Pantone 448 C is apparently the ugliest color in the world.
Each year, the Twitter-sphere (and literally everyone else on the internet who's even remotely interested in interior design, fashion, or Pinterest) patiently wait to hear which color The Pantone Color Institute will unveil as its official "Color of the Year." Last year, however, Pantone was involuntarily involved in what Australia is calling the "world's ugliest color," ever. How dramatic.
The color's official title is Pantone 448 C—also known as "opaque couché" or as some would describe, a "drab, dark brown." In all honesty, though, the color isn't all that bad. In fact, I can think of a few reasons as to why this reveal was a complete waste of time.
1. The Australian government spent actual money on this.
In 2012, the Australian government hired a team of market researchers to find a color that was repulsive enough to deter people from buying cigarettes. Surveyed smokers (this process took three months, seven studies, and more than 1,000 regular smokers aged between 16 and 64) described the brownish-green hue with words like "death," "dirty," and "tar." Naturally, researchers chose Pantone 448 C as the winner of the ugly contest.
Here's my issue, though. While the motivation behind finding this color is legitimate (and, according to a government report, actually worked), I just can't see spending money on something like this. According to the report, the "Plain Packaging" initiative also requires that all cigarette packs are plastered with large, grotesque images of what smoking could do to one's teeth, lungs, etc. in addition to a list of health warnings. So who's to say it was Pantone 448 C and not the hideous images that deterred the smokers from buying the package? I'm pretty sure a rotting lung is more repulsive than a Pantone paint swatch. (On another note: If people know the reason why this color now wraps their packaging, doesn't that defeat the purpose, mentally-speaking?)
2. The Australian Olive Association hated the color so much, they wrote a letter.
Okay, now this is ridiculous. Shortly after the "Plain Packaging" initiative was approved, the chief executive of The Australian Olive Association, Lisa Rowntree, sent a cease-and-desist letter to Health Minister Nicola Roxton requesting that she stop using the term "olive green" and instead adopt the term "drab green."
"Our members are having enough problems countering the flood of imported olive products being dumped in Australia via the large supermarket chains without the government promoting to the community that there is something negative about olive green," Rowntree wrote.
Apparently, the association received a number of calls and letters from various members of the public and fellow olive growers who were concerned about the color of cigarette packaging.
3. It's not dirty, murky, or muddy—it's earthy and beautiful.
Aside from the drama, Pantone 448 C isn't an ugly color. It's been used hundreds of times before, on the runway, in art, and in nature. To further prove my point, check out this article published by Cosmopolitan.com: "18 Times the World's Ugliest Color Was Actually Really Beautiful."
4. Pantone had literally nothing to do with this.
Despite the media's use of "Pantone" when referring to this color, the company didn't have anything to do with the Australian marketing campaign.
"At the Pantone Color Institute, we consider all colors equally," the company said in a statement to Cosmopolitan.com. "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 "ugliest color in the world," as our color word-association studies show PANTONE 448 is a color associated with deep, rich earth tones, the kind of shade that is used in elegant leathers and suedes for fashion accessories, outerwear, and footwear, and most especially in the home—a beautifully patina-ed antique armoire or an earthy brown tufted leather sofa."
And, mic drop.
What do you think? Is it really the ugliest color in the world? I mean, really?