Design Essentials

Our visual identity, colors, fonts, and photography are fundamental to every design. The intentional use of these design essentials will align all our communications in a recognizable and visually consistent way.

Guidelines, file downloads, and other helpful information are available by clicking the download buttons throughout the site. For your convenience, a master download of all design toolkit guidelines and files is available. Before you begin, please read these guidelines carefully.

Image of three Penn State marks; one is the main mark, the second is the mark for Penn State Behrend campus and third is the mark for the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
1 Design Essentials //

Visual Identity

Visual identity is the single most important visual element of our brand. Diligent use of the standards and requirements for our identity cements our brand at every level of our University, maintaining and advancing our brand recognition on a national and global stage.

Please visit the Visual Identity Standards section for more information on using the Penn State academic mark and shield.

Graphical image of variety of colored circle within a four quadrant, colors are of the Pennsylvania Palette, Classic Palette and Vibrant accent Palette.
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Color

Color is a foundational element in design and a powerful tool when setting a piece’s mood and tone. Purposeful selection and application of color in your work can leverage the strength of the Penn State brand and help maintain a cohesive and unified brand identity.

The Pennsylvania Palette is Penn State’s primary brand palette, consisting of our signature blues and several accent colors. Additional secondary accent and background palettes are available to give you more flexibility when making color choices. Remember, accent palette colors should be secondary and in support of the signature blues.

Always check the accessibility of the colors in your design—your use of color MUST conform to the web accessibility standards adopted by Penn State. Version 2 of the color guidelines now includes important accessibility information, body text/background combinations, and link colors.

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The Pennsylvania Palette

The colors of the Pennsylvania Palette are fundamentally central to the Penn State brand—just as the growth of our university is central to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The signature brand blues—Nittany Navy, Beaver Blue, and Pennsylvania Sky—are not only tied to our identity; they also reflect the active impact and strong roots Penn Staters have in communities across the Commonwealth.

Slate

  • HEX: #314d64
  • RGB: 49,77,100
  • CMYK: 84/54/29/28
  • PMS: 2377

Creek

  • HEX: #3EA39E
  • RGB: 62,163,158
  • CMYK: 54/0/27/0
  • PMS: 7472

Limestone

  • HEX: #A2AAAD
  • RGB: 162,170,173
  • CMYK: 21/11/9/23
  • PMS: 429
  • white Out
  • HEX: #ffffff
  • RGB: 255,255,255
  • CMYK: 0/0/0/0
The Penn State Signature Blues

Pennsylvania Sky

  • HEX: #009cde
  • RGB: 0,156,222
  • CMYK: 85/21/0/0
  • PMS: 2925

Beaver Blue

  • HEX: #1e407c
  • RGB: 30,64,124
  • CMYK: 100/76/0/18
  • PMS: 287

Nittany Navy

  • HEX: #001E44
  • RGB: 4,30,66
  • CMYK: 100/90/13/68
  • PMS: 282
Top of a graphic element inspired by the Pennsylvania historical marker.

The Classic Accent Palette

The Classic Palette is grounded in the history and heritage that has shaped Penn State into the university we know today.

Bottom of a graphic element inspired by the Pennsylvania historical marker.
Mood map indicating that the classic accent palette resides in the subtle formal quadrant

Although colors in the Classic Palette lean toward subtle and formal, experimentation with different color combinations can produce various moods and effects.

Land-Grant

  • HEX: #6a3028
  • RGB: 106,48,40
  • CMYK: 23/78/77/65
  • PMS: 498

Lion Shrine

  • HEX: #B88965
  • RGB: 184,137,101
  • CMYK: 8/41/51/20
  • PMS: 4655

Lion's Roar

  • HEX: #bf8226
  • RGB: 191,130,38
  • CMYK: 6/35/99/18
  • PMS: 1245

Penn's Forest

  • HEX: #4A7729
  • RGB: 74,119,41
  • CMYK: 71/4/100/45
  • PMS: 364

Pugh Blue

  • HEX: #96bee6
  • RGB: 150,190,230
  • CMYK: 40/14/0/0
  • PMS: 284

Stately Atherton

  • HEX: #ac8dce
  • RGB: 172,141,206
  • CMYK: 29/32/0/0
  • PMS: 2092

Old Coaly

  • HEX: #444444
  • RGB: 68,68,68
  • CMYK: 48/29/26/76
  • PMS: 425

Original 1887

  • HEX: #bc204b
  • RGB: 188,32,75
  • CMYK: 0/100/45/12
  • PMS: 7636

The Vibrant Accent Palette

The Vibrant Palette celebrates the insights, ideas, and breakthroughs that Penn Staters deliver every day. The colors speak to the ongoing imagination and optimism of the Penn State spirit.

Mood map indicating that the vibrant accent palette resides in the bold casual quadrant

Colors in the Vibrant Palette skew bold and casual on the mood map but are flexible enough to be used in a wide range of communications.

Dawn of Discovery

  • HEX: #f2665e
  • RGB: 242,102,94
  • CMYK: 0/75/60/0
  • PMS: 7416

Bright Keystone

  • HEX: #FFD100
  • RGB: 255,209,0
  • CMYK: 0/9/100/0
  • PMS: 109

Invent Orange

  • HEX: #E98300
  • RGB: 233,131,0
  • CMYK: 0/52/100/0
  • PMS: 144

Future's Calling

  • HEX: #99cc00
  • RGB: 153,204,0
  • CMYK: 38/0/82/0
  • PMS: 2291

Green Opportunity

  • HEX: #008755
  • RGB: 0,135,85
  • CMYK: 97/0/86/15
  • PMS: 7725

Perpetual Wonder

  • HEX: #491d70
  • RGB: 73,29,112
  • CMYK: 80/100/1/6
  • PMS: 3555

Endless Potential

  • HEX: #000321
  • RGB: 0,3,33
  • CMYK: 100/63/16/78
  • PMS: 2965C
Graphic image of a camera view finder
3 Design Essentials //

Photography

Compelling photography is essential in supporting and strengthening every story we tell. A great photo should evoke a strong emotional response and convey the optimism, authenticity, and activeness of the Penn State character, immersing your audience in your subject’s story.

Additional photography guidelines, tips, and tutorials are available for you to use and reference in your storytelling.

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Chart of fonts: Proxima Nova, Proxima Nova Condensed, Serifa, Franklin Gothic, Rockwell, Roboto, Roboto Slab, Roboto Condensed
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Fonts

Our brand fonts are essential to aligning your communications with our brand. To ensure consistency across marketing materials, specific fonts are recommended for University communications. Starting in summer 2021, we have shifted to using Adobe Fonts and open type fonts for all Penn State communications. We are adding Proxima Nova and Proxima Nova Condensed to our brand print fonts. We’d like to begin using Proxima Nova as soon as possible, but understand if units need to gradually make the change from Avenir. Note that Adobe will stop supporting PostScript fonts in 2023, so if your copy of Avenir is PostScript, it can no longer be used in Adobe Photoshop and will not be supported by other Adobe applications starting in 2023. We are making a change from Open Sans to the Roboto family of fonts for web use. Roboto also includes Slab and Condensed faces, making it a robust choice for our web sites. Adobe Fonts is available at no additional cost to Penn State students, faculty, and staff through the University’s partnership with Adobe Creative Cloud. To get started, learn more about accessing and using our new brand fonts with our downloadable guide.

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