Prepare to look smart: Official Colorado State University tartan plaid announced, merchandise coming soon

Note to Reporters: A graphic of the winning tartan is available as a file with this release at or by contacting Dell Rae Moellenberg at 970-491-6009 or

Colorado State University students, faculty and staff, alumni, donors and friends will sport a new, official university tartan plaid this fall, with the selection today of an official pattern.

With nearly 4,600 votes counted, “Rams Timeless Tartan” was selected by Rams everywhere as the favorite choice. The design was created by interior design student Ajay Li. The winning design was announced today during Celebrate! Colorado State festivities.

Timeless Tartan was selected from three final designs, all submitted by Design and Merchandising students, as part of a contest to select the official tartan plaid. Official CSU merchandise in the Timeless Tartan design will be available this fall in the CSU Bookstore and other local and national retailers. The bookstore will develop and license official tartan merchandise and register the final tartan in Scotland in the Scottish Register of Tartans and the United States.

Design and Merchandising students were charged with creating an original tartan in the university’s branded colors (two specific tones of green, plus gold and pumpkin). The competition for the final design was sponsored by CSU’s Division of External Relations, the CSU Bookstore and the Department of Design and Merchandising. Students were given a month to develop their designs, and 17 students submitted 76 designs. The final three designs up for vote were chosen by a committee based on creativity, adaptability of the design and use of a tartan concept, as well as the criteria of the contest, such as use of the proper colors.

“The CSU Bookstore working in conjunction CSU Licensing is developing official tartan merchandise programs in gifts, office supplies and apparel,” said Jim Armstrong, assistant director of Merchandise and Supplies at the CSU Bookstore. “We’ll make tartan merchandise available at the on-campus CSU Bookstore, CSU Denver Alumni Store, CSU Game Day Store — a new store in downtown Fort Collins opening in June — and the CSU Bookstore website.”

A portion of the revenue from sales of the CSU Official Tartan products from the CSU Bookstore will support Department of Design and Merchandising student scholarships and the balance of the revenue will support university student programs and services. The CSU Department of Athletics is sharing a portion of the licensing revenue on licensed CSU Official Products with the Department of Design and Merchandising as well.

Li will receive a $200 gift certificate to the CSU Bookstore for his winning design. The other two final designs were submitted by apparel and merchandising student Joel Lobo, who also will receive CSU Bookstore gift certificates.

A tartan is traditionally known as plaid patterns worn in Scotland, often as a kilt or sash slung over the shoulder. Hundreds of years ago, Scottish warriors and their clans were identified by the specific pattern or patterns of plaid they wore.
The Department of Design and Merchandising is part of the College of Health and Human Sciences, formerly the College of Applied Human Sciences. More information about the contest is at The CSU Bookstore website is