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.
Color is more than an aesthetic choice. Official colors are recognized and protected in trademark case law because they communicate identity.
Colors are also the building blocks of accessibility. After a long exploration, the standardized UCLA color palette was created to achieve good contrast in the interest of legibility across all channels and media.
Follow the specifications on this page to use the colors as a required brand element. Do not use other shades of blue and gold in publications or online.
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.
A tertiary palette has been developed for use as an accent to the primary and secondary colors.
Please note that in order to maintain maximum vibrancy of these colors, they will appear slightly different between screen and print. Due to printing limitations, the CMYK values are slightly duller than ideal. If your budget allows, select one tertiary color from the palette to include in your project and print it as a spot to bring the vibrancy fully to life in print. For the sake of accessibility, restrict use of tertiary colors to graphics only.
A blue gradient can be used to enliven fields of color. 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, WebAim Color Contrast Checker is a good tool to measure 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.
UCLA Brand Colors (PDF) is a useful reference because it includes the specifications for the full palette and the color contrast accessibility chart. Please 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. You should avoid using the eyedropper tool to pick out colors on the screen. Use accurate colors by entering the values instead.
For color swatches to 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.