RAL color fans and color cards - the most important colors always at hand!

Photo of RAL-K5-color fan glossy

Only printed color tables show the RAL colors in their true colors

If you search for RAL colors on the Internet, you are often confronted with graphics that show the colors that they want to represent. However, you have to keep in mind that a screen view of the colors is always very dependent on the monitor. A computer monitor works with the RGB color system, while the real RAL colors are mixed completely differently. Computer graphic artists who have to create the graphics in CMYK format also have a similar problem: The monitor can display color tones that can never be mixed with the CMYK system. For this reason, one should always keep in mind that the display on the screen can differ greatly from the color in reality.

Why computer monitors can't show the reality of colors

  1. For technical reasons, modern monitors often show different brightness, contrast and color tones when you change your point of view. This problem is particularly pronounced with inexpensive monitors.
  2. Bright colors are also represented in the RAL color table, but such colors are particularly difficult to reproduce realistically on the computer.
  3. The display quality of the monitors differs even from the same manufacturer - even from the same model series. This natural tolerance makes it difficult to present a reliable picture of a color on the monitor.
  4. Graphic artists often use calibrated monitors. These reproduce the colors most reliably. If you want to calibrate a monitor, you can, for example, use the Datacolor Spyder5PRO use.

In order to rule out these problems when making a color decision, the best choice is to use a real, printed RAL classic color fan.

Also available online: RAL color fan deck

You can of course also buy a RAL color fan online. I have put together three color fans for you in the following, which will help you choose your color.


RAL K7 color fan deck photo
On this photo you can see the scope of the RAL-K7 color card. The RAL color fan is available for about 17 EUR here on Amazon.

RAL K7 color fans

The RAL-K7 color card is available for around EUR 17 here at Amazon to have. It offers a good price-performance ratio. The colors are mixed using printing technology and not really painted, but are completely sufficient for the decision to build a house or other projects. The size is 13 x 5 cm.

Photo of RAL-K5 glossy - RAL color fan for glossy colors
The photo of the RAL Classic K5 color fan (glossy) shows well that each card has its own color. The color fan contains a total of 216 colors. The price is approx. 40 EUR on Amazon.

Color fan RAL K5 glossy

5 colors are printed in the glossy RAL Classic K213 color chart. In contrast to the K5 fan, there are not several color tones per "page" here, so that a comparison is easier because the color cards are clearly large. With the size of 15 x 5 cm, the color fan is still handy. You can find it for about 40 EUR here at Amazon as RAL color fan K5 glossy.

Photo of RAL K5 semi-gloss RAL color fan deck
This photo shows the RAL Classic K5 silk matt color fan. The matted colors differ from the glossy ones, so you should have both color fans in use. Cost point for this color card: approx. 40 EUR on Amazon.

Color fan deck RAL K5 silk matt

The color card RAL-Classic-K5-silk matt is equipped with 213 RAL tones. The matt RAL colors are particularly found in the metal and glass industry, but are also of interest to craftsmen or house builders as an aid in choosing a color. Since the matt colors are clearly different from the glossy colors, buying both color fans may be a good choice. This fan is also about 15 x 5 cm and also costs about 40 EUR on Amazon.

Tips for using the RAL color fans and color cards

In order to have a reliable view of the colors, one should keep an eye on the lighting conditions when looking at the color samples. Do you have artificial light or daylight? Halogen lamps or neon light? The incidence of light is also important: you should hold the color card of the fan at an angle to the light source or the sun to see how the color changes.

The color fan should always be stored away from sunlight. The heat is less of a problem, but the UV portion of the sunlight changes the colors a lot. One also speaks of the "lightfastness" of the colors. If this is low (some shades are) then the color will change rapidly with frequent exposure to UV light. Hence my tip: The RAL color fan retains its brilliant colors the longest in a drawer!

Well-known RAL colors and their use

There are some RAL colors that are often used in Germany. Here is a short list with the color numbers and in some cases also the areas of application of the color codes:

  • RAL 3000 - fire red; Signal color for prohibition, stop and emergency stop (DIN 4844); as well as the color of some fire engines
  • RAL 7016 - anthracite gray; Color for the Wehrmacht
  • RAL 7035 - light gray; Use on ICE and long-distance DB coaches
  • RAL 9006 - white aluminum; developed for Reichsbahn
  • RAL 9007 - gray aluminum; developed for Reichsbahn
  • RAL 9010 - pure white
  • RAL 9016 - traffic white
  • RAL 9002 - gray white
  • RAL 9005 - jet black; Black of the Germany flag

If you want to read more about the history of RAL colors, you can visit the Website of the RAL organization watch. There is also background information about the purpose of the RAL.











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