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How Color Notation Works

Here’s How Munsell Color Theory Works…

Munsell color order system is based on a three-dimensional model depicted in the Munsell color tree. Each color has three qualities or attributes:

  1. Hue – color such as red, orange, yellow, etc.
  2. Value – the lightness or darkness of a color
  3. Chroma – the saturation or brilliance of a color

Hue, value and chroma are also referred to as (HVC)

Munsell Color Theory is based on a three-dimensional model in which each color is comprised of three attributes of hue (color itself), value (lightness/darkness) and chroma (color saturation or brilliance)

The Munsell Color system is set up as a numerical scale with visually uniform steps for each of the three color attributes—in Munsell color notation, each color has a logical and visual relationship to all other colors.

A Dictionary of Color Terms

These definitions, taken from the Munsell Manual of Color, were originally published in 1929. Learning the meaning behind color terms, will help to better understand how the color system works.          ABSOLUTE BLACK A color of the lowest … Continue reading

The Munsell color hue circle - a circle of red, yellow, green, blue, and purple

Munsell Hue

Munsell Hue

Is a color red, green, blue or something in between? That’s the color attribute called hue. Learn how the Munsell system organizes hues in a natural order. Hint: Think of the colors of a rainbow… Continue reading

Diagram in red and blue showing the Munsell Color Value

Munsell Value

Munsell Value

Is a color light or dark? The lightness or darkness are referred to as value in the Munsell Color Notation System. On a scale of 0 to 10, where would white fall? Find out… Continue reading

A chart of the Munsell Color Tree showing Chroma

Munsell Chroma

Munsell Chroma

How bright or vibrant is the color? The Munsell Color Notation System refers to this attribute as chroma. Just how vibrant can color get? Learn more… Continue reading

Hue Circle Comparison showing two circles of colors in primary and standard

Munsell Hue Circle Comparison

The Hue Circle Comparison is like the latitude and longitude coordinates on a map. Learn how Munsell divided the hue circle into segments to make it easier for students to “locate” each color… Continue reading

How to Read a Munsell Color Chart

The Munsell color system is a means to visually identify and match color using a scientific approach. Albert Munsell was both a scientific thinker and an artist who wanted artists and scientists to have a system that made it easy … Continue reading