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 colour. 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 colour is highly unappealing.
What did the colour experts at the Pantone Color Institute, who were not consulted during this particular redesign, have to say about 448C’s new found notoriety? “...we consider all colors equally. There is no such thing as the ugliest color nor is there such a thing as the most beautiful color. … With that said, we don’t consider PANTONE 448 to be the ‘fugliest color in the world,’ as our color word association studies show PANTONE 448 is a color associated with deep, rich earth tones.”
Proving, once again, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.