College Team Colors by Geography

College Team Colors by Geography

Sticking with the team colors theme of the last couple of posts, I decided to take a look at the colors of college teams. I promise, up next will be something about logos, uniforms, team names, courts/fields, etc.

I went about these a little differently than I did the pro teams. First, I’m only looking at the 6 BCS conferences here (you’ll notice they’re next year’s alignment), and only the teams with football. I threw in Notre Dame, too, since they’re BCS-level despite their refusal to join a conference in football. Second, unlike pro teams, most college teams can be identified by one color, so that’s how I’ve approached this infographic. The only tough ones were schools that use blue and yellow/gold, blue and red, and those that seem to use black as a primary. So please forgive me if I’ve offended your school.

I started this in hopes of finding some interesting regional color trends, but all that resulted is what I hope is an interesting snapshot of team colors in major college sports. Some things that did jump out:

  • The SEC = red/maroon and orange country. Not much variety there in team colors (or team names for that matter — 2 Tigers and 2 Bulldogs).
  • The SEC isn’t the only region using those colors, though. Over 50% of the country is red, maroon, or orange.
  • There is WAY more maroon in college sports than the pros. Only one team between the NFL, NBA, and MLB uses a true maroon.
  • The Pac 12 is the most diverse conference by color. 9 of the 11 color categories established are present in their 12 teams.
  • North Carolina is the only BCS team with its own color category.

What else do you guys see?

As always, click to see full size:

11 Responses to “College Team Colors by Geography”

  1. Chris F
    May 27th, 2011 at 9:42 am

    It would appear to me that culture has impact on team colors.

    SEC, conservative south = less color categories?
    PAC 12, more-liberal west = more color categories?

    Do you think that has any relevance?

    Also, interesting that UNC is the only school with (well, obviously) Tarheel blue. I’d say that definitely contributes to how easily recognizable the brand is. I wonder why no other else has adopted the light blue color. Quite rare in pro sports too.

    Great infographic! Keep ‘em coming.

  2. DSMok1
    May 27th, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Do you think you could publish hexes for these colors? What source on the colors?

    Excellent Viz, by the way.

    Another school, Chris, with it’s own color, is Texas. Nobody else has burnt orange.

  3. The Sports Design Blog
    May 27th, 2011 at 11:07 am

    I pulled up logos of each school from and sampled a color, so these are by no means official — just close enough for my visual. I’m sure each school’s Licensing & Trademarks office has the official hex values available, though.

    And you’re right about Texas. I didn’t give them their own “category,” but they definitely have one of the more unique colors.

  4. ???
    May 27th, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    I see that you didn’t include the WAC, MWC, MAC or CUSA. You’re a great designer, though. Awesome stuff.

  5. Billy W
    May 28th, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    I have a question: since not all schools are clearly represented by just one color (e.g., I would never be able to identify UF as such without both blue and orange), how did you decide which school colors would represent those schools?

  6. The Sports Design Blog
    May 30th, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    Hey Billy. Yeah, the orange & blue schools and blue & yellow/gold schools were the toughest. I just had to decide based on various things – team’s website, uniforms, logo, fan’s shirts – to decide what was more primary. There’s definitely an opinion aspect to that, but most were clear.

  7. June 2nd, 2011 at 11:57 am

    [...] Terrific blog displaying a color scheme map of D-1 colleges (Sports Design Blog) [...]

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  9. Tony
    March 22nd, 2012 at 10:44 am

    I like the article, but you excluded another team (or rather institution) that has a color named after them, the Midshipmen. It is called NAVY blue after all.

  10. The Sports Design Blog
    March 22nd, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Thanks, Tony. For this article, I was just using the current 6 BCS conferences.

  11. 007punkrockgirl
    June 3rd, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Hi SD,

    DSMok1 posted above that U.Texas was the only one to use burnt orange, but by listing definition, Auburn’s colors are burnt orange and navy blue. Also, the “orange” used for U.Tennessee is lighter than the other oranges in the region, and the “green” used for U.Miami is completely different than other greens. It seems to me that many of the teams that are regionally close have tried to differentiate themselves by changing the hue slightly. As I am currently working on a business that relies on getting these colors right, I want to thank you for putting all this information together, it has been very helpful. :)

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