Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The color crimson versus other reds in school colors

In the creation of FanPix, I had to acquire the school colors and logos for many teams.  I expected it to be hard but it turns out most universities have large branding departments and give a lot of very specific information about their visual branding.  For example, this site at Indiana University includes the following:
The HEX in particular you can cut and paste into Photoshop and many APIs.  (Note I often get asked if I am allowed to use these colors and logos.  We don't charge for or have ads in FanPix and the IP lawyer I consulted said this is probably fair use because a photo of a real logo painted on a face seems to be, and we are not costing the trademark owners money the way we would be if we gave away free t-shirts).    The word "crimson" comes up a decent amount in sports, and one has to wonder why this rarely used color name is used at all.  The word is one of the 954 most common color names at xkcd, where it is around #8c000f.  If we consult wikipedia, we see Crimson has been used in English for over 600 years.  That same article shows several college teams that use "crimson" as one of their colors.   The six schools are shown here (the colors are from their various branding sites):
 Interestingly Utah and Kansas appear to have a classic red, but call it "crimson".  The xkcg crimson gives this:
 I looked through some other logos and found these darkish reds not in the wikipedia list:
 With xkcd crimson in there we get where maybe Cornell and Montana are not really crimson:
 In reading order the universities' own names for their colors are: carnelian (Cornell Red),  cardinal, maroon, maroon, crimson (wikipedia missed that one!), maroon, and garnet (not common enough to have its own wikipedia page!)   Note it is not our imagination that many teams have some red as a color.

One thing is for sure from this: I am saying "maroon" and "red" from now on!   After looking at so many team branding sites, my award for best goes to Notre Dame which has fully modernized its treatment of ND gold.   "Electronic displays (LCD screens, CRT monitors, etc.) may display colors slightly different than in print. Gold is a particularly challenging color. As such, an alternate gold has been provided for electronic applications."   North Carolina has the most "have to get it just right" color: carolina blue.  My award for the word goes to my own Reed College, which to my surprise has a color: "Reed Red", or if we go to the wikipedia page it is richmond rose, whatever that is!   That being said, Reed has the best seal, unofficial, though to Reed's credit available on the official school bookstore.

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