Pipe marking according to ISO 20560-1 standardisation

The main purpose of the ISO 20560-1 standard is to create a international standard replacing the variety of regulations within different countries and regions. The use of basic identification colours and (warning) symbols will help identify pipe contents and any hazards more quickly.

By investing in a good and clear pipe marking, you avoid unnecessary suffering, high costs and also guarantee a better understanding of the construction!

Key points at a glance

A number of factors such as substance type (category), pipe diameter and flow direction strongly influence the style and format of pipe marking.

The basic elements of a pipe marker

A correct pipe marker consists of 4 basic elements:

1. Basic identification colour
2. Name of substance/content
3. Flow direction indicators (arrows)
4. Warning symbols, GHS symbols (or both)

Hazardous substances


Gas (liquid or gaseous)

Firefighting substances

Liquids and solids




Substance categories in colour (basic identification colours)

A significant advantage of the ISO 20560-1 standardisation is the establishment of basic identification colours, the colour codings that will be applied worldwide. This is invaluable for both the industry and emergency and rescue services.

There are 3 different sizes of pipe markers where the width of the base identification colour is determined by the diameter of the pipe marking.

Pipes up to 150mm

The basic identification colour of pipes up to 150 mm in diameter should be at least 85 mm wide.

Pipes from 150mm ~ 500mm

The minimum width of the base identification colour of pipes with a diameter of 150 to 500mm is 120mm.

Pipes from 500mm

For pipes with diameters from 500mm and larger, the basic ID colour should be at least 200mm wide.

Other guidelines and rules

There are some additional guidelines that determine the layout, positioning and visibility of a pipe marker.

The minimum letter height is 7mm and symbols must be at least 20mm high

The minimum height of the flow direction indicator (arrow) is 10mm

Pipes that are visible on two sides require (pipe) markings on both sides

Pipe marking must be placed on imprtant places such as tap and branch points, valves, on either side of walls and other zone boundaries and at the beginning and end of pipe racks, etc.

More details can be found on the official ISO 20560-1 website: https://www.iso.org/standard/71570.html

Printing your own pipe markings or ordering ready-made?

We offer a variety of pipe marking solutions including printers that allow you to print all the pipe marking you need yourself, in single or multiple colours. You can use our exclusive SMS-R1 Pipe marking software that allows you to easily and quickly print all pipe markings according to ISO 20560-1 standards. Would you rather order ready-made pipe markings anyway? That’s also possible!

The ideal printer for pipe marking

When it comes to pipe marking, the SMS-R1 is the most advanced and user-friendly system. With this printer, you can produce pipe markers on high speed, in multiple colours and various sizes.

To make pipe marking printing as easy as possible, we have developed a exclusive Pipe Marking application, that lets you effortlessly print pipe markers that fully comply with ISO 20560-1:2020 standards.

Easily manage the substance database yourself by adding new substances, changing existing substances or deleting them.

Once you know which pipe needs marking, the application makes it easy to choose the right size sticker.

Choose from flow direction indicators (arrows) with or without background colour and set the background colour of the symbols yourself.

Do you want all pipe markers with the same flow direction or do you prefer different ones? The flow direction is chosen flexibly.

GHS and warning symbols are easy to find using the icon legend.

You can use the additional text field for specifications, instructions and other/extra information.

Download the free demo version now!

Don’t have an SMS-R1 yet but still want to try the software without any obligation? Download the demo with almost full functionality.

Edit, delete or add substances
Choose flow direction, style and size
View print previews
Choose from 12 languages
Try without time limit

The demo is suitable for Windows and requires installation of these components:

NiceLabel PowerForms (version 2019.3 or higher) Download

SMS-R1 printer driver (versio 18e or higher) Download

Microsoft Access Runtime (version 2013 32bit or higher) Download

Printing simple pipe markers

An alternative method of pipe marking is printing on a continuous tape roll, where the colour tape and colour ribbon together make up the right colour combination.
The continuous tapes are available in various colours and in standard widths of 15mm, 30mm, 60mm and 100mm and are cut to the desired length by the printer.

For single-colour printing of pipe markings, we recommend a SMS-430 label printer or the portable TORO label printer.

Desktop and Portable printers for simple pipe marking


  • Print up to 104mm wide
  • 300 DPI print resolution
  • Automatic cutter
  • USB & LAN connection


  • Print up to 101mm wide
  • 300 DPI print resolution
  • Portable & IT independent
  • USB-A & USB-B connection

Ordering ready-made pipe markings

Pipe marking on a roll

For large projects such as fitting out a new factory or building, our pre-printed pipe marking on a roll an ideal way of saving costs and time.

Our pre-printed rolls are laminated against UV and chemical influences and are self-cleaning, flexible and water-repellent.

Need help setting up your project? Our advisers are at your service!

Pipe marking on a roll