RAL is a color
Color or colour is the visual perceptual property corresponding in humans to the categories called red, green, blue and others. Color derives from the spectrum of light interacting in the eye with the spectral sensitivities of the light receptors...
matching system used in Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...
. In colloquial speech RAL refers to the RAL CLASSIC system, mainly used for varnish
Varnish is a transparent, hard, protective finish or film primarily used in wood finishing but also for other materials. Varnish is traditionally a combination of a drying oil, a resin, and a thinner or solvent. Varnish finishes are usually glossy but may be designed to produce satin or semi-gloss...
and powder coating
thumb|right|Aluminium extrusions being powder coatedPowder coating is a type of coating that is applied as a free-flowing, dry powder. The main difference between a conventional liquid paint and a powder coating is that the powder coating does not require a solvent to keep the binder and filler...
In 1927 the German Reichsausschuß für Lieferbedingungen und Gütesicherung" (State Commission for Delivery Terms and Quality Assurance) invented a collection of 40 colors under the name of "RAL 840". Prior to that date manufacturers and customers had to exchange samples to describe a tint, whereas from then on they would rely on numbers.
In the 1930s the numbers were changed uniformly to four digits and the collection was renamed to "RAL 840 R" (R for revised). With tints constantly added to the collection, it was revised again in 1961 and changed to "RAL 840-HR", which consists of 210 colors and is in use to this day. In the 1960s the colors were given supplemental names to avoid confusion in case of transposed digits.
As "RAL 840-HR" covered only matte paint the 1980s saw the invention of "RAL 841-GL" for glossy surfaces, limited to 193 colors. A main criterion for colors in the RAL CLASSIC collection is to be of "paramount interest". Therefore most of the colors in it are used on warning and traffic sign
Traffic signs or road signs are signs erected at the side of roads to provide information to road users. With traffic volumes increasing over the last eight decades, many countries have adopted pictorial signs or otherwise simplified and standardized their signs to facilitate international travel...
s or are dedicated to government agencies and public services (for example: RAL 1004 - Swiss Postal Service, RAL 1021 - Austrian Postal Service, RAL 1032 - German Postal Service). The first digit relates to the shade of the color:
RAL 1xxx (Yellow): RAL 1000 Green Beige - RAL 1037 Sun Yellow (40 colors)
RAL 2xxx Orange): RAL 2000 Yellow Orange - RAL 2013 Pearl Orange (14 colors)
RAL 3xxx (Red): RAL 3000 Flame Red - RAL 3033 Pearl Pink (34 colors)
RAL 4xxx (Violet): RAL 4001 Red Lilac - RAL 4012 Pearl Black Berry (12 colors)
RAL 5xxx (Blue): RAL 5000 Violet Blue - RAL 5026 Pearl Night Blue (25 colors)
RAL 6xxx (Green): RAL 6000 Patina Green - RAL 6038 Luminous Green (36 colors)
RAL 7xxx (Grey): RAL 7000 Squirrel Grey - RAL 7048 Pearl Mouse Grey (38 colors)
RAL 8xxx (Brown): RAL 8000 Green Brown - RAL 8029 Pearl Copper (20 colors)
RAL 9xxx (White/Black): RAL 9001 Cream - RAL 9023 Pearl Dark Grey (14 colors)
This collection, which follows the naming of RAL CLASSIC, was invented in 1984. It is made up of only 3 colors (RAL 6031 - bronze, RAL 8027 - leather, RAL 9021 - tar), used by the Bundeswehr
The Bundeswehr consists of the unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities...
for military camouflage
Military camouflage is one of many means of deceiving an enemy. In practice, it is the application of colour and materials to battledress and military equipment to conceal them from visual observation. The French slang word camouflage came into common English usage during World War I when the...
In 1993 a new color matching system was introduced, tailored to the needs of architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...
A designer is a person who designs. More formally, a designer is an agent that "specifies the structural properties of a design object". In practice, anyone who creates tangible or intangible objects, such as consumer products, processes, laws, games and graphics, is referred to as a...
s and advertisers
Advertising is a form of communication used to persuade an audience to take some action with respect to products, ideas, or services. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering, although political and ideological advertising is also common...
. It started with 1688 colors and was revised to 1625 colors. Contrary to the preceding systems RAL DESIGN features no names and its numbering follows a scheme based on the CIELAB color space. Each color is represented by 7 digits, grouped in a triple and 2 pairs, representing hue, brightness and saturation. The colors of RAL CLASSIC and RAL DESIGN do not intersect.
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
A heavy metal is a member of a loosely-defined subset of elements that exhibit metallic properties. It mainly includes the transition metals, some metalloids, lanthanides, and actinides. Many different definitions have been proposed—some based on density, some on atomic number or atomic weight,...
such as lead, cadmium and chromates.
The newly developed, multifunctional double color fan RAL E2 underlines the character of RAL EFFECT. RAL EFFECT allows eco-efficient color production for all paint and lacquer producers.
The software for architects, interior decorators and all those who deal with colors in a creative way. It integrates the colors of RAL CLASSIC, RAL EFFECT and RAL DESIGN into graphics and CAD programms.
RAL Colour Feeling
"Colour Feeling 09/10" is primarily designed as a professional planning tool for designers, architects, interior designers, interior decorators and painters. It is meant to be a source of inspiration on how to creatively combine the main trend colors for the coming two years. But also general consumers can be inspired by the work book to develop their own ideas and to create their personal color design.
British Standards are the standards produced by BSI Group which is incorporated under a Royal Charter...
- Color chart
In color-related fields, a color chart is a flat, physical object colored with an arrangement of standardized color samples, used for color comparisons and measurements such as checking the color reproduction of an imaging system...
, other color systems and charts
- Federal Standard 595
The Federal Standard color system, officially named Federal Standard 595C - Colors Used in Government Procurement, is a United States Federal Standard, issued by the General Services Administration...
- Natural Color System
The Natural Color System is a proprietary perceptual color model published by the Scandinavian Colour Institute of Stockholm, Sweden. It is based on the color opponency description of color vision, first proposed by German physiologist Ewald Hering...
Pantone Inc. is a corporation headquartered in Carlstadt, New Jersey, USA. The company is best known for its Pantone Matching System , a proprietary color space...