The men's Final Four is all about the shade of blue

North Carolina versus Duke. Kansas versus Villanova. Blue against Blue against Blue against Blue. There will be plenty of a primary c...

North Carolina versus Duke. Kansas versus Villanova.

Blue against Blue against Blue against Blue.

There will be plenty of a primary color this weekend at the men’s basketball Final Four in New Orleans. But do not dare to say that these blues are all the same. Each university has its own shade, a color it reveres and often fiercely protects.

For UNC, it’s Carolina Blue, a sky blue color. The other three are darker, but each distinct: KU Blue, Duke Navy Blue and Villanova Signature Blue.

North Carolina can trace its link with light blue in the 18th century, when a debating society chose it as their color, said Fred Kiger, a university historian. By the 1880s, the football team had adopted the color. At that time, blue was much lighter than today’s color, but it gradually became richer, in part because it looked better on early color televisions.

Designer Alexander Julian, who revamped the team’s uniforms in the early 1990s, has his own definition: “the color of the sky in Chapel Hill above the Old Well around noon”.

Define shades of blue may seem like an imprecise concept, but in fact colors are specifically classified by the Pantone Matching System. The method is used by printers and designers to ensure consistency. It categorizes around 2,000 shades.

Carolina officially uses the color defined as Pantone 542. But Julian said he used the similar, but not quite identical, Pantone 278C for his uniforms. Each is much lighter than the blues of the other Final Four competitors, who have gone to the “dark side”, as Julian put it.

Kansas’ history with blue dates back to the 1870s, although there was a brief flirtation with crimson as its main color in imitation of Harvard. Its current blue, Pantone 293, is joined in the college color palette by crimson, Jayhawk yellow and gray.

the Kansas Jayhawk mascot has been blue for over 100 years. (Don’t go looking for this blue bird in birding tomes. “Jayhawk” was a slang term for anti-slavery guerrillas in the pre-war years.)

Duke’s even darker blue, Pantone 280, officially dates only from 1965, but its teams have worn the color for a long time. The team’s nickname, Blue Devils, derives from a French combat unit during World War I.

And Duke doesn’t mess with its color accuracy. Her brand webpage admonishes: “Any adjustment of the opacity or saturation of these colors is prohibited.”

Villanova’s blue, Pantone 281, is awfully close to Duke’s, but slightly darker. Nova also uses light blue in its logo (for the record, it’s Pantone 298). The navy blue color was chosen in 1900 by the student body.

“Psychologically, people relate to the colors of their environment,” Julian said. “As humans, we relate to sky blue in an uplifting and enlightening way. Dark skies mean trouble and blue skies mean clear sailing.

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Newsrust - US Top News: The men's Final Four is all about the shade of blue
The men's Final Four is all about the shade of blue
Newsrust - US Top News
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