What is RAL? International Color Matching System

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What is RAL? International Color Matching System
What is RAL? International Color Matching System

Video: What is RAL? International Color Matching System

Video: What is RAL? International Color Matching System
Video: What is RAL Colour ? 2023, December

What is RAL? For accurate and correct color reproduction, there are several standards that modern design in many industries "orients" to. In 1927, the Institute for Quality Assurance and Appropriate Labeling developed a color coding system in Germany, which became the German RAL color standard, and later became an international standard. At the time the system was created, the table contained 40 codified colors. Today the palette includes 2328 RAL shades, which are the defining industry and design standard worldwide.

Color palette and surroundings
Color palette and surroundings

The emergence of the name and the company

On April 23, 1925, the German Reich created a committee for quality assurance and delivery conditions, the abbreviation of which RAL has survived to this day. In addition to numerous associations, the government created a state fund and RAL was administered by the Ministry of Economics. Two years later, the committee acquired the status of a registered association and received its own legal personality. Abbreviation RALthe organization has retained as a distinctive mark of quality, which is protected nationally and internationally under trademark law.

What is RAL today?

The company is one of the world's oldest labeling professionals. For more than 90 years, consumers have relied on the high quality, constant testing, and regular updates of RAL products and services. Today, the German Institute for Quality Assurance and Labeling RAL remains the world's leading color standard for all professional users in industry, trade, architecture and design.

RAL does not manufacture or sell paints, its role is to define and standardize color tones, it produces samples of bond colors that are produced in charts and templates. It is a series of color systems and catalogs used throughout the world, each containing a palette of standardized digital and print hues. A unique number is assigned to each of the RAL colors. Thanks to this, for example, the shade of paints and varnishes can be accurately reproduced without the presence of a color model. The goal of standardization is that the customer and supplier only exchange the RAL number and not a color sample on a particular material.

More than 2500 RAL COLORS positions provide the highest precision and variety. The universal color matching method developed by the company is divided into three systems: Classic (classic), Design (design), Effect (effect).

Color in the urban environment
Color in the urban environment


The world's most popular and used color palette with samples and codes contains 213 positions, including metallics. The RAL Classic scale is divided into nine primary colors, which are indicated by the first digit of the code, and each shade is indicated by a number from 000 to 099. The "RAL Classic" palette does not determine the brightness of the color and is divided into two systems: HR for satin, GL for glossy paints. When ordering products from the catalogs of the Classic system, in addition to the digital code, it is very important to indicate the designations for glossy and matte colors. The RAL numerical values are distributed in the Classic scale as follows:

  • numbers from 1000 to 1099 - shades of yellow;
  • 2000 to 2099 - orange;
  • from 3000 to 3099 - red;
  • from 4000 to 4099 - pink, purple;
  • from 5000 to 5099 - blue;
  • from 6000 to 6099 - green;
  • from 7000 to 7099 - grey;
  • from 8000 to 8099 - brown
  • from 9000 to 9099 - white, black.

The colors of the classic RAL palette are used in numerous areas: the production of paints and varnishes, the tinting of various surfaces, architecture, interior design, graphic, transport, industrial, printing activities.

Classic RAL palette
Classic RAL palette

Design catalog

The design of the RAL Design color palette corresponds to the international LAB colorimetry system. Unlike the classic RAL collection, here the colors are systematically arranged according to hue, brightness and saturation. The seven-digit code allows moreaccurately indicate the visible differences between two adjacent shades. This makes it easy to work with harmonious combinations of the RAL visual model. What is seven-digit numbering in the Design system?

  • first 3 digits indicate shade;
  • the next 2 digits determine the percentage of brightness;
  • the last pair of digits indicates saturation.

The development of the RAL color chart for professional design dates back to 1993 and today the collection consists of 1625 items.

Effect Palette

The RAL Effect color catalog has been distributed since April 2007 and is designed for industrial and product design. With 420 universal and 70 metallic shades, it includes significantly more colors than the catalog of traditional RAL colors. This palette also takes into account environmental aspects. The sample selection consists of water-based paints that have not been formulated with pigments containing heavy metals such as lead, lead chromate or cadmium sulfide. All paint manufacturers and users can use RAL Effect to create an eco-efficient paint production or use it with a simple and modern recipe.

RAL palette in the interior
RAL palette in the interior

New collection

In October 2010, RAL introduced the Plastics color palette for the plastics industry. This is the last of the catalogs for today, which will gradually expand in the future. Now the color selection includes 100 of the mostused colors from the RAL Classic scale. The color swatches consist of A6 size polypropylene sheets with three different surface structures and three thickness levels.

Digital catalogs

What is RAL Digital? It is a software that combines all the colors of the Classic, Design, Effect palettes digitally for graphics and CAD applications. RAL Digital contains information from RGB, CMYK, HLC, Lab and HEX values and offers many design features. The software contains all 2328 RAL colors and allows you to navigate through the entire color spectrum. RAL shades can be exported and integrated into many popular graphics and CAD programs.

Applying a color palette
Applying a color palette


Since 2015, the company has introduced a new Colorcatch Nano device. This is a 60 gram colorimeter from RAL Colorc that measures color on surfaces at the push of a button and is compatible with many Apple and Android products. Nano quickly and accurately measures up to five colors at the same time, regardless of the surface and material, assigns the appropriate RAL color. The device is connected via cable to all Apple or Android devices and works with the RAL iColors mobile phone application. The application provides information about colors, selecting shades from the three main RAL palettes, finds the value of the next color from the previously selected collection of colors. A small hole in the middle of the device allows color reading on curved surfaces.

RAL Products

The company constantly produces and distributes catalogs of each of the collections, such as colored fans, maps, atlases, albums, boxes and sets with color cards, sheets or plates. In addition to catalogs, RAL regularly publishes the RAL Color Feeling booklet and publishes books such as The Dictionary of Colors, The Colors of He alth and The Colors of Hotels.