RAL 1021 is named rape yellow and is the gold used on the German flag. The luminous red used by the fire brigade is identified by the RAL colour number 3024. And RAL colour 7035 light grey is not only the colour used for ICE trains but many types of office furniture are also painted in this colour. These few examples demonstrate that RAL COLOURS can be found in almost all areas of life – and this has been the case for decades as we are celebrating 90 years of RAL COLOURS this year.

A historically evolved colour collection

The first colour card for the RAL CLASSIC colour collection, which is still indispensable in many sectors, was already making it easier to precisely define those colours that play an important role in public life and industry in 1927. Since then, RAL Colours has developed into a language of colour that is understood around the world because the colours are standardised and issued with numbers. They assist professional users and consumers to precisely define colour tones and also to coordinate them even over great distances without there being any risk of a misunderstanding.

The historically evolved colour collection RAL CLASSIC still represents the best known RAL colour collection even today. It comprises 213 colour tones that are utilised by many manufacturers for products and brands in a wide variety of application areas. And it simplifies the communication of colours for suppliers and ensures that the colours used provide a uniform impression over a long period of time. Alongside their use for official state colours, they can also be found, for example, in the construction sector, automobile industry and furniture sector.

Today, RAL Colours provide colour palettes for numerous fields of application. The first supplement to the RAL CLASSIC colour collection was the RAL DESIGN SYSTEM. This system was developed primarily for sophisticated decorative colour design. The multitude of colour nuances offered by the system are used by architects, designers and advertising agencies for their individual colour design both in Germany and abroad.

The virtual world of colour

RAL opened up the virtual world of colour with RAL DIGITAL. This software contains all 2,328 RAL Colours and allows you to navigate through the entire range of colours. The RAL iCOLOURS app simplifies the colour design process. It enables you to select a colour scheme for an object in just three steps: photograph the object, select the colour palette and then transfer the colour to the image. The range of digital tools is supplemented by the RAL COLORCATCH NANO colour measurement tool. It measures colours regardless of the surface or material and reliably finds the corresponding RAL Colour.

The RAL EFFECT colour collection is available to colour designers in industry. RAL EFFECT comprises 420 solid colour tones that can be combined with 70 metallic colour tones. Another special feature of RAL EFFECT is that it was the first RAL collection to use a water-based paint system and does not contain any heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and chromate.

RAL has provided the plastics-processing industry with RAL PLASTICS since 2010. It is an independent colour standard for plastics that greatly simplifies the colour design process for designers and manufactures because it removes the need for the time-consuming and costly translation of RAL Colours into paint samples on plastics.

Colours are subject to trends and influence interior design. RAL has published the RAL Colour Feeling colour trend book for architects, interior decorators and designers at regular intervals since 2005. The books present current trends and provide a multitude of ideas for creatively combining the most important colours. Other planning tools for designers are provided by RAL in its books THE COLOUR DICTIONARY, COLOURS OF HEALTH & CARE, COLOURS FOR HOTELS and COLOUR MASTER.

Over the past 90 years, RAL COLOURS has developed from a public institution that focussed on defining industrial colours into a truly global player. Thanks to sales partners in 42 countries and product availability in more than 85 countries, RAL COLOURS are today at home in all corners of the world. China has now developed into RAL’s second most important market and RAL now also has its own representative office in the country.

Foundation of the RAL ACADEMY

Alongside the continuous expansion of target group-specific products for both industrial and creative colour design, RAL COLOURS is increasingly switching from being purely a supplier of products to a modern service provider covering all aspects of the field of colour. The RAL ACADEMY founded in 2015 is thus providing a diverse range of target groups with comprehensive access to the field of colour and colour design. The programme ranges from short training sessions and presentations through to two-day events hosted by leading colour experts from the areas of science, research and teaching. As a result, RAL COLOURS is offering all professional users of colour the unique opportunity to continuously receive high quality further education and training.