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Monday, March 17, 2014

Color Bias - Choosing The Right "Primary" Colors

Now that you've all been schooled on the basics of color theory...the fun can begin!!!

First let me say, that I am a HUGE fan of Americolor food colors.  Why, you ask?  Well, they are readily available in my area, they don't break the bank and they come in MANY colors.  Colors make life fun and you can never have too many colors.  NEVER!!! 



However, there is something that bothers me about all brands of food colors.  Have you ever picked up a bottle and added the color to your icing, only to find out that it doesn't look like the swatch or color listed? Colors aren't always what they seem and that can cause frustration and wasted icing.  I thought it would be helpful, if I painted a swatch of each color to show you what the color looks like inside the bottle.         



Now onto the topic of the week!!!  Awhile back, I mentioned that sometimes our secondary colors look vibrant and sometimes they look muddy.  The secret mystery to mixing the perfect color is called "Color Bias".  If you haven't heard it before, you will be thanking me later...trust me.



Each of our "primary" colors (red, yellow and blue) will lean toward one of the secondary colors (orange, green and violet) that is to the left or right of that "primary" on the color wheel.  Red will either be red-violet or red-orange.  Yellow will either be yellow-orange or yellow-green.  Blue with either be blue-green or blue-violet.   The triangle on the color bias wheel (below), shows where the "primary" colors would be located on the traditional color wheel. 

Color Bias Wheel (Primaries) - Clockwise:  Xmas Red (Red-Violet),
Tulip Red (Red-Orange), Egg Yellow (Yellow-Orange), 

Lemon Yellow (Yellow-Green), Sky Blue (Blue-Green), 
Navy Blue (Blue-Violet


Red-orange (red + orange) for example, is made up of only two "primary" colors which is red and yellow (red + yellow = orange).  This formula is true for each color bias (primary + secondary = tertiary).  If we were to add a blue-green or a blue-violet to that red-orange, we would get a muddy color. This happens because orange (red + yellow) and blue are complementary colors.  They will always produce a neutral color, such as brown or grey because you are adding all three "primary" colors together.  What happens if we mix two colors that have the same color name in the mix, such as red-violet and a blue-violet?  We would get a beautiful violet of course!!!  Red-violet and blue-violet both carry violet (blue + red) as a dominant color.  Here is a helpful chart to help remind you which colors are complementary.  Remember...complementary colors produce neutrals, not vibrant colors.   



Now, all you need to do is recognize what color bias our "primary" food colors lean towards and you'll get beautiful colors...every time. I took the liberty of making a chart for you, so you don't have to do any guesswork (you are very welcome:)    This chart will be your BFF for when you mix your icing.  Remember to use the colors with the same name for a vibrant color (Red-Orange and Yellow Orange = Vibrant Orange).


 



I mixed up some icing swatches using our "primary" food colors (shown in chart above) to show you how color bias works.  I had so much fun mixing these colors...for I am such a nerd!!!  Each secondary (orange, green, violet) color sample uses two "primary" colors.  Take notice to which colors are vibrant, dull and neutral. 

Orange (Red + Yellow)

"Primary" Lemon Yellow mixed with "primary" reds
(1) Super Red  (2) Red Red  (3) Tulip Red
(4) Xmas Red  (5) Holiday Red  (6) Burgundy
 
"Primary" Electric Yellow mixed with "primary" reds
(7) Super Red  (8) Red Red  (9) Tulip Red
(10) Xmas Red  (11) Holiday Red  (12) Burgundy
"Primary" Egg Yellow mixed with "primary" reds
(13) Super Red  (14) Red Red  (15) Tulip Red
(16) Xmas Red  (17) Holiday Red (18) Burgundy
"Primary" Gold mixed with "primary" reds
(19) Super Red  (20) Red Red  (21) Tulip Red
(22) Xmas Red  (23) Holiday Red  (24) Burgundy

Green (Yellow + Blue)

"Primary" Royal Blue mixed with "primary" yellows
(1) Lemon Yellow  (2) Electric Yellow  (3) Egg Yellow
(4) Gold
"Primary" Electric Blue mixed with "primary" yellows
(5) Lemon Yellow  (6) Electric Yellow  (7) Egg Yellow
(8) Gold
"Primary" Sky Blue mixed with "primary" yellows
(9) Lemon Yellow  (10) Electric Yellow  (11) Egg Yellow
(12) Gold
"Primary" Navy Blue mixed with "primary" yellows
(13) Lemon Yellow  (14) Electric Yellow  (15) Egg Yellow
(16) Gold

Violet (Red + Blue)

"Primary" Royal Blue mixed with "primary" reds
(1) Super Red  (2) Red Red  (3) Tulip Red
(4) Xmas Red  (5) Holiday Red  (6) Burgundy
 
"Primary" Electric Blue mixed with "primary" reds
(7) Super Red  (8) Red Red  (9) Tulip Red
(10) Xmas Red  (11) Holiday Red  (12) Burgundy
"Primary" Sky Blue mixed with "primary" reds
(13) Super Red  (14) Red Red  (15) Tulip Red
(16) Xmas Red  (17) Holiday Red  (18) Burgundy
"Primary" Navy Blue mixed with "primary" reds
(19) Super Red  (20) Red Red  (21) Tulip Red
(22) Xmas Red  (23) Holiday Red  (24) Burgundy


Pretty cool...right?

I used equal parts of each "primary" color using a dropper, but you can make the colors lighter or darker by adding more or less food coloring.  Now that you know about color bias and how to use it, you can make every color imaginable!!!  

I can't wait to show you all the fabulous colors that you can create with your food colors.  More icing experiments to come...so be sure to stop back and check them out!!!

Have a wonderful and colorful week:)













33 comments:

  1. I LOVE YOU!!! This is so helpful! I am actually learning......really learning. Thank you sweet lady!

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    1. Awww...thank you Tami!!! I am glad you liked it...and most importantly...understood it;)

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  2. Wow! Well, that explains a lot! Thanks Rebecca for making the world a better and more colorful place. (And saving me a LOT of wasted time and icing!)

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    1. You are so very welcome Sarah! Back when we will little...our fingerpaints didn't always look pretty either. We were just too young to question it to our teachers...LOL;)

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  3. Oh my gosh!! This is insanely awesome!!! Totally bookmarking this blog post for future reference!! Thank you!!

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  4. Love it! Thanks so much for mixing these all up so we could see the beautiful variety of colors possible. Brilliant work! ♥

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    1. Thank you Pam!!! I could mix colors all day long...for I can't get enough of it.

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  5. Perfect! And I love that you give so many actual examples! Thank you!

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    1. Thank you Morgan! More sample to come:)

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  6. You have absolutely no idea how much you just helped me! I just love you!! This is fantastic!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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    1. You are welcome, welcome, welcome Colleen!

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  7. If only you could be in my kitchen when I needed colors...it's my least favorite part of decorating! This is really great. Thanks Rebekah!

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    1. Thank you Melissa! It is one of my favorite things to do when it comes to cookies...so anytime you need me...just holler!

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  8. Oh my gosh I love this! I've been trying to mix cookies using the color wheel. I've gotten as far as knowing how to balance out colors if one it's too dominant. Like blue balancing out orange. I never would have known that super red is actually a red orange. I thought it is red purple! And I thought Christmas red is a red orange...totally changed how I mix colors! I'm going to be using this article as a reference from now on!

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    1. YAY Donna!!! I know the bottle labels can be misleading, which is why I painted them on paper. If you look at the "watercolor" chart the color is different painted than it looks when we add it to our icing.

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  9. How do you determine the color bias for a particular color? As I said previously, to me the Christmas red looks like it has an orange bias so I don't think I could tell what the bias is just by looking at the color. I have trouble with the cookies brown, pink, and purple. How could I determine on my own what the bias is for Regal Purple? Thank you for any help with this!

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    1. I think that you could probably determine bias by using this trick Lilaloa talks about in this post -> http://www.lilaloa.com/2012/08/lets-talk-about-hue-color-experiment.html :) Belle.

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    2. Donna, the color bias I refer to in this blog really only applies to "primary" colors and how to mix your secondary and territory colors properly using this method. Regal Purple is Violet (a secondary color) and is a mix of blue and red. It won't lean towards another color. I will be doing these experiments with all the colors, so you will know where the colors lie on the wheel. Using a tertiary color (primary + secondary) such as Turquoise for example, is color bias because it is a mix of blue and green. Stay tuned for a better explanation!!!

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  10. This is AMAZING! Over Christmas I wanted a Raspberry Redish pink.... So I mixed a red and a pink and kept getting a weird orange shade. I now see because I think both colours had a bias to orange and I needed at least the red to have a violet bias. It's been a true light bulb moment, you do not want to know how much icing was washed down the sink! Thank you!

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    1. Thank you Bella!!! You got that right...using Holiday Red or Xmas Red with a pink would have given you what you needed:) I will be doing experiments with pink soon!

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  11. Wow!! That is exactly what I needed! Thank you!

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  12. Hi Rebekah! You have done a fantastic job explaining color bias and how to achieve the icing colors we desire. I love the cookie color bias wheel and the icing swatches! I look forward to learning more about color through your future post. Thanks for all of your efforts in creating a very informative and helpful blog to make figuring out and creating perfect colors so much easier!

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    1. Thank you Dana!!! I am here to help you in any way I can.

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  13. Hi Again Rebekah! May I have your permission to make a copy of your Americolor Watercolor Swatch Chart and Americolor Color Bias Chart to use as a reference?

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    1. Thank you so much! I will be checking back here often, to see whats new. I love what you have done so far! Very helpful!

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  14. This post was amazing. I always have trouble getting the color that I want and now I know why. Thank you!

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    1. You're welcome Sara and thank you for being a follower of my post!

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  15. WOW!!!! This information is so helpful and I'm awed at how much you know about color! It's fun reading about how you're achieving the colors and I LOVE that you're giving us examples. Pinning this right now so I always have it handy! :) Thank you for doing all of this work...it helps so much!

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  16. Çok güzel bir çalışma yapmışsınız. Harika bir yazı. Elinize ve emeğinize sağlık. Teşekkür ederim.

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