Australian Researchers Believe They've Found the World's Ugliest Color

I frowned, recoiled, and muttered an audible "ew." Thus was my reaction upon viewing this color. We all have our own tastes, but it seems that there's one color most of us can agree is especially disgusting, but that helps it serve a useful purpose. 

We talk a lot about color toning, and the truth is, it's one of those subtler steps that can really make a good image a standout image. Sometimes though, it smacks you in the face, as is the case with the color opaque couché, Pantone 448 C. Australian researchers believe it's the "ugliest" color as judged by the reactions study participants had to it, which included such labels as "sewage-tinted" and "death." The research was done for an important reason, however, as the Australian government will now use it on packaging to help deter consumers from buying tobacco products. It's a great example of how things we take for granted as consumers can influence us and how we as photographers can use that influence to our advantage. 

By the way, if you'd like to try using it yourself, fire up Photoshop, and enter the RGB triplet (74,65,42) into the color selector. Use at your own risk. 

Edit: It seems the YouTube video isn't available in some countries, so here's opaque couché in all its glory:

Lead image by Flickr user Ian Ransley, used under Creative Commons.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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And here I thought it was the color of the walls in my office at work.

Soul-crushing and ugly are two different things.

I can see the snow-capped mountains, and a bit of the lake, from my 8 foot high windows. Sorry.

It's definitely a great color on a Fender Stratocaster! I think they even sound better in this color.....don't they?

Sunburst is my preferred Strat look. ;)

I cant vouch for the Strat but this is the colour of my Tele and it does sound pretty sweet.

That's funny - my Telecaster is a similar colour! Looks great, sounds even better... :-)

Somewhat ironically, Ibanez Artcore guitars have a "tobacco flat" color option.

Peter. We use both the Color and thee images here. Including dissected lungs, rotten teeth, gangrene etc.

Cigarettes can only be sold behind closes counters. Further no logos of any kind are allowed all manufacturers use the same font. I think it's comic sans

A packet of 20 Cigarettes is about $US15 or there about. The cost has not done a whole lot to stop people smoking

I think a pack is about $25 these days. Smoking is banned in so many indoor places in Australia, even in cars containing children, that smokers huddle in freezing enclaves outdoors during their winter work breaks. Advertising cigarettes anywhere is completely banned, even in stores that sell cigarettes. The government spends boatloads every year marketing the anti smoking message. There are not too many more possible disincentives to smoking left here in Australia, apart from banning cigarettes outright.

Yet still young people take it up.

Which is odd, because I'm sure it was easier for a kid in Newcastle to get a baggy of pot than a pack of smokes.

This is what their current packaging looks like Pete:

Singapore have very similar packaging too :)

In Australia we also have a complete ban on tobacco and alcohol advertising in relation to sport, so no beer ads at the football,and I believe you cant advertise fast food during children's television programming (anything under pg-13) so instead Macdonalds sponsors a lot of youth sports.

In the Australian McD's our largest drink size is 20oz

Whoa, that's mad! I'd heard they had large soft drink sizes in the US, but that is insane!

Parks and Recreation nailed it:

One of my fav shows.

But in America, you can't show up at a football game with an esky.

But they did limit the amount of alcohol fans could bring to the Bathurst car race last year to only 24 cans of full strength beer per person per day.

Ah, that color reminds me of when my son went from drinking milk to eating solid foods like pureed spinach. Thanks for the trip down memory lane! ;)

"The uploader has not made this video available in your country."

Canadians kept in the dark again! LOL

Same here. Which is funny, because I'm actually *in* Australia!


Sorry about that, everyone! I made a small update so you can at least see opaque couché in all its glory!

Yikes, now I wish I kept quiet! MY EYES!!! LOL

I think a more appropriate name would be "bile-tinged bowel dumplings".

I'm in australia, yet can't watch the video due to it not being available to my country yet......

Hey that's the exact colour of the trousers I'm wearing right now...
The problem here is that the way we perceive colours changes depending on where it is. When I think of this colour in relation to tobacco products it suddenly takes on the look of dried tobacco leaves and looks perfectly fine. Cigarette packets should be fluorescent orange like a warning sign and super eye-catching so people feel like they should hide them.

At least it's not mauve.

The colors of the advertisement in this page...

It looks like a good Pacific Northwest color...I think we should name it "Slug".