Gifts in Color



We look to Mother Nature as she truly is the best color instructor.

Giving a gift is an act of kindness-one that should be enjoyed by both recipient and the giver. We have all had the experience of opening a gift and feeling that rush of pleasure especially if that gift is in a favorite color. But how do we know what colors will evoke an emotional connection? The answer is that we look to Mother Nature as she truly is the best color instructor.

Nature’s colors do appear to vary during the course of a day, because of changing light in the atmosphere, forming various “palettes.” In the earliest hours, a dewy “wetness” permeates the atmosphere. The natural elements of water and air are a strong influence on the predominantly cool blue undertones of what is called the “Sunrise Colortime” palette. This palette literally sparkles with jewel tones such as amethyst, emerald, royal blue and turquoise. There are some warm colors included, but they are pure and cooled down, like sparkling Chardonnay or luscious berries.


At the opposite extreme, is the Sunset Colortime palette. This is the time of day when colors take on a golden, mellow, “drier” quality, eventually exploding into the fiery colors of Sunset. The natural elements of fire and earth light up this palette with festive reds, glowing ambers, hazy magentas and vibrant corals. Zesty pesto greens and periwinkle blues add a tasteful touch.


Nestled between Sunrise and Sunset is the Sunlight Colortime palette. These are the hours that the sun shines at its brightest, rendering the colors it lights on a bit more muted and sun drenched. All of the natural elements are represented here, with “natural” a key word as all shadings are subtle. Think delicious shades of grape, peach, strawberry and bisque, balanced by placid blues and willow greens.

Don-Boat-w-Fish-D-Paulson_192.jpgMother Nature also provides a group of colors that are found frequently in nature, so that our eyes are accustomed to seeing them in combination with many other colors. There are 18 of these Crossover Colors" , as they are called, among them, the black of night, sandy beach beige, stone gray and the ubiquitous signal color, true red. Within this palette are also the colors that have grown to symbolize the concept of “sustainability”. This eco-awareness theme rings true for so many people today as it speaks to the preservation of earth reflected symbolically in the rich browns, tans and taupes. The purity of water is expressed both in the sky and ocean depth blues, while the need for solar energy is represented by sunny yellow. And most importantly is pineneedle green, the color most connected to the preservation of nature.

Taking a bit of extra time and thinking about the personal coloring of the gift recipient can be a vital clue to your success in gift selection as most people tend to prefer colors that blend with their natural coloring. For example, have you noticed that redheads, people with golden blonde or brown hair with amber brown eyes invariably gravitate to earthtones? They are the golden Sunsets. People with really dark, silver or silvery blonde hair with really dark eyes or cool blue eyes prefer cooler shades. They are the sparkling Sunrises. Then there are those “in between”, often with a variety of different shades in their hair or and changeable eye colors that seem to be like chameleons changing with every color they wear. They are the subtle Sunlights.

Try to use these colorful guidelines the next time you purchase a gift and watch the “giftee’s” eyes really light up!

Written by Leatrice Eiseman, international color guru, color consultant to many industries, color forecaster and seminar speaker. She is the author of seven books on color, including Color Messages and Meanings and More Alive with Color. Visit her websites at, and