You may not think there’s a place in this world for the ugliest color, but you’re wrong.
Pantone 448c and its muddied, brown awfulness, was deemed the world’s ugliest color by a group of researchers looking for a color that would help make cigarette packets as unappealing as possible.
This “drab, dark brown” also called “opaque couché,” has been described as “death,” “dirty,” and “tar,” making it ideal for its job as cigarette killer. It took three months for research agency GfK to find the right shade of awful to satisfy the Australian government, who wanted to start matching the color with graphic health warnings on cigarette packaging. The goal was to find a color so terrible, it would make people stop smoking, or at least thinking twice about continuing the habit.
Other governments, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, and France have adopted similar “plain packaging” laws that include the same important color.
Of course, ugly is in the eye of the beholder. All I see when I look at this color is the strange shade my grandfather’s Easter eggs would turn after dipping the same egg into every color. It was a yearly tradition that pretty closely matched Pantone 448c.