what is the ugliest color? The Color of Controversy and Cigarettes

Amidst the multitude of colors in our world, one stands out for its notorious reputation: Pantone 448 C.

This deep, murky brown-green hue has earned the label of the “ugliest color in the world.”

The Australian government deliberately selected Pantone 448 C for plain cigarette packaging to make smoking less appealing.

Market researchers found this color to be the most off-putting, evoking associations with dirt and tar.

Its effectiveness in discouraging smoking led to its adoption in other countries.

Including the UK, France, and Norway, cementing its reputation as a tool for public health rather than aesthetics.

ugliest color



The Selection of Pantone 448 C

Pantone 448 C’s rise to infamy began in 2012 when the Australian government sought a color for plain tobacco packaging.

The objective was to make the packaging unattractive to deter smoking.

Market researchers conducted a study with thousands of smokers, revealing that Pantone 448 C was the least appealing color to them.

Described as a “drab dark brown,” Pantone 448 C, also known as “opaque couché,” evoked feelings of dirtiness and tar, fitting associations for packaging a harmful product.

Its effectiveness led to its adoption for cigarette packaging in several other countries, including the UK, France, and Norway.

The Psychology of Color

The perception of Pantone 448 C as the ugliest color is deeply rooted in psychology, not just personal taste.

Colors can evoke emotions and behaviors, and this particular shade triggers negative reactions.

While some colors are generally linked with positive feelings blue with calmness, green with nature Pantone 448 C lacks positive associations.

Also Read: Ugliest Barbie Doll: A Reflection of Society’s Changing Views on Gender and Education

Cultural Context and Personal Preference

Color ugliness is subjective and varies with cultural context and personal preference.

In some cultures, people view a color as unattractive in one setting but consider it sophisticated and desirable in another.

Designers and fashion enthusiasts often value earthy tones, like Pantone 448 C, for their natural and subdued qualities.

The Impact on Design and Branding

Labeling Pantone 448 C as the world’s ugliest color has influenced design and branding significantly.

While using it to discourage smoking, marketers have also sparked discussions about color usage.

Brands usually use colors to attract consumers, but Pantone 448 C shows that color can also repel, serving a greater good.


The story of Pantone 448 C highlights the powerful role of color in our lives.

It prompts us to reflect on how we perceive colors and the subjective nature of beauty and ugliness.

Despite its title as the ugliest color, Pantone 448 C has played a crucial role in public health and design.

Demonstrating that even the most disliked color can have a significant purpose.

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