EF’s color spectrum is inspired by the physical world of ink and paper. Ink and paper are a constant throughout academic history, and it’s from this that we draw inspiration for our updated palette.
Pastels are based on the concept of ‘paper’, a staple of both the academic and utilitarian worlds. These tones are completely new for G.U.D. 4, and should be used in harmony with the Ink Color range.
EF is blue. First Blue recalls our very first marketing materials back in the ’60s. It celebrates our bright, bold, optimistic DNA. First Blue should be used as our primary brand color when we’re talking to a broad external audience. It sets an informal tone which is suited more to adventure / travel than academic contexts, but can be used for either.
Much like our use of EF Circular, the use of First Blue transcends the specificity of Academic and Adventure-led products to be applicable everywhere.
The color of credibility, evocative of our academic heritage, this blue is used for EF office wayfinding, non-product-specific materials and in more academic or corporate contexts.
Education Blue is great for coming across seriously, professionally and academically. However sometimes it has a habit of blending in — so avoid for those uses where EF needs to stand out.
In markets or instances where EF needs to shout louder than everybody else, use Hello Pink – from global campaigns to internal communications.
Hello Pink was first introduced into EF’s products in China as a way to stand out in a saturated marketplace. It has since become synonymous with EF globally, and is also used a lot in the U.S.A.
Black is a straightforward way to communicate, so let’s be straightforward when using it. Don’t be subtle with small variances: try to stick to the old methods of printing pure black at 100% K. In digital, solid black is too strong on screen, so we use a slightly softened tone: Digital Black (#191919).
Black is academic in its most pure form. The OG ink color, as old as written language itself (think soot & pine resin), it’s an integral part of EF’s core color range.
White is something we have to include in our range, both on screen and in print. It’s essential to create designs and layouts that are clean, spacious and easy to understand. Utilizing white enables us to do that efficiently.
Not just a color that is there by default, the use of White in designs should be carefully and cleverly done. How it interacts with EFEFEF Gray to create spaces in digital designs is a good example of achieving subtle areas for text and image, while still having spaces of calm to let content breathe.
Our approach to color selection has its roots in academic design. In the past, and even in print today, every additional ink color is expensive.
The theory that we’re insisting all designers across all products think about is that ‘Color is Expensive’.
So in G.U.D. 4 we are required to limit our addition of ‘ink’ colors, doing everything we can with our first color before we contemplate adding a second color. You must have a very good reason to add any additional color. Barring a rare exception, we wouldn’t add color for mere decoration — rather, we would add a new ink color to serve a unique, functional purpose that the first doesn’t.
The color of body copy should be the color of the headline. Many designers in other companies change those colors, but we do not. They are almost always the same.
However, we would change the color of hyperlink type and the hover state on the web — this is an example of a functional requirement and it is worth the added ‘cost’.
G.U.D. 4 allows every product to use the Core Colors if their design teams deem it appropriate for them and their marketplace. Naturally, other colors will come into play for individual products. This is our Identity Model, which consists of a tight Core, plus flexibility around Product Expression.
Your design team must decide on your own product expression and how much color plays a part. Of course, the Central Creative Studio will join in that process, so that we can ensure balance across color choices in the EF product landscape.
The colors on this spread show the potential of what the EF product range could look like. There are many considerations, like marketplace and audience, that play a key role in identity color choice for your individual product – let alone EF and the other products!