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The Universal Language of Colour

At the beginning of the 20th century, Professor Albert H. Munsell brought clarity to colour communication by establishing an orderly system for accurately identifying every colour that exists. Munsell based his system on what he defined as “perceived equidistance,” the human visual system’s perception of colour.

The Munsell Colour Order System

The Munsell Colour Order System is a three-dimensional model based on the premise that each colour has three qualities or attributes: hue, value and chroma. Munsell established numerical scales with visually uniform steps for each of these attributes. In Munsell notation, each colour has a logical relationship to all other colours. This leads to endless creative possibilities in colour choices, as well as the ability to precisely communicate these choices.

How Munsell Colour Notation Works

All colours are arranged three-dimensionally according to Hue, Value and Chroma creating the Munsell Colour Space. Each colour has a specific Munsell colour notation from which you can easily visualise the colour. Using the Munsell nomenclature HV/C, our vivid red example would have the Munsell notation 5R 6/14. 5R is the hue (red), 6 is the value (moderately light), and a 14 chroma indicates a highly chromatic colour.

When a finer division is needed for any of the attributes, decimals are used. For example, 5.3R 6.1/14.4. When the hues of the primary hue circle are used, the notation is written in the same way, for example 2B 5/4. The notation for a neutral colour is written: NV/. The chroma of a neutral color is zero, but it is customary to omit the zero in the notation. The notation N 1/ denotes a black, a very dark neutral, while N 9/ denotes a white, a very light neutral. This notation for a middle gray is N 5/.

Munsell Colour Space

Munsell hue, value and chroma can be varied independently so that all colors can be arranged according to the three attributes in a three-dimensional space. The neutral colours are placed along a vertical line, called the “neutral axis,” with black at the bottom, white at the top, and all grays in between. The different hues are displayed at various angles around the neutral axis. The chroma scale is perpendicular to the axis, increasing outward. This three-dimensional arrangement of colours is called the “Munsell colour space.”

Munsell Colour Solid

All colours lie within a specific region of Munsell color space called the “Munsell colour solid.” Hue is limited to one turn around the circle. The scale of value is limited on the lower end by pure black, which is as dark as a colour can be, and on the top by pure white, which is as light as a colour can be. For a given value, there is a limit to the chroma that is possible, even with theoretically ideal colouring agents. Real colouring agents, with less than ideal characteristics, impose further limitations on physical representations of the colour solid. The Munsell Colour Order System itself is applicable to all possible colours. The highest chroma yellow colours have rather high values, while the highest chroma blue colours have lower values.

An International Standard

The Munsell colour order system is recognised internationally by the following standards:
  • American National Standards Institute — ANSI Z138.2
  • Japanese Industrial Standard for Colour — JIS Z872
  • German Standard Colour System — DIN 6164
  • Several British national standards
The Munsell Colour Order System has been widely used in many fields of colour science, most notably as a model of uniformity for colourimetric spaces and has, itself, been the subject of many scientific studies.

$388.92
" data-url="/collections/munsell/products/munsell-soil-colour-chart-2009-edition" data-title="Munsell Soil Colour Chart 2009 Edition" data-details-text="View full details" data-full-description="<h2><span style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">The Munsell Soil Colour Chart is an affordable way to evaluate the type of soil that is present within a given area.</span></h2> <span style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;"> </span><span style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">The book is set up to allow users to make soil colour evaluations in the field quickly and easily. The soil classification system that has been developed around the Munsell colour system is an established and accepted process to assign a soil type. This classification system has been used in the United States for more than 55 years to aid in the management and stewardship of natural resources. Through the use of the Munsell Soil Colour Charts, practitioners from a wide range of professions can share reliable and consistent information about the colour of soils at a particular site with colleagues anywhere around the world. The Munsell Soil Colour Charts are used by a variety of industries and professions such as universities and high schools, forestry, forensics, environmental and soil science, building and contracting, landscaping, real estate, health departments, geology and archaeology.</span><br style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;"><br style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;"> <h3>The following pages are included in the Munsell Soil Color Charts:</h3> <ul style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;"> <li style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Munsell 10R Soil Chart</li> <li style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Munsell 10YR Soil Chart</li> <li style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Munsell 2.5Y Soil Chart</li> <li style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Munsell 2.5YR Soil Chart</li> <li style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Munsell 5Y Soil Chart</li> <li style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Munsell 5YR Soil Chart</li> <li style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Munsell 7.5YR Soil</li> <li style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">10Y - 5GY Colors - Olive greens Soil Chart</li> <li style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Gley 1 &amp; 2 (2 - Separate Charts) Soil Charts</li> <li style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Munsell 5R Individual Soil Chart</li> <li style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Munsell 7.5R Individual Soil Chart</li> <li style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">"New" White Page, 7.5R, 10YR, &amp; 2.5Y</li> </ul>" data-regular-description="The Munsell Soil Colour Chart is an affordable way to evaluate the type of soil that is present within a given area. The book is..." data-images="28347969348 || Munsell Soil Colour Chart 2009 Edition-Normal-Prospectors ||" data-collection-handles="best-selling-products,tools-rock-minerals-exploration-colour-chart,tools-rock-minerals-exploration,munsell,newest-products,products-a-d,products-c,products-m,products-m-r,products-s,tools-rock-minerals-exploration-colour-chart-soil" > Quick View

$388.92
" data-url="/collections/munsell/products/munsell-plant-tissue-chart" data-title="Munsell Plant Tissue Chart" data-details-text="View full details" data-full-description="<h2><span style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">A botanist's colour guide, these 17 colour charts are used to determine and record the colour of plant tissues.</span></h2> <span style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;"> </span> <div style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">This information is important to scientists working with growth rates, nutrient deficiencies, plant diseases, and other plant processes. In particular, it facilitates the diagnosis of adverse conditions responsible for the deteriation of plants and it serves as a stepping-stone to soil and plant tissue analyses.<br> <h3>Why Use Plant Tissue Colour Charts?</h3> </div> <p><span style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">The colour plant tissues reflect the influence of light, critical temperatures, and the chemical composition of the soil, especially when the soil is deficient in certain major or minor nutrient elements. Sometimes the colour of plant tissue reveals the genetic origin of plants, effect of toxic substances, or the action of parasitic organisms. Charts provide scientists, students, and plant growers with information needed to respond to problems related to taxonomy, genetics, physiology, pathology, and plant nutrition.</span></p>" data-regular-description="A botanist's colour guide, these 17 colour charts are used to determine and record the colour of plant tissues. This information is important to scientists..." data-images="28347963268 || Munsell Plant Tissue Chart-Normal-Prospectors ||" data-collection-handles="best-selling-products,tools-rock-minerals-exploration-colour-chart,tools-rock-minerals-exploration,munsell,newest-products,products-a-d,products-c,products-m,products-m-r" > Quick View

$225.35
" data-url="/collections/munsell/products/munsell-rock-colour-chart-munsell" data-title="Munsell Rock Colour Chart Munsell" data-details-text="View full details" data-full-description="<div style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;"> <h2>This chart is primarily for field use and indicates the range of rock colours for all purposes and is accurate for wet or dry samples.</h2> This handy tool provides 115 genuine Munsell Colour Standards (chips), each with its correct ISCS-NBS colour name and unique Munsell alpha-numeric notation. Find any rock colour on the chart and the Munsell notation underneath gives you the value (degree of lightness), the hue (colour) and the chroma (degree of saturation) for that colour. Use these notations in your writing to communicate exact colour information that anyone can understand. Designed primarily for field use, the chart nevertheless indicates the range of rock colours for all purposes and is accurate for wet or dry specimens.<br><br>Chiefly used to describe medium to fine-grained rocks, it is also helpful in working with coarse-grained rocks. The Munsell Rock Colour Charts is a revision of the previously published Geological Society of America (GSA) Rock-Colour Chart.<br><br>Printed on Munsell's special colour-neutral stock, the chart includes a viewing mask.</div> <div style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;"> <h3>The Munsell Rock Colour Chart provides a durable, accurate method for classifying and judging rocks sample.</h3> </div> <p><span style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">Easily and accurately communicate the exact colour information of your rock samples by using the Munsell Colour Standards contained in the Rock Colour Chart.</span></p>" data-regular-description="This chart is primarily for field use and indicates the range of rock colours for all purposes and is accurate for wet or dry samples...." data-images="28347967364 || Munsell Rock Colour Chart Munsell-Normal-Prospectors ||28347968644 || Munsell Rock Colour Chart Munsell-Normal-Prospectors ||" data-collection-handles="best-selling-products,tools-rock-minerals-exploration-colour-chart,tools-rock-minerals-exploration,munsell,newest-products,products-a-d,products-c,products-m,products-m-r,products-r,tools-rock-minerals-exploration-colour-chart-rock" > Quick View

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