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Crystallization phase diagrams are frequently used to conceptualize the phase relations and also the processes taking place during the crystallization of macromolecules. While a great deal of freedom is given in crystallization phase diagrams owing to a lack of specific knowledge about the actual phase boundaries and phase equilibria, crucial fundamental features of phase diagrams can be derived from thermodynamic first principles. Consequently, there are limits to what can be reasonably displayed in a phase diagram, and imagination may start to conflict with thermodynamic realities. Here, the commonly used `crystallization phase diagrams' are derived from thermodynamic excess properties and their limitations and appropriate use is discussed.

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