Carolina blue

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Carolina blue
North Carolina Tar Heels logo.svg
Common connotations
University of North Carolina
About these coordinates     Color coordinates
Hex triplet#4B9CD3
sRGBB  (rgb)(75, 156, 211)
CMYKH   (c, m, y, k)(60, 19, 1, 4)
SourceUNC Chapel Hill website
Color spacePMS
ISCC–NBS descriptorLight blue
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)
H: Normalized to [0–100] (hundred)

Carolina blue (occasionally referred to as Tar Heel blue) is the shade of blue used as one of the official school colors of the University of North Carolina. The name is derived from the popular usage of "Carolina" to refer to the university. For clarity in branding and marketing, UNC Creative has defined the color as Pantone 542 and declared that the CMYK representation is Cyan 60%, Magenta 19%, Yellow 1%, and Black 4%. This CMYK results in a Hex code of  #62C6F2 . However, the university has chosen the hex value of  #4B9CD3  as their web safe Carolina Blue due to contrast issues and Section 508 web requirements.[1] None of the colors match the selected Pantone 542 which would be a hex value of  #6699C2 , RGB of (102,153,194), and a CMYK value of 47,21,0,24.

The North Carolina Tar Heels athletics department has their own formulation for Carolina blue. Carolina athletics blue has the same CMYK color representation as the university's version of Carolina blue, but the RGB representation for Carolina athletics blue is Red 123, Green 175, and Blue 212. This results in a Hex code of  #7BAFD4 , the official matching hex code for Pantone 542 C.[2][3]

Use of the light blue color at UNC dates from 1795 when the Dialectic (blue) and Philanthropic (white) Societies of the university chose representative colors. Society members would wear a blue or white ribbon at university functions, and blue or white ribbons were attached to the diplomas of graduates.[4] Light blue and white have been UNC's sporting colors since the 1880s, when UNC's football team adopted the light blue and white of the Di-Phi Societies as their colors.[5]


  1. ^ "Carolina Blue & Color Guidelines". The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Archived from the original on July 17, 2017. Retrieved July 20, 2017.
  2. ^ Primary Identity (PDF). Carolina Athletics Brand Identity Guidelines. North Carolina Tar Heels. April 21, 2015. Retrieved July 20, 2017.
  3. ^ Pantone 542 C. Pantone Color Finder. Pantone. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  4. ^ "Culture Corner: Di-Phi: The Oldest Organization", Carolina Review, vol. XIII, no. 6 (March 2006), p. 13. Retrieved on May 13, 2008.
  5. ^ "Joining the Societies, Information Petitioners Should Know, Origin of Colors", Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies. Retrieved on May 13, 2008.