The Other Side of the Rainbow

Would you eat a purple hamburger? How about grey salad? However you need think of it, colour plays a decisive role in not only our preferences, but also our habits.

In 2000, Heinz released its line of EZ Squirt products in colours Blastin’ Green, Funky Purple, Stellar Blue, Passion Pink, Awesome Orange, and Totally Teal. Intended to be fun for kids, the line was discontinued in 2006 because it ultimately wasn’t fun for everyone. Our brains are hardwired to know that fresh, salty-sweet tomato ketchup is red, not cake batter purple. Colour matters.

According to an Australian campaign, colour may play a role in kicking habits. In 2012, the Australian government teamed up with a research agency to create new packaging for all tobacco products. The goal? To be as unattractive and unappetizing as possible.

After three months, seven studies and over 1000 smokers put to the test, the results were in. Colours included lime green, dark grey, beige, and mustard. The winner?


Pantone 448 C, the so-called most disgusting colour described as being dirty, tar-like and deathly. When the Australian government dubbed it as being “olive green” the Australian Olive Association urgently requested the name be changed. The official name for 448 C is “opaque couché” though the government now calls it “drab dark brown” as not to offend the olive industry.

But is this really the most horrendous hue out there? We’ve asked the Generator staff for their input on this debate as well as their top pick for the most disgusting Pantone.


“My first impression was an over ripe avocado and overall I think the colour isn’t that bad. I don’t think its the ugliest colour, but I would say it’s challenging, it really just depends on how it is used. Camouflage enthusiasts would love this colour! An ugly Pantone colour in my opinion would be PMS 397, which is a middle-of-the-road greenish booger-like colour; not too bright but not too dark, real boring and vanilla for a green colour.”



“While it’s not my favourite, PMS 448 is not the worst Pantone. I generally gravitate towards earth tones when I design. I find PMS 104 much more repulsive – reminding me of pea soup. It just generally feels like an unhealthy colour that needs a good bowl of chicken soup.”



“PMS 448 isn’t so bad. It makes me think of nature and coffee, two favourite things of mine. What don’t I like? Obnoxiously sugary, sticky, pink-purple Easter candy doubling as pink bismuth without the desired effect. And that’s why PMS 2385 C makes my disgust list. My stomach and teeth hurt writing about it.”



“As a person who changes their favourite colour annually, I find it hard for anyone to say which is the ugliest colour or the best because I feel each colour has it’s purpose and place. As for Pantone 448 C it might not be my first choice for maybe a website or something fun and fresh but I think it kind of works for some fashion pieces that are going for an earthy feel.”


Rachel loves them all.

We’re curious about what made your lists for unappealing colours? Check out Pantone’s colour selector here and discover for yourself. Comment below and let us know!