autumn palette, so, so pretty.
The shapes of autumn will be understated, traditional, noticeable but without the flowing script of summer or buoyancy of spring. Lines are rounded off, perhaps with gentle edges. Autumn is earthy so there may be a texture to the shapes. Note: Fiona Humberstone does an excellent job of describing the way different seasons spring forth in a logo. You can buy her bo0k on Amazon.
The logo of autumn will look more simple than the flowing, elegant summer icon or the bold, decisive winter icon. A well done autumn logo will reflect the down-to-earth trustworthiness and warmth of an autumn brand.
Examples of autumn brands include non profits, professional services such as accountants, business coaches, engineering firms, teachers and many associations. Many restaurants would fall under an autumn personality (no pun intended) as well as anything to do with research, investigation, psychology, journalists, medical researchers and so forth.
More creative businesses may include family and senior photographers, natural skin care and earth-friendly cosmetics, personalized greeting cards and paper companies, jewelry designers, florists, folk artists, the artisan cheese maker, pastry chef, etc.
Belong Magazine (pictured in the top picture) had a lovely autumnal cover this quarter. Even the theme of the magazine this month- hospitality – is a autumnal trait.
In the creative realm, creative businesses could be under many of the seasonal archetypes. It all comes back to who you are as a business and what your values are and what you’re trying to change in the world. It all starts with the deep dive.
Does your business have a dominant autumn personality? How are you expressing who your business is through your design in your marketing?
I hope this series on the Snapshots of a Season are helpful as you style your business brand. It’s so important to put our best face forward and getting our colors and ‘fashion’ right for our business has a powerful affect on our influence and growth in the marketplace. You can see the Spring Season Snapshot here.
I’ll be sending out a one page pdf, “A Seasonal Snapshot: Autumn” in the newsletters in this month. This lovely graphic is easy to print and keep as a reference to when you design and write with your brand in mind. Sign up for the newsletter and receive your copy soon.