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FED-STD-595C - Color Standards

Bulletin: GSA no longer stores or distributes color media related to FED-STD-595, “Colors Used in Government Procurement”. Consequently, all media (color chips, fandecks, etc.) have been discontinued by GSA, but may still be available from commercial sources.

GSA's role in defining color standards for federal agencies dates back to the 1949 legislation that created GSA. The Federal Standard 595, Colors Used in Government Procurement (Excel, 298KB) provides a listing of color coordinated data in an Excel file organized by a 5-digit color chip number. (See note below on international standard.)

A companion Narrative  (Word, 23KB) document is also available. It explains the associated instrumentation and scanning process, and sets user expectations regarding repeatability and reproducibility.

Note on Standards:  CIE L*a*b* (CIELAB) is the most complete color space specified by the International Commission on Illumination (in French the Commission internationale de l'éclairage, hence CIE). It describes all the colors visible to the human eye, and serves as a device-independent reference model. Recommended Gloss levels corresponding to "flat," "semigloss" and "gloss" denote only a representation of the gloss range indicated. In all cases, actual gloss value requirements must be as specified by the project manager.

The published Federal Standard itself, dated January 16, 2008, and associated Change Notice 1, dated July 31, 2008, are still active and available through public website DLA ASSIST. At that site, enter "595" into the Document Search field and select Fed-Std-595 from the search results.

Plans are underway to transition ownership of the relevant standard to SAE International. If you have questions about the standard or its transition, please submit them to


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Randall Schober
(816) 926-2429

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