Can I buy RAL paint directly from RAL or NationalColourSupplies?

No. neither produces nor sells the paint itself. RAL is exclusively involved in the definition and standardisation of colour shades. So, you can buy colour charts manufactured by RAL. The paint in RAL colours you can source from Paint suppliers.

What is the difference between the RAL Classic products, K1, K7, F5 and K5?

These all give the same information, ie all the Classic colors, the big advantage of the K5 is the area of color shown is much larger, plus the choice of Gloss or Semi-Matte. The other guides are Gloss finish.

What is the difference between RAL CLASSIC, DESIGN & EFFECT colours?

RAL has 3 systems. The below is their explanation.

  1.     RAL Classic - 210 colours
    This has been around since the 1920's and is the most commonly used colour system in the industry. You recognise this by the 4 digit numbers. These are the standard colours. Example of a RAL Classic color is RAL 1005.
  2.     RAL Design - 1825 colours
    This system came out about 20 years ago. RAL put this system together as the demand for more pastel colours was growing. All colours are in a semi matt finish. These you recognise by the 7 digit number(s). In October 2018 an additional 200 RAL Design colours were added to the range.
    Example of a RAL Design colour is RAL 010 80 10.
  3.    RAL Effect - 490 colours, all are water based
    This colour system was launched by RAL 5 years ago. This system has 420 solid colours plus 70 corresponding metallic colours. RAL has launched this as the EU recommendation for paint to be lead free is coming in effect . All 490 colours can be matched with a small number of pigments so this makes it also easier for the paint industry as they do not have to purchase so many different pigments. Example of a RAL Effect colour is 3+1 numbers (or M for metallic) ie 180-1 or 180-M.

How is the RAL CLASSIC colour collection structured?

RAL CLASSIC is a collection of currently 210 colours 188 of which are body colours, 2 are micaceous iron colours, 5 are daylight luminous colours and 15 others are pearlescent colours.

In order to be admitted to this collection a colour must be of superior interest and should not be subject to fashion trends. For example, RAL 5002 is the blue of THW, the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief.

How are the designations of the RAL CLASSIC colours formed?

The RAL CLASSIC colours have a four-digit number in combination with the letters "RAL" (e.g. RAL 1028). The first digit is a system 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. melon yellow for RAL 1028) is an auxiliary designation. For a definite identification of a colour one should use both in order to avoid confusion caused by possible transposition of digits.

Do RAL DESIGN or Effect colours - like RAL CLASSIC colours - have colour names in addition to the number?

No. With 1625 colours the RAL DESIGN and the RAL Effects Systems simply have too many colours to give a name to each of them. The colours are systematically spread in the CIELab color space and the number of the colour indicates the location in the colour space.

How are the numbers of the RAL DESIGN System composed?

The RAL DESIGN System uses the first three digits to identify the hue, the following first pair of digits defines the lightness L while the second pair identifies the chroma C. For example, the RAL DESIGN System colour 270 30 20 is a dark blue with a hue H of 270, a lightness L of 30 and a chroma C of 20. Special attention should be paid in this respect to the designation of non-coloured grey shades. As their hue H is 0 the initial zeros may not simply be dropped because the remaining four digits would inevitably lead to confusion with the RAL CLASSIC colour shades. So, for example, the RAL DESIGN System colour 000 90 00 is a white shade (hue H = 0 and chroma C = 0) and it is not the designation of a RAL CLASSIC colour using the code 9000.

Are the RAL CLASSIC colours included in the RAL DESIGN System?

No, but the RAL CLASSIC body colours and daylight luminous colours can be shown in the CIELab colour space.

Does the RAL colour system also exist in a digital form?

The 3.0 RAL DIGITAL software contains not only the 210 RAL CLASSIC colours but also the 1625 RAL DESIGN System colours. Those who are interested in the 210 RAL CLASSIC colours only will use the 2.5 RAL CLASSIC Colour Data software.

Does the RAL DESIGN color system meet a standard or an agreement?

The structure of the RAL DESIGN System follows the internationally accepted L*a*b* color measuring system developed by CIE (Commission Internationale d'Eclairage) in 1976.

In this system, value represents the red-green axis (negative values for green, positive ones for red), value b represents the yellow-blue axis (negative values for blue, positive ones for yellow) and L represents the lightness (zero stands for the ideal black while 100 represents the ideal white). The grey or neutral point lies at a = b = 0. The CIELab formula is described in DIN 6174.