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RAL FAQ's

Do you have a question about RAL products?

Have a look at the frequently asked questions below to see if we have answered it, if not then please email Georgina on g.boulter@verivide.com and she will consult the RAL experts on your behalf.

1. Who are RAL?

RAL is a German company which operates on a non-profit basis. Originally set up in 1925 to provide objective and reliable Quality Marks (Gütezeichen) for labelling it branched into colour standards in 1927 and developed the RAL Classic colour matching system which defines colours for paints, coatings and plastics.
 

2. What is a RAL colour chart?

The RAL colour charts are booklets and fan decks containing coloured rectangles which represent the different RAL colours to be used for colour identification, product colour matching, design and inspiration. RAL Classic colour charts only have 213 colours and are small booklets similar to paint charts but the RAL Design charts have 1625 colours so they are larger reference books more similar to Pantone books.

There are also polypropylene reference panels which can be used for colour matching of plastics and other industrial materials.

3. What is a RAL paint code?

Each standardised RAL colour is issued with a number or code. This number or code is used to define the standard colours for paints, varnish, powder coatings and plastics etc. RAL is the most commonly used Central European colour standard especially in architecture, construction, industry and road safety. The RAL Classic codes are four digits.

4. Is there a method of translating RAL colours to Pantone colours or vice versa?

No, as these are entirely separate colour systems there has been no collaboration to produce a chart for translation from one system to another. Other companies (particularly paint companies) have attempted to cross reference these and can be found on the web but usually only offer alternatives for RAL Classic colours and the matches have not been quality checked so many are quite far apart in colour space.

We recommend that you purchase the relevant RAL Guide and Pantone Guide and check yourself under controlled lighting conditions in a light box.

5.  Is there a method of translating RAL colours to Dulux paint colours?

Akzo Nobel who manufacture Dulux among other brands can produce some RAL colours in various types of paint - go to the Dulux trade expert website to find out more: http://www.duluxtradepaintexpert.co.uk/colours/picker#products

6. Can I buy RAL paint or Powder coat directly from RAL or VeriVide?

No, RAL do not produce paint in RAL colours they simply standardise the colours so you can buy the colour card from RAL (or VeriVide or other worldwide distributer) and then go to a  DIY store or specialised paint supplier to buy the paint. They may have a paint mixing machine on site and can measure the colour card and mix paint to the correct colour to match the card. Likewise a manufacture of Powder coat formulas should be able to mix the colour required to match a RAL chart.

7. Do RAL provide certification of the colour Standards?

The RAL colour fan decks (RAL Classic and RAL Effect) are not provided with certification but on the inside cover is a hologram which proves that it is a genuine RAL product. These should be used for colour selection and inspiration but are not the official colour standards.

If official standards are required then the registers RAL 840-HR (matte) and RAL 841-GL (glossy) or their individual standard cards should be purchased for RAL Classic standards and the RAL E1 for RAL Effect standards. The Primary standard cards are binding colour standards for colour matching and quality control and include reflectance curves and XYZ values.

8. How many RAL colours are there?

There are 2328 RAL colours in total, 213 RAL Classic colours, 490 RAL Effect colours and 1625 RAL Design colours

9.  Is it possible to translate one RAL colour into another, for example RAL Classic into RAL Design?

No, this is not possible as the three different product lines RAL Classic, RAL Effect and RAL Design are completely separate ranges and independent from each other as they were formulated for different purposes. The software RAL Digital can be used to find the closest match to a colour from another product line.

10. What is the difference between RAL Classic colours and RAL Design colours?

 
RAL Classic is a collection of colours developed due to industry requirements, typically the colour of bridges or buildings and equipment for industrial applications as well as aeroplanes and trains are specified in Classic colours. In order to be in this collection the colour must be of non-business specific interest and not be subject to fashion trends. Did you know that the golden yellow of the German flag is RAL 1021 and that ICE trains are RAL 7035?
 
RAL Design is a colour system containing 1625 colours following the internationally recognised CIELab system. RAL Design colour codes have seven digits whereas RAL Classic colour codes only have four digits. Now 25 years old the RAL Design colour range offers 1,625 colours developed for architects and interior designers to provide a comprehensive range of colours for interior and decorative design. The RAL Design system colours are used in the RAL colour books which are used for reference, education and inspiration. RAL colour books are available for interior design of hotels and heathcare settings such as hospitals and clinics as well as domestic homes.
 
10. Why is there a RAL Effect collection?

This is an innovative collection for industrial and product design containing metallised effect colours. The 420 solid colours in the range are complemented by70 metallic colours which harmonise with the solid colours so that metallic effects can be created in coordinating colours.

11. Where can I get information on historical RAL colours?

For information on historical RAL colours please call RAL directly on +49 (0) 1805 748066

12. Why is there a big price difference between some RAL products?

The cheaper RAL fan decks are produced by printing in four colour digital printing which is a lower cost production method than the coated process which produces the higher priced fan decks and the individual standard cards. The coated process produces a higher accuracy of colour reproduction from one product to another and these products are supplied with the relevant XYZ colour space data and reflectance curve.

Check out what RAL products we sell by clicking here.

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