What is the difference between RAL Classic colors and RAL Design system colors?

RAL CLASSIC is a collection that was mainly formed due to industry requirements. RAL DESIGN, on the other hand, is a color system containing 1,625 colors following the internationally recognized CIELab system. RAL DESIGN color codes have seven digits, whereas RAL CLASSIC color codes only have four digits.

Where is the difference between four digit RAL Color numbers and four digit color numbers with a hyphen before the last digit (-m)?

RAL color numbers with four digit and a hyphen are from the collection RAL EFFECT, whereas the regular four digit codes come from RAL CLASSIC. The color shades marked with -M are the 70 metallic colors from RAL EFFECT and correspond with the respective color row from 420 solid colors.

How is the RAL Classic color collection structured?

RAL CLASSIC is a collection of currently 213 colors, 2 of which are micaceous iron colors, 5 are daylight luminous colors and 15 others are pearlescent colors. In order to be admitted to this collection, a color must be of non-business-specific 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.

Does RAL Classic include the camouflage colors of Germany’s armed forces?

No, the colors of the German Bundeswehr are listed separately. Currently, these are the camouflage colors:

  • RAL 1039-F9 Sand beige
  • RAL 1040-F9 Clay beige
  • RAL 6031-F9 Bronze green
  • RAL 6040-F9-Light olive
  • RAL 7050-F9 Camouflage grey
  • RAL 8027-F9 Leather brown
  • RAL 8027-F9 Leather brown
  • RAL 8031-F9 Sand brown
  • RAL 9021-F9 Tar black

As well as RAL 6031 HR bronze green for non-camouflage use. More information about RAL F9 camouflage colors.

How are the designations of the RAL Classic colors being formed?

The RAL CLASSIC colors have a four-digit number in combination with the brand “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 color shade (e.g. melon yellow for RAL 1028) is an auxiliary designation. For a definite identification of a color, both should be used in order to avoid confusion.

How does the new inclusion of a color into the RAL Classic color collection work?


  1. The color must be of overriding public interest and not be subject to passing fashion.
  2. The color must be at a certain minimum distance from the ones already existing.
  3. It must be possible to produce the shade by use of commercial pigments that have not been found to be environmentally hazardous.
  4. The color must – with a few exceptions – have good opacity on ‘black-white’.
  5. It must be possible to manufacture the shade in a way as to ensure a good resistance to weathering.

If all requirements are met and RAL decides to include the shade on the register the procedure will be as follows:

  • RAL receives a binding opaquely painted sample of the color to be included.
  • RAL arranges for the manufacture of the color cards the supervision of which is the exclusive task of RAL.


  • RAL receives a non-opaquely painted sample, e.g. a fabric, printing ink or plastic sample of the color to be included.
  • Specimen coatings of reproduced samples are submitted to the applicant for matching.
  • Upon receiving applicant’s approval the manufacture of the color cards and their supervision is in the hands of RAL exclusively.

The color card can be obtained by everybody from RAL. The use of the color will not be limited to the original use.
We will be pleased to inform you personally about all details and costs.

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