The Ugliest Color


Australian researchers believe they have discovered the “ugliest” color. In a study they judged the reactions of participants, who described the color with words like “sewage-tinted” and “death”.

Their purpose for researching “ugly colors”? Quite a good reason, actually. The Australian government plans on packaging tobacco products with Opaque Couche to deter consumers.

It is truly an interesting idea. We look into colors that consumers associate with positive attributes and we put together color palettes that are aesthetically pleasing as possible. However the Australian’s research into displeasing colors, reminds us just how much we forget that we actually have a certain amount of control over the associations of consumers with our products as opposed to simply trying to please them.

That all said, just because a color has a negative association on its own, we would posit that it is how a color is used that determines its effect. Up against the right colors any color can appear differently tinted than it appears alone. For instance, Hyperallergic notes how the color has been used in such famous works of art such as da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”, as well as van Gogh’s “Olive Trees Against the Slope of a Hill”.

We love colors at Y5 – all colors. The truth is if you know how to use color, say like a designer designing cigarette packaging, or an artist painting one of the famous paintings of all time, you have more influence over how the color will be perceived.

If you have that knowledge, why not use it for good?

This influence we have is something to take advantage of. What other products besides Tobacco could use “ugly” colors to dissuade buyers from purchasing these products?  Leave us a comment!

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