The Munsell Test


Not a lot of people know what a Munsell test is but it’s quite integral within Graham & Brown. Colour and design being at the forefront of our culture, it’s crucial that when it comes to mixing, matching and styling our wallpapers, paints and wall art pieces, all of these are created within a certain degree of accuracy.


What is a Munsell Test?


 The Munsell Test, also known as the Farnsworth-Munsell 100 hue test, measures hue discrimination and gives a person a score on their colour vision. The Munsell colour system specifies colour based on 3 dimensions; Hue, Lightness (value) and Chroma (purity). The test was first created in the early 1900’s by Albert H. Munsell and has been used in a wide variety of professions over the last century.


How do you take a Munsell Test?



The participant is talked through the process and then sat in front of a light box. This Light Box is set to a D65 light setting, which most replicates natural daylight and doesn’t skew shades of colour like warmer lights may do. All other lights are switched off in the room and the participant is given a few minutes to adjust to the light box.


You are then presented with a box of 22 counters, 2 of which are fixed at either end. Both of these are different in shade and the counters in the middle are used to go from one hue to another, blending seamlessly from one end to the other. However, these are mixed up and it’s the participants role to put these in order.




They are given 2 minutes to put these in to order before the next box of counters is presented to them (with 4 boxes in total). Each box contains different shades, aiming towards recognition between purples, blues, yellows, greens and pinks.





Once each box is completed, they are then marked out on a results sheet. The box is flipped over and under each counter is a number, with the counters running in numerical order on a perfect score.



Where discrepancies arise, these are noted down and all of these answers are put in to a system to give you a score.


The Results

Once you have filled in the data, you are then presented with your result.

You can see that the below graph shows the different hues (which match the counters) with the coordinating numbers. From the central circle you can see a darker line which shows mistakes in the test which ultimately gives you a score.

0 - 16 means that you have Superior Colour Vision with a result of Superior Discrimination

17 - 100 gives you an average result meaning you have Average Discimination for colour

100 - 800 varies from poor colour discrimination to colour blindness


Below are 2 of these result graphs; the left shows you a perfect result, this person scored 0 meaning that they have Superior Discrimination. The right was provided by our participant, she scored 88 meaning that she has Average Discrimination.




There are a number of roles within Graham & Brown that require a Munsell Test to be taken. This ensures that the delicacy of colour and shade is matched perfectly from design to customer.


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