Federal Standard 595 is the color description and communication system developed in 1956 by the United States government. Its origins reach back toWorld War IIwhen a problem of providing exact color specifications to military equipment subcontractors in different parts of the world became a matter of urgency.
Similarly to other color standards of the pre-digital era, such asRAL colour standardorBritish Standard 4800, Federal Standard 595 is a color collection rather than acolor 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 interested parties. In contrast, modern color systems such as theNatural Color System(NCS) are built upon acolor spaceparadigm, 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.