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Print Color Palette

Primary Color Palette

Red, white and black comprise the primary print color palette. Do not use this palette for websites. There is a similar, but different web palette. They should be the dominant colors used when designing all print materials. Red should appear in every piece of communication that allows color. Red type, however, should not be used for long lists or lengthy copy blocks. The colors in the primary color palette should always cover more area or be used more than any other color that appears in the material. CMYK and PMS colors are provided to allow for exact matching.


(from left to right) PMS 186 (CMYK: 0,100,81, 4), White (CMYK: 0,0,0,0), Black (CMYK: 0,0,0,1000)

Secondary Color Palette
The secondary color palette includes a range of neutrals that complement the primary colors without overpowering them. In any given application, only two secondary colors should be used with the primary colors to keep the primary colors dominant. The use of too many secondary colors will dilute the power of the primary colors.


(from left to right) PMS 7503 (CMYK: 0, 12, 35, 25), PMS 7401 (CMYK: 0, 4, 18, 0), PMS 4545 (CMYK: 0, 3, 19, 6), Warm Grey 1 (CMYK: 0, 2, 3, 6), PMS 405 (CMYK: 0, 10, 33, 72)

Support Color Palette
The support color palette includes a range of colors that can add a deep, rich quality to the materials. One support color may be used with as many as two secondary colors and any or all of the primary colors. The support colors are like accent colors in that they should never overtake the design.


(from left to right) PMS 575 (CMYK: 48, 0, 100, 53), PMS 5275 (CMYK: 60, 47, 0, 30), PMS 653 (CMYK: 100, 62, 0, 20), PMS 723 (CMYK: 0, 43, 97, 17), PMS 5625 (CMYK: 28, 0, 29, 48), PMS 7492 (CMYK: 12, 0, 50, 7)

Examples of Color Palette Usage


6 Responses to “Print Color Palette”

  1. Anna Howardon 03.22.2012 at 1:10 pm

    PowerPoint will NOT allow you to input a color using cmyk. If NCSU would like us to promote the brand using specific colors, you should list the colors in multiple formats so that we actually can.

  2. vaearpon 03.22.2012 at 1:30 pm

    Hi Anna, thanks so much for your feedback. There are some hex palettes that you can use that work better for screen use here.

  3. Jeff Whiteon 03.28.2013 at 9:30 am

    Are the colors available in R-G-B? MS Office and many other programs use that palette system. Thanks.

  4. vaearpon 04.16.2013 at 12:04 pm

    We will consider adding RGB palettes during the brand refresh. Thanks for your input.

  5. Laurence Hatchon 09.26.2013 at 3:27 pm

    If Wolfpack Red is Pantone PMS 186 shouldn’t the Hex be #CE1126 with RGB=206,17,38 which all the conversion sites use? Is #CC0000 (mentioned on another official page) a minor variation of Pantone 186 that we should use instead? They look close to me. I talked to another private webmaster who has a Wolfpack fan site and he uses #CE1126 too. Just want to get it right….Go Pack!

  6. vaearpon 10.04.2013 at 2:20 pm

    Thanks for your comment! CC0000 is used on as our red on all central sites. We are not trying to get the closest match to 186, we are trying to get what performs the best digitally.

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