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CFR Color Selection for 2015!

[This post was written by Ann Worley and Kristen Goshorn of OFR’s CFR Unit]

Each year, there is one update every book in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) receives: a change in color.

Starting in January 1970, CFR volumes were bound in paperback form with a stripe of color on both the spine and face of the book. The color changes every calendar year, and is voted on by staff and chosen by the Director of the Federal Register. The change in colors helps libraries keep an accurate and orderly set of CFRs. The colors are also used online in the electronic database Colors can be repeated, but generally not within ten years of each other.

The first color edition (1970) was printed in brick red. This color was used again in 2013, and is referred to in-house as “Regulatory Red”. It was chosen to appear alongside the blue anniversary logo commemorating the CFRs 75th anniversary, forming a patriotic trio of colors.


The color selection process has not been without its faults. In 2006, the CFR sported a bright yellow. Over time this yellow faded to a chalky remnant of its original hue. The result was a full year of faintly outlined white cover text, making the 2013 volumes hard to differentiate from each other while on the shelf. For this reason, pastels and other light colors are generally avoided when selecting the next year’s color.

The purple for the 2014 edition was selected in honor of OFR’s then new Director, Charley Barth (purple is his favorite color).

The next year’s color is typically decided on during June or July. As such, next year’s color has already been chosen. Without further ado: the 2015 edition of the CFR will be printed in: Pantone 355U green.