Munsell Color System; Color Matching from Munsell Color Company > Art & Color > Munsell Color Order System; Why it is the Best

Munsell Color Order System; Why it is the Best

The Munsell Chroma Scale (bottom) served as the "limbs" on Munsell's three-dimensional color tree and complete the sphere in Munsell's three-dimensional color order system.

A.H. Munsell thought of everything when he developed the Munsell Color Order System, including the top ten reasons why it works so well.  So Munsell was not only an artist with latent scientist tendencies, but also a good marketer.   Here is what Munsell referred to as his “Applications and Advantages of the Munsell System.”

Top Ten Advantage of the Color Order System from Munsell

  1. Loose and unrelated color terms are replaced by a definite notation.  (like having a street address vs. a PO Box)
  2. New colors in no way disturb the orderly classification, as a place is already awaiting them. (fits today’s colors and tomorrow’s inspirations… sounds like color Heaven!)
  3. Each color names itself by its degree of hue, value and chroma.  (self-service… now that’s progressive!)
  4. Color may be easily and rapidly specified by direct perceptual comparison. (works the way your eyes do)
  5. Each color can be recorded and transmitted by a simple code. (color communication made easy!)
  6. Color contracts can be drawn and proved by psychophysical tests. (satisfies the legal community)
  7. Color tolerances can be readily and meaningfully expressed. (let’s you have a back-up plan.)
  8. Color grading of many agricultural and industrial products can be readily accomplished. (easily used directly in the field!)
  9. Fading can be defined and plotted at certain intervals, showing its progress in quantitative terms.  (like color GPS!)
  10. Specifications may be re-expressed in terms of the C.I.E. or any related system. (plug n’ play!)

Munsell’s color order system was truly ahead of its time!

Learn about Munsell’s 1st, 2nd, and 3rd dimensions of color: the Munsell Color Wheel, the Munsell Color Value Scale and the Munsell Color Chroma Scale.


Munsell, A.H.,  ed. 12, 1971, pg. 65. A Color Notation. Baltimore, MD:  Munsell Color Company.


Posted by .

2 responses to “Munsell Color Order System; Why it is the Best”

  1. Russ Bartling says:

    I need to find these colors so I can mix paint to paint some equipment.

  2. […] first essential to the application of the Munsell System is a clear understanding of the three dimensions of color, and once having grasped the simple logic […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *