RAL Classic colour table

The most commonly used RAL colours.

RAL 7044, Silk grey

RAL 9016, Traffic white

Den richtigen Weißton zu finden, kann eine Herausforderung sein, denn Untergrund, Lichteinstrahlung und einige andere Faktoren können das Empfinden der Farbe erheblich beeinflussen. Gebrochene Weißtöne …

RAL 7016, Anthracite grey

In den Baumärkten suchen Kunden oft nach einer Farbe oder einem Lack, der wetterfest und beständig ist und sich dennoch recht unauffällig in das Erscheinungsbild …

RAL 3004, Purple red

RAL 9010, Pure white

Es gibt einige verschiedene Farbtöne in der RAL-Liste, die den Namenszusatz „-weiß“ beinhalten, so z.B. Cremeweiß, Perlweiß oder Grauweiß. Die Farbe, die jedoch dem Ausdruck …

RAL 9002, Grey white

Bei RAL-Ton Nr. 9002 handelt es sich um eine Abwandlung der Farbe Weiß, also einer der beiden unbunten Farben (neben Schwarz). Es bleibt zu erwähnen, …

RAL 5010, Gentian blue

The German pop singer Heino knew in 1972 exactly what the RAL 5010 colour tone looks like as he sang “Blue blooms the gentian”. Yet …

RAL 2009, Traffic orange

RAL 7001, Silver grey

Silber funkelt, silber glänzt, Silber ist ein Metall. So weit, so gut. Doch die als RAL-Farbton 7001 bekannte Farbe gehört nicht zu den Metallic-Farbtönen – …

RAL 9005, Jet black

Die Nacht, der Superheld Batman, ein tiefes Loch, ein Rabe… die Farbe Schwarz kennen wir im Zusammenhang mit vielen Dingen oder Vorstellungen. Dabei ist Schwarz …

RAL 3000, Flame red

RAL 3000 is a colour tone that everyone has seen and that often means help or rescue in severe cases of danger. “Flame red” is …

RAL 6010, Grass green

If distribution and quantity were the deciding factors, RAL 6010 should be one of the best known and most widespread colours in the world. Hue …

RAL 8017, Chocolate brown

Leckere, süße Schokolade… mit einer angenehmen dunklen Farbe. Genauso sieht RAL-Farbton 8017 aus. Die in der Liste geführte Farbe ist ein warmes, dunkles Braun, das …

RAL 6005, Moss green

Anyone who has ever walked the official hiking trails in Saxon Switzerland will have seen RAL colour 6005. This green, known as “Moss green”, is …

RAL 1023, Traffic yellow

Holzwickede or Berlin. If you want to experience the RAL 1023 colour in its full splendour live, you should travel to one of these two …

RAL 3020, Traffic red

One of the best known colours from the RAL colour spectrum is without doubt the shade RAL 3020, or “Traffic red”. The nomenclature isn´t a …

RAL Colours

RAL: Transparency (not only) for colours

Idioms often aren't particularly accurate: if someone does something "once in a blue moon" and another person is supposed to be "green behind the ears", then it is up to the individual to decide which colours are meant. On the contrary, anyone who offers products in colours or is supposed to make something colourful wants to know exactly which colour is in question – either to compete with, say, a self-developed magenta or to avoid disputes with his client. The RAL colour systems provide transparency when dealing with colours: the RAL Classic, for example, a collection of currently 213 standardised colour hues, in which each colour is assigned a four-digit colour number.

Necessity is the mother of invention

The RAL scale saw the colourful light of day as early as 1927, two years before the "Reichs-Ausschuss für Lieferbedingungen (RAL)" was founded to promote rationalisation in German industry by simplifying and standardising technical delivery conditions. Furthermore, after the First World War, it was necessary to use pigments and binders sparingly, since they were only available in very limited quantities, while simultaneously, fuelled by the emerging mass production of civilian goods, there was a great demand for industrial coatings. In this plight the paint industry, consumers and the state agreed on the use of a few basic colour shades and mixed shades derived from them, which could be produced in good quality with the available pigments. RAL was entrusted with the first colour scale comprising 40 colour shades, which has since given the system its name.

Practical solution

Then as now, thanks to the RAL colour systems, suppliers and customers only need to exchange a RAL number and do not need a colour sample on defined material. Since not everyone can imagine the natural colour that belongs to a certain RAL number and to avoid confusion caused by transposed numbers, each colour tone has an additional descriptive name, e.g. RAL 1000 Green beige, the first entry in our RAL list.

The standardisation of RAL colours simplifies communication about shades of colour considerably. Suppliers and customers can use colour numbers to clearly specify the colour in which a product is to be delivered. Simultaneously, the clear definition of colour tones makes it possible to reproduce them exactly anywhere. Re-painting and touch-up coatings are also made easier.

In order to be included in the RAL catalogue, colour shades must meet various criteria. According to RAL gGmbH – a subsidiary of RAL Deutsches Institut für Gütesicherung und Kennzeichnung (German Institute for Quality Assurance and Labelling) – they must be "timeless and subject to an overriding public interest. Furthermore, the colour must be environmentally friendly and weather-resistant, have a high opacity and there must be a visible difference to existing colours". The company writes about the development: "Mostly, new colour shades were added by large German companies. In 1992, for example, the Telekom colours "Telemagenta", "Telegrau 1" and "Telegrau 2" were added.

Ecological, economical and digital

In addition to the original RAL Classic colour collection, the RAL Effect colour catalogue has been available since 2007. With 420 solid and 70 metallic shades, it contains significantly more colours than the traditional catalogue of RAL colours and also takes ecological aspects into account. Pigments containing heavy metals such as lead chromate or cadmium sulphide are taboo in the formulation.

For the plastics processing industry, RAL has been making the RAL PLASTICS system available since 2010. This is an independent colour standard for plastics that considerably simplifies colour design for designers and manufacturers and makes the time-consuming and cost-intensive process of adjusting RAL colours from paint samples to plastics unnecessary.

The RAL Digital software also provides the binding colour catalogues digitally. At regular intervals RAL gGmbH also publishes the colour trend book "RAL Colour Feeling" and issues publications such as "Das Farbwörterbuch" (The Colour Dictionary), "Farben der Gesundheit" (The Colours of Health) or "Farben der Hotels" (The Colours of Hotels).

Transparency and quality

The "RAL German Institute for Quality Assurance" has long since developed into a global player. With sales partners in 42 countries and product availability in more than 85 countries, it is at home on all continents. It is about much more than standardised, reproducible colours. In the meantime, there are over 170 RAL Quality Marks from all sectors of the economy. Currently, RAL has approximately 130 manufacturers and service providers with about 9,000 member companies that have joined together to form "RAL Quality Assurance Associations".

As an organisation recognised by RAL, they are responsible for quality assurance and a transparent grant procedure. The quality assurance associations grant the right to use RAL quality marks, regularly check the quality and testing regulations, monitor strict compliance, and ensure transparency and quality far beyond Germany. After all, consistent quality isn't something that happens once in a blue moon ...

This is how the designations of the RAL Classic colours originate

All RAL Classic colours have a four-digit number in connection with the "RAL" brand (e.g. RAL 2011). The first digit is systematic (1: yellow, 2: orange, 3: red, 4: violet, 5: blue, 6: green, 7: grey, 8: brown and 9: white and black shades), the remaining three digits are chosen consecutively. In addition, an auxiliary designation (e.g. Deep orange for RAL 2011) is associated with each colour shade to reduce the risk of confusion.

To become a member of the RAL Classic family, a colour shade must:

  • be of overriding public interest and must not be subject to short-term fashion influences
  • have a specific minimum differentiation to already existing colours
  • be able to be tinted with commercially available pigments that have been found not to be harmful to the environment
  • with few exceptions, have a high covering opacity over "black and white"
  • be able to be manufactured weatherproof

Some colours of the RAL palette are omnipresent today. Examples include the colour Broom yellow (RAL 1032), which Deutsche Post uses as its corporate colour, or the Claret violet of EU passports (RAL 4004).