The Brooklyn Bridge nestled behind some buildings (left). Three colored (NYU Violet, Ultra Violet, and black) rectangles (right).

Our Color Palette

Color evokes emotion, which is why it’s such a powerful component of how our audience experiences our brand. Our color palette brings the power and vibrancy of NYU’s urban locations and community to life.

NYU Violet: NYU Violet is our principal brand color. It should be used in every communication and design. Violet is a distinctive color that has long been associated with the nonconformist who pushes boundaries to leave their mark on the world.

Ultra Violet: An electrified version of NYU Violet, this color adds excitement to our communications. Ultra Violet should be used thoughtfully and sparingly to add impact or interest, emphasize important information, increase contrast, or create rhythm within your design.

Black: A bold color, black strikes the perfect balance between sophistication and edginess when used alongside NYU Violet.

Questions and Custom Accent Palettes

NYU Marketing Communications (MarComm) offers in-house creative services across the University. Fill out the MarComm Service Request Form for help creating a custom accent palette for your unit or initiative.

Color Values

Primary Colors

NYU Violet color swatch.

NYU Violet

PMS: 2597
CMYK: C80 M99 Y0 K0
RGB: R87 G6 B140
HEX: #57068c

Ultra Violet color swatch.

Ultra Violet

PMS: 266 C
CMYK: Refer to note
RGB: R137 G0 B225
HEX: #8900e1

Note: Cannot achieve Ultra Violet in print with CMYK; use formula for Medium Violet 2.

Black color swatch.

Black

PMS: Black 6 C
CMYK: C0 M0 Y0 K100
RGB: R0 G0 B0
HEX: #000000


Secondary Colors  

Deep violet color swatch.

Deep Violet

CMYK: C92 M100 Y23 K28
RGB: R51 G6 B98
HEX: #330662

Medium violet 1 color swatch.

Medium Violet 1

CMYK: C69 M96 Y0 K0
RGB: R112 G43 B157
HEX: #702b9d

Medium violet 2 color swatch.

Medium Violet 2

CMYK: C60 M75 Y0 K0
RGB: R123 G90 B166
HEX: #7b5aa6

Light violet 1 color swatch.

Light Violet 1

CMYK: C34 M54 Y0 K0
RGB: R171 G130 B197
HEX: #ab82c5

Light violet 2 color swatch.

Light Violet 2

CMYK: C5 M9 Y0 K0
RGB: R238 G230 B243
HEX: #eee6f3


Neutral Colors

Dark gray color swatch.

Dark Gray

CMYK: C68 M61 Y60 K47
RGB: R64 G64 B64
HEX: #404040

Medium gray 1 color swatch.

Medium Gray 1

CMYK: C58 M49 Y49 K16
RGB: R109 G109 B109
HEX: #6d6d6d

Medium gray 2 color swatch.

Medium Gray 2

CMYK: C28 M22 Y23 K0
RGB: R184 G184 B184
HEX: #b8b8b8

Medium gray 3 color swatch.

Medium Gray 3

CMYK: C15 M11 Y12 K0
RGB: R214 G214 B214
HEX: #d6d6d6

Light gray color swatch.

Light Gray

CMYK: C4 M2 Y2 K0
RGB: R242 G242 B242
HEX: #f2f2f2

White color swatch.

White

CMYK: C0 M0 Y0 K0
RGB: R255 G255 B255
HEX: #ffffff


Accent Colors  

Accent colors can be used for emphasis and contrast within your design. They can highlight important elements of your communication such as infographics, pull quotes, or even a single word in a title.

This selection of colors gives you the option to add variety to your content while working alongside NYU’s primary palette. Accent colors are not required, but if you want to use one, choose only one and use it sparingly.

Teal color swatch.

Teal

CMYK: C82 M16 Y54 K01
RGB: R000 G156 B139
HEX: #009b8a

Magenta color swatch.

Magenta

CMYK: C06 M100 Y19 K00
RGB: R224 G015 B120
HEX: #fb0f78

Blue color swatch.

Blue

CMYK: C62 M13 Y11 K00
RGB: R89 G178 B21209
HEX: #59B2D1

Yellow color swatch.

Yellow

CMYK: C07 M00 Y81 K00
RGB: R244 G236 B081
HEX: #f4ec51

Using Color

Palette Ratios

The color palettes here are suggestions of how to flex the NYU colors to best suit the tone of your communication. Not every color in each palette has to be used, but NYU Violet should be present in every version of the palette to further emphasize the NYU brand.



Our visual tone ranges from contemporary to traditional and bold to subtle. We created a visual tone spectrum with these tones representing the four quadrants. You can use this tone spectrum to help you convey a visual tone that complements your verbal tone. For more detailed descriptions, refer to the Visual Tone Spectrum web page.

These breakdowns are not exact percentages, but they provide an idea of relative use. For example, a traditional and subtle design could incorporate more NYU Violet than a contemporary and subtle design, and a contemporary and bold design could incorporate more black than a contemporary and subtle design.

Note: With the exception of headlines, you should set typography primarily in black or dark gray. In digital applications, body text should be set to #333333 or #404040 to reduce the eye strain caused by very high contrast.

Accessibility Note:
Reserve shades of violet and neutrals for background colors and decorative graphic elements. According to the World Wide Web Consortium, if icons are required to understand content, then they must have a contrast ratio of at least 3-to-1. Check your contrast levels with the WebAIM Contrast Checker.

Contemporary/Bold

A coordinate plane with four axes that, from top, clockwise, read: contemporary, bold, traditional, and subtle; a dot sits in the contemporary and bold quadrant (lefft). A vertical color palette map with the following colors: NYU Violet, black, Ultra Violet, light violet 1, light gray, and white (right).

Contemporary/Subtle

A coordinate plane with four axes that, from top, clockwise, read: contemporary, bold, traditional, and subtle; a dot sits in the contemporary and subtle quadrant (left). A vertical color palette map with the following colors: NYU Violet, black, Ultra Violet, medium violet 2, light violet 1, light gray, and white (right).

Traditional/Bold

A coordinate plane with four axes that, from top, clockwise, read: contemporary, bold, traditional, and subtle; a dot sits in the bold and traditional quadrant (left). A vertical color palette map with the following colors: NYU Violet, deep violet, Ultra Violet, medium violet 2, light violet 1, and white (right).

Traditional/Subtle

A coordinate plane with four axes that, from top, clockwise, read: contemporary, bold, traditional, and subtle; a dot sits in the subtle and traditional quadrant (left). A vertical color palette map with the following colors: NYU Violet, deep Violet, light violet 1, medium gray 2, light gray, and white (right).

Palette Ratio Example

This is an example of how to envision the color palette ratios. Colors that are more prominent in the composition are alloted larger percentages within the ratio.

Contemporary/Bold Palette Example

A mock-up up of an NYU bus wrap. The design features a student walking through a door and typography, reading, “Where people and ideas intersect.”

A coordinate plane with four axes that, from top, clockwise, read: contemporary, bold, traditional, and subtle; a dot sits in the contemporary and bold quadrant (left). A vertical color palette map with the following colors: NYU Violet, black, light gray, white, and Ultra Violet (right).

NYU Violet is used for the NYU logo and parts of the city grid graphics.

White is used to give the viewer’s eye a rest on the design’s right side.

Black is used as a background color.

Ultra Violet is used sparingly within the banner text and the path that weaves through the design.

Light gray is used for parts of the city grid graphics.


Using Accent Colors

Accent colors should be used selectively to support our primary, secondary, and neutral colors.

Example 1: Accent Colors in Iconography on Our Website

In this example, magenta adds vibrancy to the iconography on a web page.

Screenshot of NYU CMS Training and Support landing page, featuring a number of links to tutorials and resources using magenta icons.

A coordinate plane with four axes that, from top, clockwise, read: contemporary, bold, traditional, and subtle; a dot sits on the contemporary axis (left). A vertical color palette map with the following colors: NYU Violet, Ultra Violet, deep violet, #1E0635, #7B7B7B, white, and magenta (right).


Example 2: Accent Colors in Typography in a Magazine Spread

In this example, yellow acts as a visual anchor for both the dropped capital and pull quote.

A magazine spread using yellow for the dropped-capital and pull-quote graphic elements. A large headline reads, “Where people and ideas intersect” (left). A group of people in a garden are featured (right).

A coordinate plane with four axes that, from top, clockwise, read: contemporary, bold, traditional, and subtle; a dot sits in the bold and traditiona quadrant (left). A vertical color palette map with the following colors: NYU Violet, medium violet 2, light gray, white, and yellow (right).

Working with Color Formations

Print

Cyan, magenta, yellow, black (CMYK) is the standard formula used in printing. But there can be color variations depending on the printing method and type of paper and finishes used. Always check the printer’s proofs to ensure the color appears as intended before printing.

Pantone Matching System (PMS) colors produce more consistent color across the board but can be costly. If you can only choose one or two PMS colors, then choose NYU Violet and/or Ultra Violet. You can learn more about Pantone Color Systems on their website.

Digital

Red, green, blue (RGB) is a color gamut of light using red, green, and blue to render colors on-screen. Hexadecimal (HEX) is also used on-screen and is basically a short code for RGB color. A HEX color is a six-digit combination of letters and numbers.

Note: The appearance of colors can vary digitally from monitor to monitor and in print from paper stock to paper stock.

Accessibility

Color Contrast

Color contrast is the difference between two colors. If the foreground colors of visual elements are too similar to the background colors, it can be difficult for people to read or understand. Be sure to check the color contrast between your text and background colors to ensure your message is legible.

Text should have a contrast ratio of at least 3-to-1. According to the World Wide Web Consortium, if icons are required to understand content, then they must also have a contrast ratio of at least 3-to-1. There are many resources available, such as the WAVE tool, to check the color contrast in your designs.

Examples of Approved Color Pairings (High Contrast)

The following combinations pass accessibility standards. These color pairings create enough contrast for the reader.

A color block demonstrating the high contrast (11.6-to-1) between #ffffff and #57068c. When used together, these colors pass the color contrast test.

Text: White (#ffffff)
Background: NYU Violet (#57068c)
Contrast ratio: 11.6-to-1

A color block demonstrating the high contrast (9.6-to-1) between #404040 and #f2f2f2. When used together, these colors pass the color contrast test.

Text: Gray (#404040)
Background: Light Gray (#f2f2f2)
Contrast ratio: 9.6-to-1

A color block demonstrating the high contrast (6.7-to-1) between #ffffff and #8900e1. When used together, these colors pass the color contrast test.

Text: White (#ffffff)
Background: Ultra Violet (#8900e1)
Contrast ratio: 6.7-to-1

Examples of Color Pairings to Avoid (Low Contrast)

The following combinations do not pass accessibility standards. These colors do not create enough contrast for the reader.

A color block demonstrating the low contrast (1.7-to-1) between #8900e1 and #57068c. When used together, they do not pass the color contrast test.

Text: Ultra Violet (#8900e1)
Background: NYU Violet (#57068c)
Contrast ratio: 1.7-to-1

A color block demonstrating the low contrast (1.8-to-1) between #57068c and #000000. When used together, they do not pass the color contrast test.

Text: NYU Violet (#57068c)
Background: Black (#000000)
Contrast ratio: 1.8-to-1

A color block demonstrating the low contrast (1.7-to-1) between #57068c and #8900e1. When used together, they do not pass the color contrast test.

Text: NYU Violet (#57068c)
Background: Ultra Violet (#8900e1)
Contrast ratio: 1.7-to-1