Orange was adopted as the University color in 1890.

The color was selected after a vote by students, faculty, alumni, and trustees, who noted it was a strong, bright color not claimed by any other school; it was Syracuse University’s for the taking. It was chosen to represent the golden apples of Hesperia, as well as the story of the sunrise and hope for a golden future. Syracuse University was the first school to adopt only one official color.

Color Palette

A very simple palette of our iconic Syracuse orange, supported by four gray tones, ranging from extra dark gray to light gray.

  • Syracuse orange

    PMS 1665C
    CMYK 0/79/100/0

    HEX #D44500
    RGB 212/69/0

  • Extra dark gray

    PMS Black 7C*
    CMYK 0/0/0/90

    HEX #3E3D3C
    RGB 62/61/60

    K 90

  • Dark gray

    PMS 431C
    CMYK 8/2/0/56

    HEX #6F777D
    RGB 111/119/125

    K 75

  • Medium gray

    PMS Cool Gray 7C
    CMYK 8/2/0/30

    HEX #ADB3B8
    RGB 173/179/184

    K 45

  • Light gray

    PMS 428C
    CMYK 5/2/0/8

    RGB 232/234/235

    K 10

* The PMS for Syracuse Extra Dark Gray is provided for color reference. 90% black should be used whenever possible.


We’ve provided a ZIP archive containing .ase files that can easily import these swatches into Illustrator or Photoshop:

 Download ASE Color Palette [ZIP, 3kB]

  • PMS or CMYK color values must be used in projects destined for print (e.g. magazines, posters, or stationery).
  • HEX or RGB color values must be used in projects that will be displayed on a screen (e.g. websites or PowerPoint presentations).
  • Grayscale color values should only be used under special circumstances when print production is limited (e.g. newspaper ads).

Screen Accessibility

Color values chosen for the screen palette were optimized to ensure compliance with accessibility standards. The following usage is strongly suggested to maintain adequate contrast in your designs:

  • Syracuse Orange — pair with white only.
  • Extra Dark Gray — pair with white or light grays (#A7A7A7 or lighter).
  • Dark Gray — pair with white or black only.
  • Medium Gray — pair with dark grays (#454545 or darker).
  • Light Gray — pair with medium or dark grays (#696969 or darker).

To test your design’s accessibility, we suggest proofing color pairs (text color versus background color) using a contrast calculator . A contrast ratio of 4.5:1 (Level AA of WCAG 2.0 ) is required for text.

Adobe Photoshop’s color blindness filters can also be helpful when evaluating your page designs prior to development.

See Web & Email for additional accessibility resources.