Munsell Color System; Color Matching from Munsell Color Company > Munsell FAQs > Why Did the Soil Color Book Cover Change?

Why Did the Soil Color Book Cover Change?

The new Munsell Soil Book with the blue cover

The Munsell Soil Color Book has seen its share of changes over the years. Although it’s look may have been modified, it has continued to provide consistent and reliable classification of soils based on color. Always portable and durable, so users can specify and record soil color anywhere, at any time.











The 1st edition, released in 1954 was a six-ring binder with a dark textured cover.

The 1954 1st edition Munsell Soil Book of Color in a dark paper cover

It was updated in 1971 to a brown vinyl cover.

The brown version of the Munsell Soil Book of Color

In 1975, the cover was changed to blue.

The 1975 edition of the Munsell Soil Book as a 6 ring binder with a bright blue cover

In 1990 the book was revised again with a brown vinyl cover.

Inside cover of the 1990 update to the Munsell Soil Color Book

There were several more revisions in the 90’s (1992, 1994 and 1998), as well as a washable version that came out in 2000.

So why was it updated again in 2009?

It had been many years since we made changes to the Munsell Soil Book. In our efforts to improve the book, we found a new binder process that provides a better end product to the older vinyl book covers we were using. These binders are produced in a process where they are printed and laminated to make them very durable. Since there was printing available with this new process, we took advantage of the opportunity to apply visuals to the book. In the design and layout of the book, we did try to take into account all of the environments the book gets used in, in order to make sure we were not sacrificing function for design.

The new Munsell Soil Color Book showing the brown and blue covers

After releasing this new binder, we received feedback from users that the brown binders were camouflaged and getting lost when being used in the field. We did take this feedback and updated the binder to the blue color that had been previously used for the vinyl version. 

The blue and brown versions of the new Munsell Soil Book Cover