Meet Pantone 448C, the world's ugliest colour

It rouses notions of “deep, rich earth tones,” and has been used to dissuade smokers on plain packaging

Pantone, 448C, Colour, Green, Brown,

Pantone 448C is often found on shoes, couches, and household goods [Pantone]

Its shade calls to mind the earthiness of cow manure. Pantone 448C, the world’s ugliest colour.

At least according to one thousand Australians, who voted the green-brown mix their least favourite when asked to select which one they found the least visually appealing, in a poll to determine the most repellent cigarette packaging imaginable. Pantone 448C, also known as opaque couché, took home the title, with voters claiming it evoked a sense of dirtiness, death, and tar.

The survey, devised by the creative agency GfK, polled a thousand smokers on the colour choice, which is now the default shade on plain-packaged cigarettes on sale down under. Since the packaging law was introduced, which also includes health warning, records have shown a decrease in cigarette sales. The UK also introduced plain packaging laws in May, also daubing its cigarette packets in Pantone 448C, and the shade is expected to be applied when Ireland enacts its plain packaging ambitions.

Since the 1950s, Pantone has been a leading name in development of colour matching systems, with many global nations using Pantone colour codes to dictate the shades that should be used for the reproduction of national flags. While the company was not delighted to have one of its shades deemed the world’s most hideous, executive director Leatrice Eiseman told The Guardian: “At the Pantone Color Institute, we consider all colours equally.”

Adding that there was “no such thing as the ugliest colour,” Eiseman added that 448C rouses notions of “deep, rich earth tones,” and is commonly found on shoes, couches, and other household items.

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