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Choosing a Color Scheme

How to use Color

Whether you choose Duncan, Mayco or Western glazes, it is important to know how colors go together. Choosing the colors for your ceramic project should be an easy matter. But sometimes you need to sit down and think about how your ceramics will look in the room in which you intend them to reside. Today glazes come in a wide variety of colors and textures. Think about color relationships before you add that fushia colored teapot to your Chinese red room. Here are a few basic guidelines to get you started.

The following color charts show the basic colors and their relationship to each other. In addition to the basic colors there are the color characteristics, which are: Hue, Shade and Value. When choosing colors for a project there are many things to consider. Where will the object be placed? What other colors are in the room or area? Should you choose colors to harmonize with the surroundings or contrast? Make your decisions carefully, but don't be afraid to play with colors and shades. The colors you surround yourself with should reflect your personality. Have fun and experiment.

Hue is the actual color, whether primary or secondary.
Shade is the amount of black or white mixed in with the hue to make it lighter or darker.
Value is the intensity of the color. The higher the value the more intense is the final color.










The chart above is a standard color wheel showing the primary colors - red, blue and yellow - and the secondary colors - green, orange and purple, and shades in between.


Primary Colors


Secondary Colors

The charts below show the different choices you have when it comes to choosing colors for a project.


Complementary Colors


Contrasting Colors


Adjacent Colors

Complimentary Colors are colors from the opposite side of the color wheel. Red and green, blue and orange, or yellow and violet are all examples of complimentary colors.
Contrasting Colors are colors with at least three other colors between them. So, blue and yellow have - blue/green, green and green/yellow between them.
Adjacent colors are colors which share a common side of the color wheel. Examples are red, red/violet, and violet or orange, orange/red and red.

Red, yellow, orange and brown are considered warm colors. Blue, purple, green and gray are considered cool colors. Brown and gray are neutral colors. Black and white are also neutrals, but are not considered actual colors. Pale colors are considered to be more feminine, and darker colors more masculine. Strong, vivid colors are dramatic, and natural shades are more tranquil. Decide what look you hope to achieve then choose your color scheme to match.

First decide whether you will use colors that are complementary, contrasting or adjacent to one another.
Here are a few examples:

Most people agree that peach and blue go well together, these colors are complementary, as are green and pink - think mint green and pale pink.
Blue and yellow are contrasting colors that go well together. They are best when one color is dominant, blue for instance, as your main shade with the yellow as an accent or vice-versa.
Some people love purple/violet mixed with red-violet and red shades, or red with red-orange and orange shades, these colors are adjacent one another on the color wheel and while some people find these mixtures jarring, they can be quite effective for a dramatic or opulent look.
One other choice is a mono-chromatic color scheme where you have one color only in varying shades from deep to very pale with perhaps white, black or grey - imagine a room done in Wedgewood blue and white for instance.

You decide what colors you feel most comfortable with and proceed from there.

Use our Search feature to find the Duncan, Mayco or Western glaze that is right for your project!

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