RAL Codes

A RAL code is a reference number for RAL colours. This code, which is not specific to any type of paint or material, is a key tool in various industries. It’s used to identify and standardise colours for paints, varnishes, powder coatings, plastics, and other materials, making it an essential part of colour selection and matching processes.

The History of the RAL Color System

The RAL Color System was established in Germany in the early 1920s by the Reichs-Ausschuss für Lieferbedingungen und Gütesicherung (RAL), which translates to the National Commission for Delivery Terms and Quality Assurance. Its primary purpose was to standardise colour references and improve communication across different industries. It was officially introduced in 1927 and became widely accepted due to its reliability and consistency. Today, the RAL Color System is used for colour matching and identification. Professionals can use RAL colour swatches or digital colour tools to compare and select the closest matches.

What is the RAL colour Match Reader?

What is the RAL colour Match Reader?

The RAL Color Match Reader colorimeter is a small, portable, and accurate colour-measuring device. Colour professionals rely on its 92% measuring accuracy through its advanced optical lens and six powerful high-CRI white LEDs illuminating the colour target.

Providing fast, precise, and reliable colour measurements for architecture, interior design, construction, and industrial design. Accurately match the correct RAL shade every time, provided the surface is flat.

This tool is cost-effective for decorators, building contractors, and designers who need to match a colour from an existing item or colour scheme. With the colour reader, you can quickly perform a RAL colour match and communicate the results to your manufacturer or supplier within seconds.


What is the RAL colour chart?

The RAL colour chart is a specialised chart created by the RAL Colour Institute to display different colours of paint, powder, plastics, varnish etc. It is the standard chart used when choosing colours for painting, powder coating, etc.

In addition to the classic chart, named RAL K7, which includes 215 standards and regular colours with no particular sheen or shimmer, there is also a reference chart specifically dedicated to glossy, metallic, and pearlescent coatings.

Depending on the colours that suit your needs, the RAL Institute has developed unique software so that design industry developers can accurately display paint colours on their products.

There are three primary RAL colour collections:

There are a total of 2,540 RAL colours, with 216 shades in the RAL CLASSIC colour collection, 1,825 shades in the RAL DESIGN SYSTEM plus, and a selection of 490 shades available in the RAL EFFECT colour collection.

How the RAL Color System Works

The RAL Color System is based on a standardised set of colour samples, each identified by a unique RAL code. These codes consist of four digits in combination with the letters ‘RAL’ (e.g. RAL 9011). The first digit is a code number (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 sequentially. The name of a colour shade (e.g. ‘Graphite Black’ for RAL 9011) is a description of a specific colour designed to help avoid any potential confusion in the creative process.

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