Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

Color Clash: Is this World’s Ugliest Hue?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Comment | More

So much is written about the best and trendiest colors for use in our homes and workplaces—but what about the opposite? What’s the ugliest color possible?

Opaque Couche

"Opaque Couche,” Pantone 448 C, is a greenish brown that was chosen by the Australian government to use in tobacco packaging, due to its ability to “minimize appeal.”

The talk lately has pointed to “Opaque Couche,” Pantone 448 C, a greenish brown that was chosen by the Australian government to use in tobacco packaging, due to its ability to “minimize appeal.” The hue, which lands somewhere between army camouflage and raw sewage, ended up being the color most likely to turn people off from buying tobacco products, in a study of more than 1,000 smokers performed by GfK Bluemoon.

In Australia, the color now masks the parts of cigarette packs that aren’t already covered with warnings about the dangers of smoking.

Other Colors to Avoid

After the unfortunate news about Opaque Couche came out, spoke with an interior designer about the color, and other “runners-up” that shouldn’t go on the walls—even if, in small doses, they’re relatively pleasant.

Other questionable colors for interior paint

Designer Heather Humphrey includes these hues among those that shouldn’t go on the walls—even if, in small doses, they’re relatively pleasant.

Among the other colors designer Heather Humphrey, of design firm Alder and Tweed, told the website she doesn’t recommend: “Peach Fuzz,” which she calls dated and “mood-crushing” in large doses. Brilliant hues like “Orange Popsicle” and “Blazing Yellow” are overwhelming, she notes, and can cause anxiety.

Defending Opaque Couche

While some may call Opaque Couche the world’s ugliest hue, others seem to think the critics are just, well, throwing shade.

A writer on the website Hyperallergic launched a full defense of the color, noting its appearance in classic works of art. The Couche apologist also points out that the Australian Olive Association had to fight the use of the term “olive green” to describe the color, for fear olives would get a rap for being, well, as disgusting as the color.

And the folks at Pantone, the famed color clearinghouse that named the hue, seem to think there’s nothing inherently bad about Opaque Couche: In fact, they say, it’s rather luxurious.

“We don't consider PANTONE 448 to be the 'fugliest color in the world,'” the company told in a statement, “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."


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Color; Color + Design; Color + Design; Color trends; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Latin America; North America; Pantone

Comment from Dick Piper, (7/18/2016, 10:57 AM)

It sure is ugly.

Comment from M. Halliwell, (7/19/2016, 10:47 AM)

Oh, I don't know....I wouldn't say it is ugly per se, but I wouldn't be looking to do an entire room or full accent wall in it. I have seen it (or something similar) used to striking effect as an accent and furniture color with a gold trim.

Comment from VCBud Jenkins, (7/19/2016, 11:23 AM)

The ugliest color I have seen is when left over paint is combined for recycling and it looks like red oxide and black predominate, with a little white thrown in.

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Sauereisen, Inc.

HoldTight Solutions Inc.

Fischer Technology Inc.

SAFE Systems, Inc.

Tarps manufacturing, Inc.

Modern Safety Techniques

RCG America

ABKaelin, LLC

DeFelsko Corporation

NLB Corporation


Technology Publishing Co., 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 2008, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL

The Technology Publishing Network

PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy Policy   |   Terms & Conditions   |   Support   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us