Since the 1850s, Yale Crew has rowed in blue uniforms, and in 1894, blue was officially adopted as Yale's color, after half a century of being associated as green. In 2005, University Printer John Gambell was asked to standardize the color. He had characterized its spirit as "a strong, relatively dark blue, neither purple nor green, though it can be somewhat gray. It should be a color you would call blue." A vault in the university secretary's office holds two scraps of silk, apocryphally from a bolt of cloth for academic robes, preserved as the first official Yale Blue.
The university administration defines Yale Blue as a custom color whose closest approximation in the Pantone system is Pantone 289. Yale Blue inks may be ordered from the Superior Printing Ink Co., formulas 6254 and 6255.