Our heritage colors of red and green are an important element of our identity, and the colors we choose in communications should make everything we create instantly recognizable as Washington University. Use these color formulas, and match the correct formula to your project. These color values have been carefully selected to match as close as possible across all types of media and output.

For graphic artists creating university communications in Adobe Suite products such as Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign, you can directly import custom color libraries using the swatches palette within the software.  We have created custom palettes (.ASE files) for our brand colors in PMS spot, CMYK, and RGB models.

Primary design palette

In order to simplify and clarify our visual identity, red, gray and white have been selected as the primary color palette to use for communication design.

PMS 200
CMYK 0, 100, 59, 24

rgb(165, 20, 23)

PMS Cool Gray 11
CMYK 59, 41, 42, 15

rgb(108, 115, 115)

PMS Cool Gray 3
CMYK 20, 17, 17, 0

rgb(200, 200, 200)

Web-only grays

To meet accessibility standards on the web it may sometimes be necessary to darken or lighten the gray value for contrast and readability. In these web-only cases, these alternate grays may be used.

Web Only:
rgb(61, 61, 61)

Web Only:
rgb(238, 238, 238)

Accent color

Our green can be used with discretion as an accent color in page design. It should not generally be used directly adjacent to red. Equal combinations of red and green together can be visually challenging.

PMS 342
CMYK 100, 0, 60, 40

rgb(0, 115, 96)

Secondary color palette and tints

The secondary color palette consists of a complementary set of hues that are chosen to work well together, and with WashU red, to provide depth and variety to communications. These additional colors will provide designers broad artistic freedom and versatility in the development of communications media while maintaining a coordinated, integrated look. There are no designated colors for individual departments or areas of the university. Any of the colors within the palette may be used for any communication.

PMS 567
CMYK 100, 0, 60, 40

rgb(23, 62, 58)

PMS 576
CMYK 58, 22, 91, 4

rgb(120, 155, 74)

PMS 4685
CMYK 0, 10, 20, 10

rgb(225, 196, 172)

PMS 655
CMYK 100, 90, 36, 37

rgb(23, 39, 82)

PMS 7469
CMYK 95, 60, 29, 9

rgb(0, 95, 133)

PMS 7527
CMYK 15, 13, 621, 0

rgb(216, 210, 197)

PMS 7408
CMYK 2, 26, 100, 0

rgb(255, 204, 0)

PMS 159
CMYK 13, 75, 100, 0

rgb(209, 95, 39)

Web Only:
rgb(184, 83, 35)

PMS 2623
CMYK 70, 100, 28, 16

rgb(98, 36, 102)

PMS 325
CMYK 56, 0, 25, 0

rgb(103, 200, 199)

Web Only:
rgb(43, 130, 130)

Use Color Purposefully

Effective design schemes support content. It is preferable to select a single base color (generally red, gray or white) and introduce other colors strategically, based on how you will use the color and how it will complement your chosen photography. Limiting the palette to no more than three colors will help to keep the content from looking too complex and cluttered, and better reflect the WashU attributes of clarity and thoughtfulness.

Use color to create emphasis. Well-placed color can help create visual hierarchy, telegraph importance or similarity of elements on the page and provide organizational structure to
a layout.

Use color to create rhythm. Especially in communications that span multiple pages, color can signal a change in content, or provide a place for they eye to rest. Strategically placed shifts in color can help to keep the content engaging.

Consider text legibility. When choosing color, it is important to consider the best options from the palette that will convey information clearly and effectively. There must always be good contrast between text and the background color. Choose dark type on light backgrounds or white text on dark backgrounds. Text in any color against another color background must be considered carefully.