Federal Standard 595 - Colors Used in Government Procurement
The Federal Standard color system, officially named Federal Standard 595C -
Colors Used in Government Procurement, is a United States Federal Standard,
issued by the General Services Administration.
Federal Standard 595 is the color description and communication system
developed in 1956 by the United States government. Its origins reach back to
World War II when a problem of providing exact color specifications to military
equipment subcontractors in different parts of the World became a matter of
Similarly to other color standards of the pre-digital era such as RAL Classic
or British Standard 4800, the Federal Standard 595 is a color collection rather
than color space. The standard is built upon a set of color shades where a
unique reference number is assigned to each color. This collection is then
printed on sample color chips and provided to the interested parties. In
contrast, modern color systems such as Natural Color System and RAL Design are
built upon a color space paradigm, providing for much more flexibility and
wider range of applications.
Each color in the Federal Standard 595 range is identified by a five-digit
code. The colors in the standard have no official names, just numbers.
The initial standard FED-STD-595 issued in March 1956 contained 358 colors.
Revision A issued in January 1968 counted 437 colors. Current Revision B Change
1 from January 1994 counts 611 colors.
Federal Standard 595C was published January 16, 2008. No previous colors were
removed. Thirty nine new colors were added for a total of 650 colors. On July
31, 2008 595C Change Order 1 was published, changing the numbers of 8 of colors
added in revision C. The revision C master reference list of colors provides
all available reference information for these colors, including tristimulus
values, pigments and 60° gloss level and color name as applicable. Note: As
before, all color matching must still be done via color reference chips.