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Professor Albert H. Munsell, an artist and art teacher, developed the basic principles of his color order system mainly for the purpose of bringing order to the study of color.  Munsell wanted the study of color to be similar to the study of music, which had order so that one could “hear” how a composition would sound by reading the notes.  Likewise, Munsell wanted one to “see” color based on its three-dimensional attributes of hue, value and chroma.

Munsell’s discovery of the three-dimensional aspect of color offered the order Munsell was looking for not only in terms of each individual color, but also each color’s relationship to other colors.

The Munsell color-order system has gained international acceptance. It is described in unabridged dictionaries and encyclopedias as well as in specialized publications on art, design, color photography, television, printing, paint, textiles and plastics. It is recognized as a standard system of color specification in standard Z138.2 of the American National Standards Institute, Japanese Industrial Standard for Color JIS Z 8721, the German Standard Color System, DIN 6164 and several British national standards. The Munsell color-order system has been widely used in many fields of color science, most notably as a model of uniformity for colorimetric spaces and has, itself, been the subject of many scientific studies.

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