What does RAL stand for in color?

Updated on: 24/04/2020

About the RAL color system

RAL is an European color matching system which defines colors for paint, coatings and plastics. The RAL color standard is admini­strated by the RAL Deutsches Institut für Güte­sicherung und Kennzeichnung. ‘RAL’ is the abbreviation of ‘Reichs-Ausschuß für Lieferbedingungen und Gütesicherung’. This name can be translated in English as ‘National Commission for Delivery Terms and Quality Assurance’. This website is not affiliated with the official RAL organization.

RAL Classic

In 1927 the German RAL organization invented a collection of 40 colors. Prior to that date manufacturers and customers had to exchange color samples to describe a tint, whereas from then on they would rely on numbers. With tints constantly added to the collection, the collection was revised in 1961. From that moment the color system consists of 213 colors, which is still in use to this day. In the 1960s the colors were given supplemental names to avoid confusion in case of transposed digits.

RAL Design

In 1993 RAL introduced a new color matching system, tailored to the needs of architects, designers and advertisers. The RAL Design collection includes 1,625 colors. The colors of RAL Classic and RAL Design do not intersect.

RAL Effect

RAL Effect comprises 420 solid colors and, as a particular highlight, 70 metallic colors. It is the first collection from RAL to be based on waterborne paint systems. No use is made of heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and chromates.

RAL Plastics

RAL Plastics is the color standard for plastics. The multifunctional plates made of polypropylene ensure the best possible translation of RAL paint color shades into an identical shade for plastics. RAL Plastics P1 contains the 100 favorite RAL Classic colors

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