Colors can conjure up a lot of associations, but apparently only one specific hue has the power to "minimize appeal" and "maximize perceived harm." That's right—researchers pinpointed the world's ugliest color, and it's been lovingly described as "dirty," "tar," and even "death," just to name a few associations.
Pantone 448 C, also called "opaque couché," may get a bad rap, but this sewage-tinged hue actually has an important mission. Out of the entire rainbow, experts chose the green-brown shade to discourage smoking. And one look at this swatch will convince you of its habit-breaking abilities. It's not for the faint of heart, but here it is:
Disgusting, right? Back in 2012, the Australian government hired research agency GfK to spearhead the new package design for all tobacco products. But instead of the marketing firm's usual goal, they had to accomplish the opposite. Every carton had to look as unappealing as possible.
It took three months, seven studies, and more than 1,000 regular smokers, but the researchers finally determined the most offensive color to print alongside new graphic health warnings. Also in the running? Lime green, white, beige, dark gray, and mustard. Dark brown came in a close second, but its rich (and chocolatey!) undertones seemed too appetizing—similar to medium olive's "classy" associations.
After finding a clear winner (or loser, in this case), the government first announced the hue as "olive green." But after an urgent letter from the Australian Olive Association, they changed the nickname "drab dark brown"—no hard feelings, olives?
Thanks to Australia and GfK's colorful breakthrough, other governments are also adopting the shade. Ireland, the United Kingdom, and France recently passed "plain packaging" laws of their own, with mockups featuring the same exact hue. Perhaps opaque couché might get a better reputation for all the lives it could possibly help save.
This article originally appeared on House Beautiful. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.