RAL is an European color matching system which defines colors for paint, coatings and plastics. The RAL color standard is administrated by the RAL Deutsches Institut für Gütesicherung und Kennzeichnung. ‘RAL’ is the abbreviation of ‘Reichs-Ausschuß für Lieferbedingungen und Gütesicherung’. This name can be translated in English as ‘National Commission for Delivery Terms and Quality Assurance’. This website is not affiliated with the official RAL organization.
In 1927 the German RAL organization invented a collection of 40 colors. Prior to that date manufacturers and customers had to exchange color samples to describe a tint, whereas from then on they would rely on numbers. With tints constantly added to the collection, the collection was revised in 1961. From that moment the color system consists of 213 colors, which is still in use to this day. In the 1960s the colors were given supplemental names to avoid confusion in case of transposed digits.