Albert Henry Munsell

This system is based on the principle of «perceived equidistance» — to use the correct, although rather long-winded technical term. Munsell attempts to account for each colour attribute in ordered visual steps. He intodruces 100 steps for colour «hue», starting with five main colours and five additional colours, and adopts an ordering system with 10 units of colour «value» and an open scale called «chroma» (similar to saturation). The resultant three-dimensional system can best be portrayed as a «colour-tree». (Detailed text)

Date: One of the most widespread—and nowadays most utilised—colour-systems, this system was developed by the American painter Charles Munsell between 1905 and 1916.

Country of origin: USA

Basic colours: Red, yellow, green, blue and purple

Form: Colour-tree

Application: Painting

Related systems: BezoldRoodOstwaldCIECIE-RöschJohanssonDINISCC-NBSOSAN.C.S.ColoroidHLS

Bibliography: H. Munsell, «A Color Notation», Boston 1905; A. H. Munsell, The Atlas of the Munsell Color System, Boston 1915; F. W. Billmeyer Jr., «Survey of Color Order Systems», Color Research and Application 12, pp. 173-186 (1987).

Links: Munsell-system: commercial server with more technical information.