RAL color standard (RAL). What is RAL
RAL color standard (RAL). What is RAL

Video: RAL color standard (RAL). What is RAL

Video: RAL color standard (RAL). What is RAL
Video: What is RAL Colour ? 2023, September

The article tells about the international color standard RAL (RAL), its appearance, development, use and its features today. Who invented it? What new has this standard brought into our lives? How does it make life easier for us? In what areas it is used, applied and improved. What is RAL? Is it useful? Can we use it in our daily life? We tried to find even variations of different color names in the RAL palette (RAL). This is what our article is about.

Why the RAL scale was introduced

It's hard to imagine anything more subjective than feeling. And color is no exception. The naming of flowers is traditionally different, even for artists and web designers. What is RAL and how was it developed?

Standardization is an integral element of technological progress, designed to regulate production. The expansion of production is inevitably associated with the approval of standards. Therefore, in 1927, RAL (RAL) was introduced for the first time - the German color standard. It was developed at the request of varnish and paint manufacturers who faced this problem. That is why all industrial productions for which the correct selection of colors is important (paint and varnish, plastics production, etc.) know very well what RAL is. Standardization allows, first of all, to speak the same language and understand each other to manufacturers from different countries, because instead of a complex, long and often obscure color definition, certain letters and numbers are introduced. Color standardization includes hue, brightness and intensity.

RAL table
RAL table

First appearance of RAL

RAL was first developed by the German State Committee for Delivery Conditions. In accordance with it, all colors were divided into ranges, a certain color received an unambiguous digital index. Since then, this company (Reichsausschuß für Lieferbedingungen und Gütesicherung) has been constantly developing and introducing additional colors as required by the market. The explanations that are additionally given at the same time establish complete clarity in matters of color, which is necessary for many branches of production. RAL's universal color designation system is the language of communication in many industries for specifying color shades and their intensity.

RAL scales in the world today

RAL CLASSIC, RAL Design, RAL Digital, RAL Effect, RAL Plastics, RAL Books - today several scales (colorcollections).

What is RAL now? The latest RAL standard includes many colors and shades. The table shows only the most commonly used colors. The table is for reference only, as the displayed colors may differ from the actual colors from the RAL catalog.


Being the benchmark since 1927. Today it consists of 213 colors, including yellow, orange, red, purple, blue, green, gray, brown, light and dark colors. Of these, 17 are metallic, that is, with a metallic sheen. So, the color ral 9003 is signal white, or very white. This already classic collection finds application in a variety of industries and areas of production: from architectural objects and home interiors to the design of clothing, footwear and printing products.

Ral classic
Ral classic

RAL Design Scale

The year of the appearance of this scale is 1993. Initially, the scale included 1688 shades, later it was limited to 1625 shades. The scale is systematized for design professionals. Its developers took into account the tone, brightness and degree of color saturation, simplified the selection of partner colors for different color gamuts. The colors were numbered in accordance with the hue values (brightness and saturation were also taken into account) with seven-digit numbers. In 2017, a new palette appeared - RAL Design, consisting of 1625 units of color shades.

Ral design
Ral design

RAL Digital

RAL Digital is an additional version of the layouts. It is used by designerswhen working with programs that include automatic design systems. This software version gives you access to shade and color names from the Classic, Effect and Design collections.

In 2015, the RAL Digital line introduced the latest reader (colorimeter), capable of detecting colors from almost any surface and selecting the desired shade in RAL catalogs. The colorimeter also has a number of auxiliary parts and devices, including a digital magnifier and many other important functions of industrial colorimetry today.

RAL Effect

To meet the needs of the industry, RAL launched an additional collection in 2007 of matte and glossy shades, 420 and 70 units respectively. The former are designed for water-based paints, the latter for metallic coating paints. The numbering includes three tone numbers and the letter M for metallics and X for water-based paints.

ral strips
ral strips

RAL Plastics

Specially for plastic products, RAL has released a new standard catalog based on the classic version of colors. It features 100 of the most sought-after classic design colors in polypropylene rectangular references.

pallet colors
pallet colors

RAL Books

RAL specialists together with the Global Color Research Bureau (Great Britain) compile yearbooks for professional designers, which include sets of coordinated color ratios from the fullest color scale of all RAL collections.

In every collection32 colors are used in different combinations. Complete collection includes album, movable color fan and CD.

The color chart according to RAL Classic in the standard sorting by color group is marked with the leading position (1000s=yellow tones, 2000s=orange tones, 3000s=reds, etc.).

Thus, the RAL company satisfies the current needs of the industrial market to determine color standards and their coordinated combinations.

Table specifications and terminology

Ral on PC
Ral on PC

Many RAL colors may not display correctly on monitors and printers due to differences in device color spaces and are approximate values only. The RRGGBB (sRGB) color code in use is displayed when the mouse pointer is over the Color Swatch field.

Colors associated with the RAL system may have different names in official usage.

  • Lemon yellow: RAL 1018 - zinc yellow for telecom team.
  • Golden yellow: RAL 1028 - yellow melon for the army reconnaissance squad.
  • Crimson: RAL 3027 - crimson red for collar and officer's color stripes on the General Staff.
  • Bordeaux Red: RAL 4004 - Burgundy Violet for Defensive Unit.
  • Medium Blue: RAL 5010 - Blue for Army Logistics Unit.
  • Dark blue: RAL 5013 - cob alt blue for medical applications.
  • Green hunter: RAL 6029 - mint green color for hunters: squad of hunters, squadparatroopers, a detachment of mountain hunters and a detachment of a tank grenadier army.
  • Light Grey: RAL 7037 - Dusty Gray for Army Aviation.
  • White: RAL 9010 - pure white for military music service.
  • Black: RAL 9011 - graphite black for the pioneer group.