Color Palette

This color triad reflects the natural beauty of the Monterey County region. Paying equal respect to agricultural and marine influences of the region enhances our brand.

BAY BLUE

Bay Blue

PMS 540

Bay Blue represents the riches of the Monterey Bay and the broader Pacific Ocean.

VALLEY GREEN

Valley Green

PMS 5545

Valley Green represents the agricultural abundance of the Salinas Valley and the surrounding vineyard-lined hills.

GOLDEN SAND

Golden Sand

Metallic PMS 871 use a spot metallic color in print jobs

Golden Sand represents the common ground that connects them.

Web Colors

We recommend these colors for use in the web and social media. We have tested them for contrast, accessibility, and alignment with our print palette.

Primary

Our signature colors are blue and tan. It should be used together to ensure brand consistency. Tan should only be used as a background color or over blue to ensure adequate contrast.

Secondary

Teal and green are used as supplemental colors for elements such as highlights, buttons, and callouts.

Blue

Hex #002A4E | RGB 0.42.78

Tan

Hex #DDDAC7 | RGB 221.218.199

Teal

Hex #2B7E9F | RGB 43.126.159

Green

Hex #125A37 | RGB 18.90.55

2007 color palette revision process

Summary

  • Designate Valley Green (PMS 341), Bay Blue (PMS 540), and Golden Sand (PMS 871) as our official colors, all equal in status.
  • Phase out all multicolored versions of the university logo and seal, and begin using versions using one or two of the official colors, one official color and white, white, or black (when the only available ink color in a print application).

Rationale

  • This proposal honors our history by retaining Valley Green, our primary color since the university opened, and Golden Sand, one of the colors in our original seal and still the second standard color in our stationery, as official colors.
  • It validates current practice on signage, in print publications, and on the csumb website by formally adding Bay Blue.
  • It achieves balanced respect for our marine and agricultural influences with Bay Blue reflecting the ocean, Valley Green representing crops and other vegetation, and Golden Sand showing the common ground that connects them.
  • Valley Green and Bay Blue are complementary when blended or used side by side, and Golden Sand complements both when used side-by-side or layered.
  • Golden Sand also contrasts with both Valley Green and Bay Blue when layered, especially when screened to 40 percent or less of its full color value, providing an alternative to white for page backgrounds, reversed printing, road uniforms, and other light color uses.
  • Designating precise PMS values (along with RGB, Hex, and CMYK equivalents) achievesprecision.
  • Phasing out our current full-color logo and seal versions rather than replacing them ensures that we incur no new costs before the shelflife of publications, merchandise, signage, etc. has run its course.
  • Using only one-color and two-color versions of the logo and seal achieves simplification of our overall set of official marks and ensures greater consistency in the color application of those marks.

Process

Seeing a proliferation of blue in campus signage and publications, in fall 2006, several members of the campus community made inquiries regarding our official campus colors. Following a brief discussion by the Cabinet, President Dianne Harrison asked Marketing & Publications Manager Sean Madden, Associate Vice President for Campus Design & Operations Niraj Dangoria, and Athletic Director Howard Gauthier to work as a Color Team to form a representative Working Group to bring forward a proposal regarding official CSUMB colors.

To ensure broad representation, the Color Team asked the School of Information Technology and Communications Design, Teledramatic Arts and Technology Department, Visual and Public Art Department, and School of World Languages and Cultures for volunteer faculty members and students to join the discussion. The Team also invited representation from the Associated Students.

The Group met in January to discuss color palette history, current directions, and recommendations. Those unable to attend provided input before the meeting by email and phone. Those attending the meeting formulated an initial recommendation (see below), which Madden recorded and distributed for final group review and consensus. The recommendation was then posted to this website.

The recommendation was also presented at campus forums held Tuesday, April 3, from 7-8 p.m. and Wednesday, April 4, from 12-1 p.m. in the Alumni & Visitors Center.

The forums, this webpage, and email input were promoted via a CSUMB.EDU homepage link, a story in the Otter Realm, and multiple emails to the Staff & Faculty and General News conferences within the FirstClass email system. Though both email input and forum attendance numbers were relatively low, the exchange was excellent.

The Color Team and Working Group considered the overall feedback and continued their own email exchange to arrive at a final recommendation (see below).

The President's Cabinet considered the final recommendation and approved the three official colors proposed while simplifying the overall plan.

Opinions & options

The Color Team promised email respondents and forum attendees that all alternative views would be clearly presented to President Harrison and her Cabinet when bringing forward a final recommendation. Thus, they were presented here and in the final Cabinet discussion.

While there was great interest in discussing the general colors, everyone involved seemed amenable to letting professional designers determine the specific shades of those colors in the end. Thus, this discussion focuses on the general, while the final recommendation reflected the specifics developed by the graphic designers involved.

In the working group, email submissions, and the open forums, distinct schools of thought regarding primary colors became apparent. The stratification really revolved more around how many colors than which colors. There were three schools of thought regarding number of primary colors:

  • One color
  • Two colors
  • Three colors

There was clearly a majority opinion regarding which colors within each of those groups:

  • The vast majority of those proposing one primary color supported blue as that color, with the largest minority supporting green.
  • The vast majority of those proposing two colors supported blue and green, with the largest minority wanting to honor our history by retaining green and yellow.
  • The vast majority of those supporting three colors included blue and green as two of those colors, with yellow, gold, silver, and sand all mentioned as possible third colors.

Ideas regarding accent colors were all over the color wheel. In the end, designating accent colors seemed of little interest to most. Many expressed the opinion that designating secondary and accent colors creates confusion. A majority seemed to think that we have had too many colors, and that the number of colors designated should be no more than three. The few dissenters opined that we should retain the multiple bright colors in our existing palette because they reflect the campus commitment to multiculturalism and diversity.

Earlier recommendations

Initial recommendation from the working group

The working group recommended adding Bay Blue to the current official palette of Valley Green, Pacific Aqua, Sunset Yellow, and Strawberry Red while making a few refinements to the existing colors and establishing broad overall color parameters.

Specifics

  1. Designate Valley Green (PMS 343) and Bay Blue (PMS 540) as our primary colors.
  2. Designate Pacific Aqua (PMS 313) as our secondary color.
  3. Designate Sunset Yellow (PMS 109) and Strawberry Red (PMS 186) as accent colors.
  4. Set the overall color parameters for all CSUMB materials and publications as the full range of greens and blues to create a sense of connection to the ocean, sky, agriculture, and natural vegetation that make our Tri-County region so beautiful.
  5. Though other colors may also appear, the overall balance of color should fall in the green-blue range. This broad color base may be achieved through the inherent natural colors of regional photography.
  6. Depending on the purpose, the specific green and blue hues chosen may vary from bright to subdued, saturated to pale, deep to light, etc. to elicit the affective response desired. For example, bright green and aqua may best match the purpose of an upbeat campus event or student recruitment piece, while subdued shades might better connect with prospective donors in a fundraising campaign.
  7. Retain the colors of the current CSUMB logos and seal (Valley Green, Pacific Aqua, Sunset Yellow, and Strawberry Red), darkening Valley Green slightly by shifting from PMS 341 to PMS 343 and phasing out the use of logo versions where Sunset Yellow is the prominent color rather than an accent.

Athletics recommendation

Athletics had the highest representation at the forums due to the importance of school colors in their world of operation. Moreover, Athletic Director Howard Gauthier engaged his staff in extensive discussion of colors at their own meetings. Following the forums, Gauthier summarized the following collective Athletics recommendation that was consistent with the Final Working Group Recommendation (see below).

  1. Use three colors: blue, green, and either silver or tan/gold.
  2. Use the current colors of yellow, teal, and red only in the university seal, assuming the university seal would retain this color combination

Rationale

From a branding stance, blue, green, and either silver or tan/gold will provide a unique combination that is classy while reflecting the colors of the region.

Final working group recommendation

Summary

Designate three official colors (Bay Blue, Valley Green, and Golden Sand), and set broad overall color parameters of greens and blues.

Specifics

  1. Designate Valley Green (PMS 341), Bay Blue (PMS 540), and Golden Sand (PMS 871) as our official colors.
  2. Set the overall color parameters for all CSUMB materials and publications as the full range of greens and blues to create a sense of connection to the ocean, sky, agriculture, and natural vegetation that make our Tri-County region so beautiful.
  3. Though other colors may also appear, the overall balance of color should fall in the green-blue range. This broad color base may be achieved through the inherent natural colors of regional photography.
  4. Depending on the purpose, the specific greens and blues chosen may vary from bright to subdued, saturated to pale, deep to light, etc. to elicit the affective response desired.
  5. Phase out all multicolored versions of the university logo and seal. For all applications, use the existing one-color versions of these marks in one of the official colors, white, or black. Permit addition of the red dot within any of these logo and seal versions. Or use one of the existing two-color versions in valley green and golden sand.

Rationale

  • This proposal honors our history by retaining Valley Green, our primary color since the university opened, and Golden Sand, one of the colors in our original seal and still the second standard color in our stationery, as official colors.
  • It validates current practice on signage, in print publications, and on the CSUMB.EDU website by formally adding Bay Blue.
  • It achieves balanced respect for our marine and agricultural influences with Bay Blue reflecting the ocean, Valley Green representing crops and other vegetation, and Golden Sand showing the common ground that connects them.
  • Valley Green and Bay Blue are complementary when blended or used side by side, and Golden Sand complements both when used side-by-side or layered.
  • Golden Sand also contrasts with both Valley Green and Bay Blue when layered, especially when screened to 60 percent or less of its full color value, providing an alternative to white for page backgrounds, reversed printing, road uniforms, and other light color uses.
  • Designating precise PMS values (along with RGB, Hex, and CMYK equivalents) achieves precision.
  • Phasing out our current full-color logo and seal versions rather than replacing them ensures that we incur no new costs before the shelflife of publications, merchandise, signage, etc. has run its course.
  • Using only one-color and two-color versions of the logo and seal achieves simplification of our overall set of official marks and ensures greater consistency in the color application of those marks.
  • Allowing addition of the traditional red dot to any of our one-color logo and seal versions helps focus attention on both the mark itself and our campus location.