Color is a key component of our identity. Our color palette represents our heritage, distinguishes our brand and creates consistent experiences for our audiences.
Consistent use of color is essential to a unified brand image. Review these guidelines carefully to understand usage differences between palettes, audiences and mediums (such as print and digital). As always, reach out to us directly for questions or assistance.
St. Ed's is blue and gold. These are our primary colors and should be used prominently in communications to ensure brand consistency. Our blue and gold are available in a brighter, modern palette and a darker, traditional palette. Each palette should be used in accordance with the tone of a piece and type of communication required.
Within the Primary Palette, use the Modern Palette for people- and event-focused applications, those pieces that exemplify vibrancy and school spirit.
St. Ed's Blue
PMS: 2945 C
St. Ed's Gold
PMS: Pantone Yellow C
Within the Primary Palette, use the Traditional Palette for traditional, professional applications, such as official communications and documents, formal events and traditional applications using the university seal.
PMS: 281 C
PMS: 7753 C
The Secondary Palette contains Brights and Neutrals, each containing colors designed for specific purposes.
The Bright Palette adds variety and vibrancy when used with the primary palette. These colors work alongside the primary colors and should be used in combination with the primary palette whenever possible.
PMS: 630 C
PMS: 473 C
PMS: 346 C
PMS: 179 C*
*If PMS 179 appears on the orange side in certain applications, PMS 1795 can be substituted.
Colors from the Neutral Palette should be used for informational elements such as copy, tables and digital components.
*A note for print applications: Moontower is a rich black and should only be used for graphics and large text (18 points or greater). Small body text should always be set in 100% black (Grackle). Learn more about rich vs. 100% black and how to configure your settings in Adobe applications to ensure accurate printing.
Pairing colors is a tricky endeavor and not an exact science! Use your best judgment and limit the number of colors used to avoid a rainbow look. Please keep in mind variables could affect limitations such as text size, font, etc. If in doubt, reach out to us.
When in doubt, use the Modern Palette. This palette should be dominant over other colors and expresses the foundation of our brand. Of the two, St. Ed's Blue should be used more than St. Ed's Gold (gold being more of an accent).
Use the Traditional Palette when the tone of the communication requires it. Sorin should dominate and Medallion should be used sparingly.
Colors in the Brights Palette add variety and vibrancy but should be used sparingly and as accents to complement colors from the primary palette (keep in mind vivid photography can also add to the vibrancy of a piece). In most cases, colors from the primary palette should take up a larger percentage of your piece with the Brights taking up 10-15%. A good rule of thumb is to use Bluebonnet more prominently than Continental, Peacock and Red Doors.
By nature of their purpose, colors from the Neutral Palette should be used the least. One exception is using white in the Primary Palette, particularly for a two-color application, such as St. Ed's Blue and white or Sorin and white. Neither gold should ever be used alone with white.
Brand recognition is important. Communications to prospective students and families with a lower awareness of St. Ed's should use primary colors predominately and secondary colors sparingly (most often as accent colors), and always in conjunction with primary colors as the dominant palette in the piece.
Primary color palette combinations in use
Colors from the secondary palette add variety and depth to communication pieces. When awareness of St. Ed's is higher, secondary colors can be used in a broader way. The type of channel and tone of the piece (such as a social media post promoting an event to current students or a swag item for orientation) can also open the door for greater use of the secondary palette. In addition, illustrations and photography are excellent tools to add vibrancy and color to a piece. In most cases, Bluebonnet should be used most often over other secondary colors.
Examples of secondary color combinations in use when brand awareness is low
Examples of secondary color combinations in use when brand awareness is high
Consider the intended audience and usage of your communication to help determine which colors work best. The traits listed on the following color spectrum grid serve as a guiding framework.
General Guidelines for Pairing Colors
Follow these do's and don'ts when combining colors in your communication pieces:
- When in doubt, default to the primary palette.
- To maintain brand uniformity, colors from the primary palette should almost always be dominant in a piece.
- In general, use colors from the secondary palette as accents, using Bluebonnet as the most prominent secondary color.
- In most cases, colors from the secondary palette should be used in conjunction with colors from the primary palette (not by themselves).
- Modern and traditional colors from the primary palette can be used together but take extra measures to get it right.
- Numbers and graphic elements should vary in color to provide balance and hierarchy.
- CTAs, urls and important information should be set in bright colors when possible to call attention to their importance.
- To ensure readability (and avoid your materials taking on a rainbow look), it is important to use a restrained color palette. Color particularly should be restrained when vibrant and colorful photography is used. Limiting your piece to 2-3 colors and using color as small pops of design to play off colors in a photograph are recommended practices.
- Don't place colors together that do not have enough contrast with one another.
- Don't add different colored strokes to colored text.
- Avoid excessive drop shadow on type.
- Don't place colored type on a busy photo or background.
Above all, the use of color should never hinder legibility or restrict access to your message to any audience.
- Be mindful of print production limitations and screen accessibility when creating your communication pieces.
- Adhere to AAA standard contrast ratios so your communication pieces can be understood by all audiences.
- As a general rule, large chunks of body text should be set in black.
- Text is usually easier to read when it's not reversed on a dark background.
Use this color contrast grid* to determine the proper accessibility for our color palette. Check to see that the color of the background and foreground has sufficient contrast. Learn more about using the grid or download it.
*Best viewed on a desktop computer.
Color Contrast Grid (JPG)
Adobe Swatch Exchange (ASE) files work in design programs such as InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. Load these color files to your program to easily access our color palettes.
Import instructions for Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign:
- Download the appropriate ASE file for your application (print or digital)
- Open your swatches palette by clicking the Menu > Window > Swatches
- Click the fly-out menu and choose “Load Swatches” or “Open Swatch Library/Other Library”
- Navigate to the ASE file
- Your swatches will open up in a new swatch palette in your design program