Core Colors

Metallic gold, black and white make up our core color palette. Just like we "own the V," we deploy a consistent, iconic palette. These colors are unmistakably Vanderbilt. Gold is an ancient symbol of wealth and beauty 
with unique material properties. It's a conductor of heat and electricity, a reflector, a catalyst. It's malleable, ductile and never corrodes. Vanderbilt's association with gold is distinctive and should be protected through diligence about how it's deployed.

core colors
  • Metallic Gold

    Pantone  871 C
    Hex FEEEB6 to B49248
    R254 G238 B182 to
    R180 G146 B72

  • Flat Gold

    Pantone 4024 C
    Hex CFAE70
    R207 G174 B112
    C20 M29 Y64 K0

  • Black

    Pantone Black C
    Hex 1C1C1C
    R10 G10 B10
    C0 M0 Y0 K100

  • White

    Hex FFFFFF
    R255 G255 B255
    C0 M0 Y0 K0

metallic 2

A Note on Metallic Gold

Metallic color looks best expressed materially where light can interact with it. Imagine the metallic gold paint gleaming on a football helmet, or metallic gold foil to accentuate the Vanderbilt seal on an event invitation or diploma. 

In 99% of cases, metallic gold ink (PMS 871 C) should be specified when printing with Vanderbilt Printing Services or another professional printing company. Many new "digital" printers are capable of printing metallic gold. The fallback flat gold should only be used when a printer, such as an office color copier, can't accommodate metallic ink. Consult your vendor about using metallic inks.

In digital contexts (for example, websites, presentations and video) we use a metallic gradient to mimic the reflectivity of gold. Our gradient is subtle, pure and bright. 


Use of contrast and color is essential to accessibility and to ensuring that our design work is available to all audiences. Our core palette is high-contrast by nature. The color pairings shown below are Level AA accessible. WCAG AA requires a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 for normal text and 3:1 for large text. To ensure compliance, please don't stray from these pairings.

Black on white and white on black have a 17:1 contrast ratio. Flat gold on black has a 5.75:1 ratio. Black on metallic gold is also 5.75:1, while black on flat gold is 8:1, and oak on white is 4.65:1.

Secondary Colors: Neutrals

While our primary palette deploys a high-contrast triad, these colors are supported by warm neutrals: cream, taupes and grays, with higher-saturation hues for impact. Our core colors will make up 90% of use, while 10% can be made up of secondary neutral accents. 

updated neutrals
  • Dark Gray

    Hex 777777
    R119 G119 B119
    C0 M0 Y0 K53

  • Light Gray

    Hex E4E4E4
    R228 G228 B228
    C0 M0 Y0 K11

  • Sand

    Hex E0D5C0
    R224 G213 B192
    C0 M5 Y14 K12

  • Cream

    Hex F5F3EF
    R245 G243 B239
    C0 M1 Y2 K4

Secondary Colors: Saturated

For data visualization needs, such as creating a bar chart, or to support Vanderbilt sub-brands such as camps or events, you may take advantage of our higher-chroma secondary palette. Oak and highlight will be the two brighter accents relied upon most. 

updated secondary colors
  • Sky

    Hex B3C9CD
    R179 G203 B205
    C10 M1 Y0 K20

  • Highlight

    Hex ECB748
    R236 G183 B72
    C0 M22 Y69 K7

  • Oak

    Hex 946E24
    R148 G110 B36
    C0 M15 Y44 K42

  • Sage

    Hex 8BA18E
    R139 G161 B142
    C9 M0 Y7 K37

3 colors

Color Themes

When planning your color theme, consider the four examples above which show ways to use our color system to achieve very different moods. A tonal palette appears more subtle and less contrasted. The secondary color theme employs our brighter highlight as a background, which could prove useful for Vanderbilt-related events such as annual conferences.