Skip to Content

What are the most popular school color combinations?

What are the most popular school color combinations?

School colors are an important part of a school’s identity and spirit. The colors are used across uniforms, merchandise, facilities and more. When selecting school colors, many factors come into play – tradition, meaning, appearance and coordination. Over time, certain color combinations have emerged as the most popular for educational institutions. Let’s explore some of the top school color pairs and what makes them so common.

Red and White

One of the most classic school color combinations is red and white. This pairing shows up at all levels of education, from elementary schools to major universities. Red and white evoke passion, action and excellence. Red is an intense, bold shade that signifies ambition and drive. White provides a crisp, clean contrast to the red. Together, they create an energetic, vibrant set of school colors.

Many schools choose red and white because they are classic American colors. They appear in the flag and other national symbols. Using red, white and blue is a way to show patriotism and link to America’s heritage. These colleges and universities have adopted red and white as their official colors:

  • University of Alabama
  • Indiana University
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Nebraska – Lincoln
  • Ohio State University
  • University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • Louisiana State University

From a design perspective, red and white have high contrast and visibility. They are easy to spot and incorporate into merchandise, uniforms and facilities. Overall, the pairing of passionate red with pure white creates a bold, classic set of school colors.

Blue and White

Another extremely common school color scheme is blue and white. This combination represents wisdom, trust and strength. Blue is associated with truth, stability and focus. It conjures images of clear skies and calm waters. White provides balance as a neutral shade of purity and clarity. Blue and white together create a reliable, professional set of school colors.

Many academic institutions aim for this dependable feel with their blue and white palette. The colors work for schools that want to project intelligence, integrity and authority. Some major universities featuring blue and white include:

  • Duke University
  • University of California – Los Angeles
  • University of Michigan
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • University of North Carolina
  • University of Virginia

Blue and white are also extremely versatile colors for merchandise and facilities. They work for a wide range of designs from conservative to modern. These cool tones are easy on the eyes while still providing sufficient contrast. For schools seeking reliable, respectable colors, blue and white is a popular choice.

Green and White

Adding in some green creates another traditional school color scheme – green and white. This palette represents growth, nature and wellbeing. Green evokes plant life, health, and renewal. Paired with crisp white, it creates a vibrant, organic set of colors. Green and white are often seen at schools with agricultural programs or connections to nature.

Many institutions also choose green to represent growth and development. It symbolizes learning, progress and future success. Some colleges and universities featuring green and white include:

  • Michigan State University
  • Stanford University
  • Northwestern University
  • University of Vermont
  • University of Washington
  • Oregon State University

Green and white allow schools to celebrate the natural world around them. They also demonstrate a commitment to progress and achievement. With uplifting, organic associations, this color pairing creates a well-balanced set of academic colors.

Blue and Gold

For schools seeking a bolder, more dynamic palette, blue and gold is a popular option. The pairing combines reliable blue with bright, shiny gold. Together they create an attention-grabbing set of colors with traditional roots. Blue still provides that sense of trust and intelligence. Gold adds prestige, value and vibrancy.

Many old, established academic institutions feature blue and gold including these universities:

  • University of California – Berkeley
  • University of California – Los Angeles
  • Yale University
  • University of Iowa
  • Purdue University
  • Georgia Tech

The blue and gold combination has a luxury feel as well. The metallic gold shade adds flair and sophistication. Overall, these colors come across as traditional yet bold – ideal for schools with rich histories and storied programs.

Maroon and Gold

For a darker, bolder take on blue and gold, there is the maroon and gold palette. Maroon provides a richer, deeper base while gold adds vibrancy as the accent color. This combination conveys prestige, passion and sophistication.

Maroon has associations with desire, courage and strength. Paired with radiant gold, it creates a dramatic set of colors fitting for competitive, spirited institutions. Many major athletics programs feature maroon and gold including:

  • University of Oklahoma
  • Texas A&M University
  • University of Southern California
  • Arizona State University
  • University of Minnesota
  • Virginia Tech

From a design perspective, maroon and gold have excellent contrast and visual impact. They grab attention while also appearing elegant and refined. For schools seeking a daring, passionate personality, maroon and gold is a popular color choice.

Navy and Silver

Navy blue paired with metallic silver creates a color combination with tradition and intensity. Navy represents knowledge, power and stability. With its dark blue tones, it feels classic and distinguished. Adding in shimmering silver provides contrast and sophistication.

Many top institutions feature navy and silver including these universities:

  • United States Naval Academy
  • Notre Dame University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • North Carolina State University
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Miami University

The navy and silver palette has an upscale, elegant quality as well. Silver trim and accents add polish against the deep navy background. These cool tones feel refined and confident for schools seeking a distinguished image.

Orange and Blue

For schools wanting an energetic, vibrant identity, orange and blue is a dynamic combination. Orange is bold, youthful and invigorating. It represents enthusiasm, creativity and fun. When combined with calming, reliable blue, the result is an eclectic, spirited color scheme.

Many major public universities have adopted orange and blue including these institutions:

  • University of Texas
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Tennessee
  • Auburn University
  • Syracuse University
  • Oregon State University

Orange and blue have high contrast for easy visibility. Yet the palette also balances warm and cool tones. For schools seeking an upbeat, lively identity, this color pairing hits the mark. It says the institution is open, energetic and future-focused.

Red and Black

Red paired with classic black creates an edgy, punk rock scheme for schools. Black represents power, sophistication and mystery. Red maintains its associations with passion, boldness and excitement. Combined, this high-contrast duo makes a daring statement.

Many competitive, intense college programs feature red and black including:

  • Harvard University
  • Cornell University
  • Alabama State University
  • Indiana State University
  • University of Chicago
  • Purdue University

From a design perspective, red and black are super visible and eye-catching. They allow graphic elements to pop against each background shade. For schools with rebellious spirits and competitive cultures, red and black is an optimal choice.

Green and Gold

Green paired with gold creates a nature-inspired yet prestigious scheme. Green maintains its associations with health, renewal and the natural environment. Gold adds elements of value, quality and vibrancy. Together they form an organic, upscale combination.

Many schools leveraging green and gold seek to convey development and top-tier status including:

  • North Dakota State University
  • University of California – Berkeley
  • University of Miami
  • Louisiana State University
  • University of Southern Mississippi
  • Colorado State University

Gold trim and accents pop against green backgrounds. The palette feels lush and elegant while also appearing natural. For Universities that take pride in their environment and excellence, green and gold is a winning choice.

Red and Gold

Red paired with gold conveys passion, prestige and intensity. Red maintains its bold, dramatic associations. When combined with brilliant gold, the pairing feels luxurious and spirited. Red and gold make a statement.

Many globally recognized institutions feature red and gold including:

  • Harvard University
  • University of Southern California
  • Arizona State University
  • Rutgers University
  • Stanford University
  • University of Utah

From a design standpoint, red and gold have visual pop while appearing polished. Gold adds shine against rich, deep red backgrounds. Overall, this combination conveys passion and prestige – perfect for ambitious schools and programs.


When selecting school colors, there are many inspiring combinations to choose from. Traditional pairings like red and white or blue and gold bring classic, timeless appeal. Edgier duos like orange and blue or red and black create vibrant, spirited identities. Green, maroon and navy offer deep base shades for flexible schemes as well.

In the end, school colors should represent the institution’s values, personality and vision. Popular combinations offer a great starting point. But finding the perfect pairing may require digging deeper into a school’s unique culture and community. With so many options, educational institutions can craft an optimal set of colors to motivate students and showcase spirit.

School Color Combination Meaning Example Universities
Red and White Passion, Excellence Ohio State, Alabama
Blue and White Wisdom, Strength Duke, Michigan
Green and White Nature, Growth Michigan State, Vermont
Blue and Gold Trust, Prestige UCLA, Yale
Maroon and Gold Courage, Vibrance Texas A&M, USC
Navy and Silver Stability, Refinement Notre Dame, Pittsburgh
Orange and Blue Energy, Balance Texas, Syracuse
Red and Black Passion, Power Alabama, Cornell
Green and Gold Nature, Excellence Berkeley, Miami
Red and Gold Ambition, Prestige USC, Stanford