UCLA's colors evoke the blue of sea and sky and the gold of the sun and wildflowers, especially the California poppy. There's a brightness to UCLA Blue and UCLA Gold that's especially appropriate to Southern California, and different from other University of California campuses. Lavish use of white in layouts enhances the brilliance of the colors.
Over the years the blue color has always been more important than the gold. A field of blue with a gold accent says "UCLA." A field of gold with a blue accent does not.
Color is more than an aesthetic choice. Official colors are recognized in trademark case law because they communicate identity. Colors are also the building blocks of accessibility. The standardized UCLA color palette provides for good contrast in the interest of legibility.
When it comes to merchandise, textile and vinyl colors present special challenges. UCLA Athletics and UCLA Trademarks and Licensing establish standards in this area. By using a licensed UCLA vendor, you are assured of following these standards.
If the gradient is used strictly as a background — for instance, under an overlay box — you can use the complete color range. If you are overprinting the gradient with type, you need to make sure the resulting contrast ratio meets accessibility standards. See the color combination chart.
Color contrast is very important to legibility. To meet current accessibility standards, use only approved color combinations. For websites and other online uses, there are multiple resources for measuring contrast. For printed materials, the standards are not as easy to measure. Be sure to take special care with reverse type and type overlays, especially if your audience tends to be middle-aged or older.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) require a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 for normal text and 3:1 for large text to achieve Level AA compliance. To achieve Level AAA compliance requires a contrast ratio of at least 7:1 for normal text and 4.5:1 for large text. Large text is defined as 14 point (typically 18.66px) and bold or larger, or 18 point (typically 24px) or larger.
See Downloads for reference PDFs of both charts.
Do not routinely use red for type. Appropriate uses of red are limited to error messages and emergency alerts.
Do not use tints of the brand colors — colors diluted with white.
Use color type with care, avoiding non-ADA-compliant colors.
Do not compromise legibility by choosing low-contrast color combinations.
Do not use gold type on the darkest blue.
Do not make your overall layout too dark. The UCLA palette is bright.
Do not create your own swatches.
Do not create your own gradients.
The brand color palette PDF is a useful reference because it includes the specifications for the primary and secondary colors. However, do not use it for visual matching — it will only be as accurate as your color printer. We recommend purchasing Pantone color swatches for the most accurate visual matching.
For use with Adobe applications, you can download ASE (Adobe Swatch Exchange) files and GRD files for gradients. If you prefer to build your own gradients, follow the Gradient Specifications PDF.
Like the palette, the color contrast accessibility PDFs are useful for reference, but not for visual matching.