The range of colours which could be used on pots was restricted by the technology of firing: white, red, and black.
The fully mature black-figure technique, with added red and white details and incising for outlines and details, originated in Corinth during the early 7th century BC and was introduced into Attica about a generation later; it flourished until the end of the 6th century BC.
The red-figure technique, invented in about 530 BC, reversed this tradition, with the pots being painted black and the figures painted in red. Red-figure vases slowly replaced the black-figure style. Sometimes larger vessels were engraved as well as painted.
White-ground pottery was a product of the fifth century at which time archaic stiffness, also evident in sculpture, gradually gave way to the freer, more natural, classical style. In white-ground technique the ground is painted white and the figures in ochre and black.