Do you have questions about RAL colors or the RAL color standard? On this page we answer frequently asked questions about the RAL color standard and the RAL products we sell.
- What does the abbreviation 'RAL' mean?
- What's the history of RAL?
- How is the RAL Classic system structured?
- What does 'RAL Design' mean?
- What does 'RAL Effect' mean?
- What does 'RAL Plastics' mean?
- Can a color from a different color system be translated into a RAL color?
- I need to figure out in what color a physical object was painted. How do I do that?
- Why is the color display of RAL 9006 and 9007 inaccurate?
- Where can I find more information on RAL?
- What are HEX codes?
- What are RGB codes?
- What are CMYK codes?
- What are HSL codes?
- What are LRV codes?
- How many colors do the RAL K7 and RAL K5 color fan contain?
- Do you also sell individual RAL color swatches?
- Do you sell RAL paint?
- Is a discount possible when purchasing a large quantity of RAL color fans?
- Are you able to supply personalized RAL color fans to my company?
- What about the VAT on your invoices?
- Could you send me my invoice (again)?
- When will I receive my order?
- Can I cancel my order?
- Can I return the product(s) which I have ordered?
- I want to file a complaint. How do I do that?
What does the abbreviation 'RAL' mean?
'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'.
What's the history of RAL?
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. In the 1960s the colors were given supplemental names to avoid confusion in case of transposed digits. Since the expansion in 2020, RAL Classic consists of 216 colors.
How is the RAL Classic system structured?
RAL Classic is a collection of 216 colors. 2 are micaceous iron colors, 6 are fluorescent colors and 15 others are pearlescent colors. These types can be retrieved using the search screen. The RAL Classic colors have a 4-digit number in combination with the letters 'RAL' (for example RAL 1028). 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). The remaining 3 digits are chosen sequentially.
What does 'RAL Design' mean?
In 1993 RAL introduced a new color matching system, tailored to the needs of architects, designers and advertisers. The RAL Design collection includes 1,825 colors. The colors of RAL Classic and RAL Design do not intersect.
What does 'RAL Effect' mean?
RAL Effect contains 420 solid colors and 70 metallic colors. It is the first color system from RAL to be based on waterborne paint. Heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and chromates are not used. On the search screen, the solid colors and metallic colors of RAL Effect can be requested separately from each other.
What does 'RAL Plastics' mean?
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. RAL Plastics P2 shows 200 RAL Design colors as a plastic standard.
Can a color from a different color system be translated into a RAL color?
It's not possible to translate the colors from one color system into another. The reason is that the colors in each color system are fixed and don't exist in other systems. You can only find similar colors by comparing different color samples.
I need to figure out in what color a physical object was painted. How do I do that?
We recommend to compare the color of the object with the color samples in a physical color fan. Please note that it can be a RAL color or a color from a different color system which is used by an individual paint manufacturer for example. You should also take into account that the color on the object could have faded over time. RAL offers an electronic device which selects a RAL color by 'scanning' the object. See the RAL Color Reader on the website of RAL.
Why is the color display of RAL 9006 and 9007 inaccurate?
There is one major difference with RAL 9006 and RAL 9007 compared to the other RAL Classic colors. The other colors are all opaque colors in different hues suitable for all colored materials. With every new edition these color samples can be produced within a very precise tolerance. This is not true for RAL 9006 and RAL 9007.
Both colors originate from the corrosion protection program of the former Reichsbahn (German state railway). These colors were mandatory for corrosion protection of steelwork (train stations, bridges etc.) and rolling stock (roofs etc.). The colors also had similar functions in the former German air force and navy. They were never intended to be used for decorative purposes. RAL 9006 is essentially produced using aluminum particles and RAL 9007 with iron oxide in a layered structure with small amounts of aluminum powder. The Reichsbahn registered all its colors with RAL so they could use the color codes when placing orders. Therefore RAL 9006 and RAL 9007 were included, but since the 1970's their inclusion has led to misunderstandings.
RAL 9006 and RAL 9007 were used by the market to indicate requirements, even though there was no uniform finish in existence for the standards. In addition, both colors need a transparent layer in order to use them for decorative surfaces. This often results in a classification as a special coating at a special price level. Problems often occur when RAL 9006 and RAL 9007 are specified, when the use combines coatings of various types (paint, varnish, powder coatings). Differences in color are then very common. Therefore RAL recommends the use of RAL 9006 and RAL 9007 for corrosion protection only and not for decorative purposes.
Where can I find more information on RAL?
For more information on the RAL color system and/or the RAL organization we recommend to visit the website of RAL at RAL.de.
What are HEX codes?
Wikipedia has the following description on HEX color codes: "A HEX triplet is a six-digit, three-byte hexadecimal number used in HTML, CSS, SVG, and other computing applications to represent colors. The bytes represent the Red, Green and Blue components of the color. One byte represents a number in the range 00 to FF (in hexadecimal notation), or 0 to 255 in decimal notation. This represents the least (0) to the most (255) intensity of each of the color components." You can find more information about HEX codes and web colors on Wikipedia.
What are RGB codes?
Wikipedia uses the following description of RGB codes: "The RGB color model is an additive color model in which Red, Green and Blue light are added together in various ways to reproduce a broad array of colors. The name of the model comes from the initials of the three additive primary colors: Red, Green and Blue. The main purpose of the RGB color model is for the sensing, representation and display of images in electronic systems, such as televisions and computers." More information on RGB codes can be found on Wikipedia.
What are CMYK codes?
The abbreviation 'CMYK' stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and BlacK (or Key) and is mainly used for printing inks. A large number of colors can be made by mixing these 4 basic colors. The CMYK code of a color indicates the coverage rate of the 4 inks that are needed to obtain that color. More information about CMYK can be found on Wikipedia.
What are HSL codes?
Wikipedia uses the following description of HSL codes: "HSL (for Hue, Saturation, Lightness) and HSV (for Hue, Saturation, Value; also known as HSB, for Hue, Saturation, Brightness) are alternative representations of the RGB color model, designed in the 1970s by computer graphics researchers to more closely align with the way human vision perceives color-making attributes. In these models, colors of each hue are arranged in a radial slice, around a central axis of neutral colors which ranges from black at the bottom to white at the top." More information on HSL codes can be found on Wikipedia.
What are LRV codes?
Wikipedia uses the following description of LRV codes: "In architecture, light reflectance value (LRV), is a measure of visible and usable light that is reflected from a surface when illuminated by a light source. The measurement is most commonly used by design professionals, such as architectural color consultants, architects, environmental graphic designers and interior designers. LRVs are frequently reported on paint chips or paint samples. The values are used by lighting designers to determine the number and type of light fixtures needed to provide proper lighting for interior spaces." More information on LRV codes can be found on Wikipedia.
How many colors do the RAL K7 and RAL K5 color fan contain?
Both RAL color fans contain all 216 colors of the RAL Classic system. The RAL K5 color fan has larger color samples than the RAL K7 color fan. Each page of the RAL K7 contains 5 colors; the RAL K5 features one full page for each color.
Do you also sell individual RAL color swatches?
Yes, we offer individual RAL color samples for sale. See our webshop for more information.
Do you sell RAL paint?
We don't sell paint in RAL colors. We recommend to contact a local paint supplier to order RAL paint. Almost all DIY stores ('Do It Yourself') have RAL paint in stock or are able to mix the required paint for you.
Is a discount possible when purchasing a large quantity of RAL color fans?
This depends on the desired quantity. Please contact us for more information.
Are you able to supply personalized RAL color fans to my company?
Yes, we can supply you with customized RAL color fans. This means you can have RAL color fans with your own front and/or back cover. We can take care of the design of the front and/or back cover for you (based on your instructions) or you can send us a custom made PDF file. Please contact us for more information.
What about the VAT on your invoices?
VAT is always shown on our invoices for the Netherlands and also on invoices for countries in the European Union when a VAT number has not been provided. Are you located in the Netherlands? Then we will charge 21% VAT. Is your company located in the European Union, except the Netherlands? If you enter your valid European VAT number during ordering, we will not charge VAT.
Could you send me my invoice (again)?
If you contact us, we can send you your invoice manually by e-mail.
When will I receive my order?
When you add one or more products to your cart in our color fan webshop, you can proceed to the checkout screen. On that screen you can select your country to see the estimated number of days it takes to receive the order at your address. We ship orders as fast as possible; on all business days.
Can I cancel my order?
Can I return the product(s) which I have ordered?
I want to file a complaint. How do I do that?
You can find the answer to this question on the Complaints page.