Can I translate NCS Colour to RAL Colour?
The quickest way to translate an NCS colour reference to RAL, if you have a sample of the NCS colour, is to use a RAL Color Reader
this will measure any sample target and give the closest RAL number.
An alternative is to do a visual check of the NCS colours in the NCS Index
against one of the RAL books - the RAL Design system
is likely to have the closest match as RAL Classic colours are more vibrant.
Or you can Order a Colour conversion from NCS Colour in Sweden (they will check visually) https://ncscolour.com/product/colour-translation-notation-to-notation/
What is RAL?
RAL is a German company. In 1925, German industry together with the government of the time decided to standardise and define the quality requirements for selected products and ensured that adherence to these requirements was monitored. The foundation of the “ReichsAusschuss für Lieferbedingungen” (National Board for Delivery Conditions) – since known as RAL, established an independent institution that is to this day responsible for the approval of RAL Gütezeichen (Quality Marks).
It is an umbrella organisation for all Quality Assurance Associations, and is the independent institution responsible for the creation of quality assurance processes in Germany. They have since branched into several sub companies to provide quality marks (labels) for the environment, logos, and colours.
RAL Farben (Colours) has been standardising and labelling colours and colour tones since 1927 when the Classic range was launched.
They are considered to be the leading colour standard for automotive, aerospace, architecture and design. Many prominent companies specify their brand colours in RAL numbers and use them for their vehicles and buildings. You will often find industrial paint, powder coat, epoxy resins, plastics, varnishes and lacquer coatings specified in RAL colours
What is a RAL colour chart?
RAL colour charts are booklets and fan decks containing printed or coated coloured rectangles which represent the different RAL colours. Used for colour identification, product colour matching, design and inspiration.
There are 3 different ranges of RAL colours - Classic, Design and Effect which are used for different products.
Used for building materials, company logos and vehicle livery, RAL Classic colour charts contain up to 216 colours, read the blog
we wrote for more information.
RAL Design charts have 1825 colours and are larger reference books, more similar to Pantone books, used by Architects and Interior designers.
RAL Effect charts are small charts with up to 490 colours.
Polypropylene standards in selected Classic and Design colours can be used for colour matching of plastics and other industrial materials.
What is a RAL paint code?
A RAL paint code is the RAL colour reference number. The code only refers to the colour standard not the type of paint or other material.
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 but the RAL Effect codes are 3 digits followed by a letter and the RAL Design codes are a sequence of three sets of numbers which refer to the lightness, chroma and hue of the colours.
Paint suppliers can match to a RAL paint code. They may request a colour standard if they are unfamiliar with the code supplied.
Can I convert RAL to Pantone or vice versa?
To convert RAL to Pantone and Pantone to RAL is difficult. These are separate colour systems and we recommend buying a book of each to check.
Each company owns the IP of their respective colours and 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 RAL and Pantone colours but they cannot always be trusted. If you search the web you may find paint suppliers offering translations for RAL Classic colours but these can be quite far apart in colour space. RAL Classic colours were developed for external paint colours whereas Pantone was developed for printing inks and later for textile dyes.
To convert RAL to Pantone we recommend that you purchase the relevant RAL Guide
and Pantone Guide
and check yourself under controlled lighting conditions in a light booth
Can I get RAL colours in Dulux paint?
Can I get RAL colours in Dulux paint?
A small range of RAL Classic colours can be purchased in Dulux trade paint
, as can some British Standard colours.
Dulux is an Akzo Nobel brand name which was originally developed by ICI. The brand name ‘Dulux’ is a combination of ‘Durable’ and ‘Luxury’. Most colours marketed under the brand are their own colour range with unique names designed to appeal to the public.
Do you sell RAL paint or Powder coat?
VeriVide do not sell RAL paint or Powder coat. We can supply a colour standard to take to your supplier, to measure and mix the colour.
RAL paint or powder coat is not manufactured by RAL. Paint manufacturers are licenced to use RAL colours in their paints and coating formulas, likewise manufacturers of resins, varnishes and plastics also can apply for a RAL licence.
RAL standardise the colours so you can buy the colour card from VeriVide, RAL or other worldwide distributor) 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 manufacturer of Powder coat formulas should be able to mix the colour required to match a RAL chart.
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.
How many RAL colours are there?
RAL is a colour standard system containing a total of 2531 colours, 1825 in the Design range, 216 in the Classic range and 490 in the Effect range.
RAL is predominantly used for specifying the colour of paints, varnishes, epoxy resins, plastics and powder coated metals. Architects and Interior designers use RAL colours for construction projects and they are also used in aerospace, automotive and marine exteriors and interiors.
Can I convert RAL colour into another RAL?
No, it is not possible to convert a RAL colour into a RAL colour from a different range.
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. For example if you are given a RAL Design code this is one of 1825 colours whereas the RAL Classic range only has 216 colours.
To find the closest RAL colour use a RAL Color Reader
to measure your colour target.
What is the difference between RAL Classic and RAL Design?
The difference between RAL Classic and RAL Design ranges is in the type of the colours and also the amount of colours.
RAL Classic is a collection of 216 industrial colours developed to meet 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. The RAL Classic colours are often used to specify paint and powder coated items as well as resins e.g. window frames and garage doors. 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 1825 colours following the internationally recognised CIELab system. RAL Design colour codes have seven digits whereas RAL Classic colour codes only have four digits. The Design colour range contains more subtle colours than the Classic range, developed for architects and interior designers. It is intended to provide a comprehensive range of colours for interior and decorative design. The RAL Design system colours are also 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 healthcare settings such as hospitals and clinics as well as domestic homes.
What is the RAL Effect collection?
RAL Effect is an innovative collection for industrial and product design containing metallised effect colours. The 420 solid colours in the range are complemented by 70 metallic colours which harmonise with the solid colours. The solid colours are all created from water based paints whereas the metallics are acrylic. Ideal for creation of co ordinating metallic effects.
To view the complete RAL Effect range purchase E3 fan deck
or the E1 box
of colour standards, alternatively E4
contains the metallics only.