What color is the STI Logo?

"It's not pink! It's lightish red!"


Since discovering Mighty Car Mods back in 2011, I've been a casual fan of Subaru and their STI performance line of cars. In particular the Blobeye WRX STI (that's the one from 2002-2005) has taken up permanent residence in a corner of my mind, rent-free. Emblazoned on each of the fog light covers found on the front fascia is the eye-catching, colorful logo for Subaru Technica International, or STI. I always wondered how Subaru decided that pink of all colors would come to represent their motorsports division. At least, I think it's a shade of pink...

The color found filling the letters of the STI logo is officially called "sakura no iro", or "cherry blossom color" according to Subaru. Cherry trees are widely celebrated in Japanese culture, and their beautiful blossoms are thought to symbolize (among other things) the fleeting beauty of life. When one sees the color on a Subaru, it appears to be a shade somewhere between Red and Pink. (Private Donut of Red vs. Blue might urge us to call it a "lightish red"). But what is the color, exactly? And has it always been the same?

We'll investigate with a quick trip to the official website of Subaru Technica International. At the tip-top of the page, there is a .png file of the STI logo contained in the website's header. Throwing it into an image editor, we can find the true color: RGB 200, 14, 70 or hexcode #C80E46. Bam! Mystery solved, right?

Well, not exactly. Further down the page, a web designer placed some UI navigation elements, which appear to be the same shade of cherry blossom at first glance. Inspecting these arrow buttons in an image editor reveals a second, slightly muddier version of the shade: RGB 200, 13, 72 or #C80D48.

Nearby, we see text which says in black, "Delivering "the world's most enjoyable" driving experience." Just below that, in cherry blossom, it says "This is the mission of STI" This is written in yet a third shade of the signature STI color: RGB 200, 14, 71 or #C80E47.

All three of the presented shades are very similar. In fact, they are so similar that it seems like any of them could be the real shade. So how can we determine which of the three versions is the one true color? The official color?

Having worked in web design at a Fortune 50 company, I can say with confidence that design decisions like colorways and specific shading are typically governed by an official brand guideline. At the company where I worked, there was a PowerPoint file we were expected to utilize which specified all of the relevant fonts and color codes for use in graphic and web design. Since the color of HTML text is easily controlled by Subaru's design teams and not as liable to be affected by artifacts or errors in the image encoding process, we can confidently say that the third shade is the most accurate, brand-approved version of the color. Plus, it lands almost smack dab in the middle of the other two shades, averaging out the blue values between the previous two shades at 71. (The green value is the same as the color present in the logo .png image, at 14; all three of the shades on the page are comprised of about 70% pure red, each using a red value of 200). This particular color is used no less than 17 times in the website's CSS code, indicating that #C80E47 is indeed the cannon, brand-approved color.

It's also worth mentioning that there appears to be an official darkened version of the shade as well. It is mostly used for highlighting interactable links on cursor rollover, and is only mentioned five times in the page's CSS styles. It is RGB 191, 9, 58 or #BF093A.

The "cannon shade" of Subaru Technica International.
A darker version of the "cannon shade."