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The language of color

Resources | September 1, 2010 | By:

I want to bid on a cover project, but the fabric has to be the color RAL 5003. What is that?

Color has a language of its own. One person’s simple green might be ‘hunter green’ to one person and ‘forest green’ to another—and neither of them match. To cut down on variances and manufacturing confusion, color matching systems were devised as a way to identify, match and communicate about color. In the U.S., Pantone is the one that reigns, but in Europe, the RAL system is used. RAL 5003 is a color called ‘sapphire blue.’ RAL and Pantone colors do not match exactly, but we’ve been told it’s similar to Pantone 540. On the other hand, we’ve also been told it’s close to Pantone 648C. Your best bet is probably to obtain samples and see which is acceptable to your customer.


SOURCE RAL gemeinnützige GmbH

Juli Case is IFAI‘s information and technical services manager.

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