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Color Palette

Things to consider when using the ASU color palette:

  • Maroon and gold are recognizable as brand-specific colors and should always be considered for use in your project.
  • Consider the addition of black and white as new primary colors in our color palette to serve as foundational colors that allow maroon and gold to shine.
  • Consider the tone of your project when utilizing color. The use of too many bright colors can appear overly primary. The use of too many dark colors as well as a liberal use of black can appear too serious. Use color to accurately reflect the message you are trying to convey.
  • Light colors can have a tendency to be recessive and can get lost on a white background. ASU is big and bold.
  • Be careful not to try to use every color in our palette. The use of too many colors can have a negative effect on messaging.
  • Bright colors are intended to be used as accent colors and provide contrast as needed.

Primary colors

In addition to maroon and gold, consider black and white key colors in ASU's primary color palette. Black type on a white background or knockout type on an image will provide a strength and clarity in your messaging. Reducing the reliance on maroon and gold does not weaken brand recognition. In fact, reserving specific white clear space for the logo and its iconic school colors ensures that it does not have visual competition, and that it will always shine. Over many years ASU has developed equity in our core colors of maroon and gold and it is intended that this tradition continue. These two colors should still define who we are as an educational institution.

Color-build consistency

Some university designers will notice that the CMYK breakdown has changed slightly from that used in the past. This was in response to discrepancies of matching Gold 123 and Maroon 208 across different mediums and stock types. It was decided that starting with a new baseline should alleviate confusion and help beginning and experienced designers ensure the outcome desired. Because of advances in printing technology and newer stock types being available, the PANTONE COLOR BRIDGE® coated and uncoated system was established. PANTONE has developed its product line by creating side-by-side printed comparisons of solid PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM colors and their closest four-color process equivalents.


Alternate ASU primary colors for special use

Alternate Maroon 216C

This is an approved alternate maroon for use in outdoor signage applications, and will better match uniform fabrics and textiles. 

Merchandise and outdoor uses: In certain applications, Maroon 208 can reproduce too red and can lean toward pink. Licensees/retailers prefer to use the darker shade, Maroon 216C. The Brand Council advocates using Maroon 216C for all ASU logos and marks that currently use Maroon 208 when those marks are used in merchandise, banners or signage that will be used outdoors.

Alternate Gold 109U

To be used only for printing gold on uncoated papers as a closer match to the Gold 123 coated value.

Note: When using uncoated stock and trying to match Gold 123, it has been shown that starting with Gold 109U will give better results. It is recommended that a press check be conducted to ensure color accuracy.


Secondary colors

When more color is desired, pure bright colors feel clear and direct. However, these colors can have a negative effect when used too liberally. Use of these colors should be done sparingly and with the intent of complementing the core color palette.


Neutral colors


Metallic colors

When a deeper color palette is desired, metallic colors are sophisticated and powerful. These colors have specific uses, primarily in print applications, and should be used thoughtfully to complement the primary and secondary color palette.

This page was last modified on July 23, 2015