The Munsell System
From The New Munsell Student Color Set, “Working successfully with color requires both emotion and knowledge, and one is not more important than the other.” You will find that the most successful artists, designers, and those that work in a creative career utilizing color are those that not only have the knowledge and ability to use color but they feel it as well.
The Munsell system is a color identification and notation system which identifies colors by alpha numerics rather than by name. The system is named for its creator, Albert H. Munsell, a practicing artist and teacher. My friends and family know that I have been utilizing color systems for my art and landscaping projects ever since I was young.
When trying to communicate with someone about particular plants, gardeners often use local or regional terms. The problem with this is that the descriptions and terms used can vary widely so that the two of you may not be describing the same plant! Thankfully, there is a system in place to stop the confusion. Many gardeners struggle with the “Latin names” of plants, but knowing and using a plant’s botanical name allows you to accurately communicate and converse with gardeners the world over. Universal systems create uniformity and order out of chaos.
Trying to discuss colors by a nickname such as “butterscotch” or “persimmon” is just as futile. In order for people to be discussing the same color, there has to be an accurate system. Many such systems have been created but the most widely accepted system is the Munsell color system as it is both a language for color and a ruler for color.
I hope to be able to communicate to you the importance and power of color in our lives. Color may seem intuitive and simple, but it actually involves some of the most complex things on earth — light, the human eye, and the brain. The three dimensions of color you will learn about are hue, value, and chroma.
- HUE: The quality by which we distinguish one color family from another, such as red from yellow or blue from green.
- VALUE: The quality by which we distinguish a light color from a dark color.
- CHROMA: The strength of a given color. It is the quality by which we distinguish a strong color from a weak color, such as a dull green from a bright spring green.
Don’t worry, I’ll deliver the information in simple easy terms so we can get to the fun part; helping you utilize color in your life to empower and enlighten your world.
To your success and empowerment,