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Using Our Colors

Tennessee Orange should be prominent in all communications from the university.

White and Smokey should always be used to underscore the boldness of Tennessee Orange. Additional colors should be selected from our secondary palette to accent and support our primary colors.

Custom color swatches for use in Adobe design programs are available for download.

Using Tennessee Orange

Orange is the most important color in our palette; it is critical that we get it right.

The official Tennessee Orange is PMS 151. That is the color you should specify with a licensed vendor if you are producing merchandise, including promotional and specialty items.

However, almost all university communications are printed using the four-color (CMYK) process, which cannot accurately reproduce PMS 151. Therefore, you should use the 0-50-100-0 CMYK breakdown when printing. If a printer requests a PMS color to guarantee a match for a four-color print job, you should specify PMS 144, not 151.

Color Codes

Each of the colors in our palettes has a series of numbers, or codes, assigned to them. Which code you use depends on the medium you are designing for.

CMYK: Colors for print communications
Almost all print communications today are produced using the four-color (CMYK) process. You should use a color’s CMYK breakdown any time you are creating a print project, whether the job is being sent to a professional printer like University Printing and Mail or being printed on your office inkjet printer.

RGB & HEX: Colors for electronic communications
Communications that appear on the web, including e-mail, or are projected or displayed on a screen use different color codes than print communications. You should use a color’s hexadecimal (HEX) code or RGB breakdown when designing electronic communications.

Pantone (PMS): Colors for specialty printing
Occasionally you may need to have something produced that doesn’t utilize the four-color CMYK process but is printed using spot colors. This process is typically reserved for merchandise. In these cases, you should use a color’s Pantone Matching System (PMS) color.

Colors, Digital Screens, and Accessibility

Per system policy, all UT websites aim to meet WCAG 2.0 AA guidelines for accessibility. This includes a required contrast ratio for text and images of text of at least 4.5:1. This applies to both live text and image text (digital banners, images, or graphics).

Here’s more information as well as a chart of text and color combinations from the brand palette that meet or exceed these accessibility standards.

(Spoiler: Tennessee Orange is tricky!)

Color Schemes for Print Pieces

Too many colors should never be used within one piece. It’s best to find a strong combination of three or four colors and use that color scheme consistently and creatively throughout a piece or series of pieces. And remember, Tennessee Orange should be prominent in every communication.

Below are some suggested combinations.

Smokey, Limestone

Torch, Fountain

Globe, LeConte

Energy, Eureka

River, Buckskin

Valley, Torch

Regalia, Limestone

Summitt, Leconte

Valley, Limestone, Globe

Leconte, Fountain, Limestone

Legacy, Eureka, Valley

Valley, Regalia, Summitt

Switchgrass, Fountain, Smokey

Limestone, Leconte, Buckskin

River, Eureka, Summitt

Energy, Summitt, Sunsphere