Recently the Australian government introduced new guidelines for cigarette packaging. Along side explicit photographs of diseased gums and lung cancer victims is what some people are calling “the world’s ugliest colour.” A research agency isolated PANTONE 448C – a rather sickly shade of green-brown that proves off-putting to smokers. Market research found that the public associated words such as “dirty”, “tar” and “death” with the murky color. PANTONE 448C now covers 25% of each and every cigarette package, no matter its size. Since the introduction of the standardized packaging the number of smokers in Australia, according to a government report, has dropped by 118,000. We may never know if PANTONE 448C had an impact on this substantial decline in smokers, but it’s safe to say the color is less than appealing.
The color experts at the Pantone Color Institute, who were not consulted during this particular redesign, say there is no such thing as the “ugliest color” nor, for that matter, is there such a thing as the most “beautiful color.” It’s left up to the individual to make those determinations. I guess the old adage holds true – beauty is in the eye of the beholder.