School colors

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In the United States, school colors are the colors chosen by a school to represent it on uniforms and other items of identification. Most schools have two colors, which are usually chosen to avoid conflicts with other schools [1] with which the school competes in sports and other activities. The colors are often worn to build morale among the teachers and pupils, and as an expression of school spirit. [2]

Color Characteristic of human visual perception

Color, or colour, is the characteristic of human visual perception described through color categories, with names such as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, or purple. This perception of color derives from the stimulation of cone cells in the human eye by electromagnetic radiation in the visible spectrum. Color categories and physical specifications of color are associated with objects through the wavelength of the light that is reflected from them. This reflection is governed by the object's physical properties such as light absorption, emission spectra, etc.

School Institution for the education of students by teachers

A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students under the direction of teachers. Most countries have systems of formal education, which is commonly compulsory. In these systems, students progress through a series of schools. The names for these schools vary by country but generally include primary school for young children and secondary school for teenagers who have completed primary education. An institution where higher education is taught, is commonly called a university college or university, but these higher education institutions are usually not compulsory.

School uniform standardized outfit worn by students of an educational institution

A school uniform is a uniform worn by students primarily for a school or otherwise educational institution. They are common in primary and secondary schools in various countries. Although often used interchangeably, there is an important distinction between dress codes and school uniforms: according to scholars such as Nathan Joseph, clothing can only be considered a uniform when it "(a) serves as a group emblem, (b) certifies an institution's legitimacy by revealing individual's relative positions and (c) suppresses individuality." An example of a uniform would be requiring white button-downs and ties for boys and pleated skirts for girls, with both wearing blazers. A uniform can even be as simple as requiring collared shirts, or restricting colour choices and limiting items students are allowed to wear. A dress code, on the other hand, is much less restrictive, and focuses "on promoting modesty and discouraging anti-social fashion statements", according to Marian Wilde. Examples of a dress code would be not allowing ripped clothing, no logos or limiting the amount of skin that can be shown.


School colors are often found in pairs and rarely no more than trios, though some professional teams use up to four colors in a set. The choice of colors usually follows the rule of tincture from heraldry, but exceptions to this rule are known.

Rule of tincture rule of color composition

The most basic rule of heraldic design is the rule of tincture: metal should not be put on metal, nor colour on colour. This means that Or and argent may not be placed on each other; nor may any of the colours be placed on another colour. Heraldic furs as well as "proper" are exceptions to the rule of tincture.

Heraldry Profession, study, or art of creating, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol

Heraldry is a broad term, encompassing the design, display, and study of armorial bearings, as well as related disciplines, such as vexillology, together with the study of ceremony, rank, and pedigree. Armory, the best-known branch of heraldry, concerns the design and transmission of the heraldic achievement. The achievement, or armorial bearings usually includes a coat of arms on an shield, helmet, and crest, together with any accompanying devices, such as supporters, badges, heraldic banners, and mottoes.

Common primary colors include orange , purple , blue , red , and green . These colors are either paired with a color representing a metal (often black , brown , gray (or silver ), white , or gold ), or occasionally each other, such as orange/blue, red/green, or blue/yellow. Pairing two metals, such as black/white, silver/gold, and especially black/gold, is also a common practice. Finally, some American schools, in a display of patriotism, adopt the national colors of red, white, or blue. [3]

Purple Range of colors with the hues between blue and red

Purple is a color intermediate between blue and red. It is similar to violet, but unlike violet, which is a spectral color with its own wavelength on the visible spectrum of light, purple is a secondary color made by combining red and blue. The complementary color of purple in the RYB color model is yellow.

Blue A primary colour between purple and green

Blue is one of the three primary colours of pigments in painting and traditional colour theory, as well as in the RGB colour model. It lies between violet and green on the spectrum of visible light. The eye perceives blue when observing light with a dominant wavelength between approximately 450 and 495 nanometres. Most blues contain a slight mixture of other colours; azure contains some green, while ultramarine contains some violet. The clear daytime sky and the deep sea appear blue because of an optical effect known as Rayleigh scattering. An optical effect called Tyndall scattering explains blue eyes. Distant objects appear more blue because of another optical effect called aerial perspective.

Red color

Red is the color at the end of the visible spectrum of light, next to orange and opposite violet. It has a dominant wavelength of approximately 625–740 nanometres. It is a primary color in the RGB color model and the CMYK color model, and is the complementary color of cyan. Reds range from the brilliant yellow-tinged scarlet and vermillion to bluish-red crimson, and vary in shade from the pale red pink to the dark red burgundy. The red sky at sunset results from Rayleigh scattering, while the red color of the Grand Canyon and other geological features is caused by hematite or red ochre, both forms of iron oxide. Iron oxide also gives the red color to the planet Mars. The red color of blood comes from protein hemoglobin, while ripe strawberries, red apples and reddish autumn leaves are colored by anthocyanins.

In an effort to further establish identity and promote a standard, many institutions often decree the use of specific shades of colors. Maroon, generally regarded as a darker shade of red, is a common primary color. Various shades of blue, from powder to Prussian, are also in use; a few schools have adopted two different shades of blue for their colors, with the darker shade serving as the primary. The shade of gold can vary greatly even within an institution, from a vivid yellow to a more convincing gold.

Powder blue is a pale shade of blue. As with most colours, there is no absolute definition of its exact hue, but according to Etymology Online, powder blue originally referred in the 1650s to powdered smalt used in laundering and dyeing applications, and it then came to be used as a colour name from 1894.

Prussian blue is a dark blue pigment produced by oxidation of ferrous ferrocyanide salts. It has the chemical formula FeIII
. Another name for the color is Berlin blue or, in painting, Parisian or Paris blue. Turnbull's blue is the same substance, but is made from different reagents, and its slightly different color stems from different impurities.

Yellow color

Yellow is the color between orange and green on the spectrum of visible light. It is evoked by light with a dominant wavelength of roughly 570–590 nm. It is a primary color in subtractive color systems, used in painting or color printing. In the RGB color model, used to create colors on television and computer screens, yellow is a secondary color made by combining red and green at equal intensity. Carotenoids give the characteristic yellow color to autumn leaves, corn, canaries, daffodils, and lemons, as well as egg yolks, buttercups, and bananas. They absorb light energy and protect plants from photodamage. Sunlight has a slight yellowish hue when sun is near a horizon, due to atmosphere scattering shorter wavelengths.

Black, white and gray are often used as neutral colors for sets that do not otherwise adopt them. This practice is especially notable in basketball (where home uniforms are often white) and professional baseball (where team colors are often used as trim for white or gray uniforms).


Most competitive teams keep two sets of uniforms, with one emphasizing the primary color and the other emphasizing the secondary color. In some sports, such as American football, the primary color is emphasized on home uniforms, while uniforms for other sports, notably basketball, use the secondary or a neutral color at home. This is done to avoid confusing the two schools' colors. In addition, various groups that generate support for athletic teams, including cheerleaders and marching bands, wear uniforms with the colors of their school.

American football Team field sport

American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, which is the team controlling the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without control of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and aims to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, and otherwise they turn over the football to the defense; if the offense succeeds in advancing ten yards or more, they are given a new set of four downs. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

Basketball team sport played on a court with baskets on either end

Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most commonly of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court, compete with the primary objective of shooting a basketball through the defender's hoop while preventing the opposing team from shooting through their own hoop. A field goal is worth two points, unless made from behind the three-point line, when it is worth three. After a foul, timed play stops and the player fouled or designated to shoot a technical foul is given one or more one-point free throws. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but if regulation play expires with the score tied, an additional period of play (overtime) is mandated.

Cheerleading type of fun activity

Cheerleading is an activity in which the participants cheer for their team as a form of encouragement. It can range from chanting slogans to intense physical activity. It can be performed to motivate sports teams, to entertain the audience, or for competition. Competitive routines typically range anywhere from one to three minutes, and contain components of tumbling, dance, jumps, cheers, and stunting.

School colors have many non-athletic purposes as well. Members of a university's community will often display them as a sign of support or spirit for their particular institution. Likewise, during college or university ceremonies, those schools which award an academic hood to their students will generally abide by the American Council on Education guidelines and use the school colors on the inside and the disciplinary colors on the outside velvet trim (regardless of the ceremony, recipients of a degree have the right to wear the hood thereafter). Some doctoral robes will also be in the colors of the university which granted the degree. At many private schools, or more traditional state schools, "school colours" are awards presented for achievement in a subject or a sport - See Sporting colours.

American Council on Education organization

The American Council on Education (ACE) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) U.S. higher education association established in 1918. ACE's members are the leaders of approximately 1,700 accredited, degree-granting colleges and universities and higher education-related associations, organizations, and corporations. The organization, located in Washington, DC, conducts public policy advocacy, research, and other initiatives related to key higher education issues and offers leadership development programs to its members and others in the higher education community.

Sporting colours

Sporting colours or just colours are awarded to members of a university or school who have excelled in a sport. Many schools do not limit their use to sport but may also give colours for academic excellence or non-sporting extra-curricular activities, Colours are traditionally indicated by the wearing of a special tie or blazer.

British and Irish universities traditionally have an academic scarf in the university's colors, usually long, woollen and patterned only with lengthwise stripes of varying widths. At collegiate universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Durham and Lancaster, each college has its own colors and scarf. Other non-collegiate universities such as Glasgow and Newcastle have scarf colors for each faculty.

See also

Related Research Articles

Brown color

Brown is a composite color. In the CMYK color model used in printing or painting, brown is made by combining red, black, and yellow, or red, yellow, and blue. In the RGB color model used to project colors onto television screens and computer monitors, brown is made by combining red and green, in specific proportions. In painting, brown is generally made by adding black to orange. Mixing red-green-blue pigments makes mud color. The brown color is seen widely in nature, in wood, soil, human hair color, eye color and skin pigmentation. Brown is the color of dark wood or rich soil. According to public opinion surveys in Europe and the United States, brown is the least favorite color of the public; the color is most often associated with plainness, the rustic and poverty.

Gold (color) color

Gold, also called golden, is a color.

In computing, on the X Window System, X11 color names are represented in a simple text file, which maps certain strings to RGB color values. It was traditionally shipped with every X11 installation, hence the name, and is usually located in <X11root>/lib/X11/rgb.txt. The web colors list is descended from it but differs for certain color names.

Complementary colors pairs of colors which, when combined, cancel each other out

Complementary colors are pairs of colors which, when combined or mixed, cancel each other out by producing a grayscale color like white or black. When placed next to each other, they create the strongest contrast for those two colors. Complementary colors may also be called "opposite colors."

In the visual arts, color theory or colour theory is a body of practical guidance to color mixing and the visual effects of a specific color combination. There are also definitions of colors based on the color wheel: primary color, secondary color, and tertiary color. Although color theory principles first appeared in the writings of Leone Battista Alberti and the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, a tradition of "colory theory" began in the 18th century, initially within a partisan controversy over Isaac Newton's theory of color and the nature of primary colors. From there it developed as an independent artistic tradition with only superficial reference to colorimetry and vision science.

Flag of Delaware flag

The flag of Delaware consists of a buff-colored diamond on a field of colonial blue, with the coat of arms of the state of Delaware inside the diamond. Below the diamond, the date December 7, 1787, declares the day on which Delaware became the first state to ratify the United States Constitution. The colors of the flag reflect the colors of the uniform of General George Washington.

Color term word or phrase that refers to a specific color

A color term is a word or phrase that refers to a specific color. The color term may refer to human perception of that color which is usually defined according to the Munsell color system, or to an underlying physical property. There are also numerical systems of color specification, referred to as color spaces.

Bay (horse) hair coat color of horses

Bay is a hair coat color of horses, characterized by a brown body color with a black mane, tail, ear edges, and lower legs. Bay is one of the most common coat colors in many horse breeds.

Maroon color

Maroon is a dark reddish purple or dark brownish red color that takes its name from the French word marron, or chestnut.

Color scheme choice of colors used in design

In color theory, a color scheme is the choice of colors used in design for a range of media. For example, the "Achromatic" use of a white background with black text is an example of a basic and commonly default color scheme in web design.

Chestnut (coat) Horse coat color

Chestnut is a hair coat color of horses consisting of a reddish-to-brown coat with a mane and tail the same or lighter in color than the coat. Chestnut is characterized by the absolute absence of true black hairs. It is one of the most common horse coat colors, seen in almost every breed of horse.

Equine coat color Horse coat colors and markings

Horses exhibit a diverse array of coat colors and distinctive markings. A specialized vocabulary has evolved to describe them.

Winged football helmet

The winged football helmet is a helmet bearing a distinctive two-toned painted design that typically has sharp outward curves over the forehead forming a wing. It is worn by many high school and college American football teams, most popularly by the University of Michigan Wolverines.

Black (horse) Horse coat color

Black is a hair coat color of horses in which the entire hair coat is black. Black is a relatively uncommon coat color, and it is not uncommon to mistake dark chestnuts or bays for black.

Tints and shades a mixture of a color with white or black

In color theory, a tint is a mixture of a color with white, which reduces darkness, while a shade is a mixture with black, which increases darkness. Both processes affect the resulting color mixture's relative lightness. A tone is produced either by mixing a color with grey, or by both tinting and shading. Mixing a color with any neutral color reduces the chroma, or colorfulness, while the hue remains unchanged.

Shades of green Varieties of the color green

Varieties of the color green may differ in hue, chroma or lightness, or in two or three of these qualities. Variations in value are also called tints and shades, a tint being a green or other hue mixed with white, a shade being mixed with black. A large selection of these various colors is shown below.

Shades of red Colors that are variations of red

Varieties of the color red may differ in hue, chroma or lightness, or in two or three of these qualities. Variations in value are also called tints and shades, a tint being a red or other hue mixed with white, a shade being mixed with black. A large selection of these various colors is shown below.

Shades of gray Variations of the color gray

Variations of gray or grey include achromatic grayscale shades, which lie exactly between white and black, and nearby colors with low colorfulness. A selection of a number of these various colors is shown below.

This article provides introductory information about the RGB, HSV, and HSL color models from a computer graphics perspective. An introduction to colors is also provided to support the main discussion.


  1. "Guide to the University of Chicago School Color History Collection 1894-1911". Retrieved 2016-05-11.
  2. "Princeton University - Orange and black -- the history of Princeton's colors". Retrieved 2016-05-11.
  3. "History of Penn Colors, University of Pennsylvania University Archives". Retrieved 2016-05-11.