Ugliest Colors in the World

Ugliest Colors in the World – What Makes a Color Unappealing

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What is the ugliest color in the entire spectrum? Pantone 448 C, also known as opaque couché, holds the title of being the king of ugly colors. This drab dark brown hue is only one of the ugliest colors in the world though. Let us take a look at some of the least popular and most and unappealing colors, and why they are so disliked.



The Ugliest Colors in the World

Although the appreciation of color, like most things in life, is subjective, in society, there do seem to be some hues that we have collectively deemed to be ugly colors. Perhaps it is the associated connotations that we have with certain colors that make them unappealing. Perhaps they remind us of unpleasant experiences, or maybe they are just innately unaesthetic to the human eye.

Why Some Colors Are Considered Ugly

In fact, you should take some notice as to what your clothing color could be saying about you, as studies suggest that some colors might really be a turnoff for other people. These studies, along with an ever-increasing understanding of color psychology reveal that all colors are interpreted by the brain as having a certain meaning or significance.

Therefore, gaining more knowledge on how color affects our psyches can really go a long way in informing us how we should be using colors in our lives.

Psychological Effect of Unpleasant Colors

This not only applies to discovering which colors are subconsciously appealing to the human eye but also which are regarded as the ugliest colors in the world. By doing so, we can make sure to avoid using these ugly colors in our homes, art, and clothing.

Or, as we shall learn, in the case of Pantone 448 C, or opaque couché, its unappealing quality of this drab dark brown hue is exactly what leads to it being incorporated into a product that we see daily: cigarette packets.

Color Psychology for Smokers


Pantone 448 C (Opaque Couché)

What is the ugliest color in the world?  It may seem like a juvenile question that children would ask each other in the playground, but officials in Britain invested money and resources into that very question in 2016, hoping that the response might assist people in quitting cigarettes for good.

According to a recent poll, Pantone 448 C, referred to as “drab dark brown”, is regarded as the ugliest color of them all, and the government will now include the hue on all cigarette packets created for distribution in the nation.

Ugly ShadeColor Hex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeUgly Color
Opaque Couché#4a412a0, 12, 43, 7174, 65, 42

Using Color to Make Cigarettes Unappealing

The concept came from an Australian research organization that polled over 1,000 people who smoke ranging from 16 to 64 years of age in 2012. The poll was conducted as part of an effort to determine how to make cigarette packets as undesirable as possible. Then, when survey participants agreed that the hue opaque couché conjured up grime and death, Australian authorities opted to use it on regular boxes of cigarettes.

They first described the unpleasant color as “olive green,” but changed their minds after the olive lobbyists in Australia objected to the designation.

ShadeColor Hex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Olive Green#8080000, 12, 43, 71128, 128, 0

Now, the United Kingdom is catching up to Australia. A recent update in cigarette packaging removed any labeling. The main color will be Pantone 448 C, and businesses will be limited to using a standard typeface in the very same format and placement on their packaging. As many as 60% of the new packets will have health warnings. The movement to strip labeling from cigarette packets is growing rapidly throughout the world. The WHO has urged additional nations to make the move, and studies on colors that can evoke a sense of disgust to be used on cigarette packets are being conducted.

Linking Color to Feeling Disgusted

According to a 2013 study, when youths smoke from unbranded packs with ugly colors such as drab dark brown, they view them less favorably than those from branded and colorful packaging. A study on the Australian attempt to remove branding from cigarette packaging discovered, among other things, that users who sample smokes from generic packets find them less attractive, fulfilling, and of inferior quality. However, one Australian study said that removing the branding from cigarette packets just makes illicit tobacco more desirable.

While the British make their goods even more off-putting, the United States may resort to another type of awfulness. A recent scientific experiment discovered that when users see photos of decaying lungs, discolored teeth, and cancer victims, they are more inclined to want to stop. Though the United States enacted regulations in 2009 to add graphic labels on tobacco packages, a federal appeals court postponed enforcement after companies said there wasn’t adequate proof to substantiate the change. The data from the current trial may persuade the court to implement visual warnings.


Lime Green

ShadeColor Hex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Lime Green#39ff1478, 0, 92, 057, 255, 20

Although a subtle lime green can be tolerable, many people find the bright neon lime green too much for the eyes to bare, especially when it comes to clothing. Neon green appears to be this summer’s go-to color, and some individuals are not pleased.

Lime green is recognized as one of the ugliest tints of green, and while it might seem acceptable when coupled with black, brilliant white appears to be more popular recently, which is honestly the worst combination.

Lime Green Can Be Overwhelming

That said though, if you have a medium skin tone, lime green can look fantastic on you, but if you have a milky white complexion, lime green makes you look like a caution sign. There are positive sides to this color as lime green is a hue linked with the outdoors, boldness, and great energy, and it is said to encourage emotions of vitality, vigor, and inspiration.

Yet, for many people, it evokes thoughts of rather gross associations with things like chest infections and decay.

Lime Green as Fashion Statement


Mustard Yellow

ShadeColor Hex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Mustard Yellow#EAAA000,29,100,1234,170,0

Mustard yellow is one of those colors that remind people of bygone eras and everything associated with them. The color was considered a popular choice for clothing and design from the 1940s to the 1960s, even making a brief comeback in the 1990s. However, it is one of those colors that just seems too brash and bold to exist in today’s world.

Maybe we are cynical or maybe tastes have improved – who knows?

Retro Mustard Yellow Print

Yet, as with most things in life, things seem to occur in cycles and this seems to be true with mustard yellow as well, as it has begun to reemerge in modern designs. According to studies concerning color psychology though, there are many positive attributes to this color, such as representing diversity and creativity.

The detractors of the color, though, point out that it reminds them of a time when adolescence often entailed being covered in red and mustard yellow pimples and spots – nobody’s favorite period of growing up.

Mustard Yellow Evokes Bad Memories


Bright Magenta

ShadeColor Hex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Bright Magenta#FF00CD0, 100, 20, 0255, 0, 205

Bright magenta shares many connotations with hot pink. It is easy to see why a certain part of the population would love these types of colors and why others would absolutely despise them. The color magenta is associated with joy, pleasure, satisfaction, and gratitude – feelings that older people might associate with the naivety of early childhood. This is perhaps because it is such a prominent color in children’s toys.

The bright neon color fits perfectly with their bright and cheerful dispositions.

Yet, as we grow older, our senses become more refined, and certain colors that used to attract us only serve to irritate us due to their relentless brightness. The colors that once brought us joy now seem plastic and fabricated, the neon pink Barbie cars and bright magenta outfits, seem excessively sweet and tacky to our adult tastes.

Magenta Bedspread in Cheap Motel


Light Olive

ShadeColor Hex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Light Olive#BDBC700, 1, 41, 6189, 188, 112

Light olive is yet another color that gets a lot of flak. Similar to the fruit itself, some people enjoy it, while others cannot stand it. Light olive green communicates openness and knowledge, feminine leading skills, and harmony through humankind’s empathy. Sounds delightful, and with such positive attributes, one might find it hard to figure out why there are individuals who hate the color.

Yet, with every color, there are positive and negative associations attached to it.

Color research studies have shown that people associate the ugly color with infection and upset stomachs. Other people associate it with the brown and olive-green hues of the 1970s aesthetic that was fashionable to use at the time in everything from clothing to carpets, to furniture, and even wallpaper. Unlike the colorful 60s, the 70s seemed to have been drained of any vivid colors and were left with a drab and dreary palette of dark browns, olives, and beiges.

Vintage Light-Olive Bathroom


Dark Gray

ShadeColor Hex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Dark Gray#A9A9A957, 46, 40, 2566, 66, 66

All the grays, in general, seem to be disliked by some folk, but dark gray appears to be the main offender. Everything about the color seems to be dreary and dull. Even the Hex code is repetitive and without variation, which hints at the innate uniformity that most likely lies at the heart of people’s dislike for this color. It is the color of a rainy day’s skies without any hope of a glimpse of warm sunlight. It is the color of school uniforms and men in stuffy office buildings. It is the color of the inside of a bank or the color of a building that was designed by a governmental official.

It is bereft of any sense of vitality, life, or exuberance.

Grays Can Feel Oppressive

It feels like less of a “color” and more like an absolute lack of color, and it is not surprising that people get depressed in winter due to the endless days of gray skies. However, no gray cloud is without its silver lining, and due to its position between black and white, it is often associated with balance and neutrality. It can also help you focus, which is likely why it is used in learning institutions and businesses.

However, for many, art is about anything else but the corporate or educational worlds, and perhaps indulging in the other colors in our art, and ignoring gray, it is our personal way of escaping from the mundane and dreary parts of our existence.

Relieve Gray with Color



ShadeColor Hex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Rust#b7410e183, 65, 140, 64, 92, 28

Rust is another color that is more hated for the feelings and images it stirs up rather than the actual hue on its own. The name itself implies degradation and decay, a lack of attention and maintenance. It also serves as a reminder of the impermanence of life – no matter how new and beautiful a car starts, over time it will break down and rust and deteriorate, just as we will. You could perhaps keep it in a garage your entire life, but that is not what cars are meant for – they are meant to be driven!

Rusted Cars and Fence

Maybe it is the same with life then. We cannot expect anything to last forever, yet we can enjoy it while it is here, and if we look after it, perhaps many wonderful journeys still lie ahead. So instead of denying the color, we should embrace it. Rust is also the color of the huge linked chains that hold a ship at bay. It is the color of reliability and sturdiness in stormy weather, it has served the best it can under harsh conditions, and so can you.

Ugly Rust Color Suggests Decay



ShadeColor Hex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
White#ffffff255, 255, 2550, 0, 0, 0

Who would think that the angelic and spotless white color would have its critics too? Yet for some folk, similar to gray, white can feel like the absence of color, and in essence, the absence of life. Maybe it is disliked as it requires an almost superhuman skill to keep white clothing spotless in social situations as even the smallest spill or mark can leave you looking like a preschooler who should have worn a bib at lunch.

It’s for its ability to reveal spots, however, that it is employed in places such as hospitals and clinics, where it is essential to keep everything absolutely clean and hygienic.

Therein lies the associations with the color and feelings of emptiness, boredom, and clinical perfection. The color can easily conjure up uncomfortable experiences of waiting in a doctor’s reception room or walking into a hospital for an operation. White is powerful enough to even conjure up the smell of cleaning products in the brain.

Ugly White Color Can Suggest Death



ShadeColor Hex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Beige#f5f5dc245, 245, 2200, 0, 10, 4

Ugly Beige Color Feels Drab

People who dislike white often dislike beige even more. Beige is white’s boring cousin who came to visit for a week, but is still there a month later, sleeping on the couch and not bathing. Beige is white left to decay in the attic, in fact, many white devices usually go beige with age: a representation of their redundancy and loss of purpose. Where colors run, beige drags its feet. Where colors eat Fruit Loops for breakfast, beige eats a bowl of unsweetened cold oatmeal.

Maybe beige was once as exciting as the first computer (which, coincidentally, was colored beige), yet with time both are now just viewed as out of date, purely functional, but lacking any aesthetic value or sense of fun.



Colors have an incredible ability to affect our mood and state of mind. The right combination of colors can rejuvenate, inspire, relax, and initiate contemplation. Yet, the wrong colors can do the exact opposite and leave one feeling, drained, tired, irritable, and depressed. In this list, we have explored a few of the ugliest colors in the world as chosen by a small sample of the human population. Deciding which are ugly colors and which are beautiful colors is purely subjective, and if you like one of these colors, then don’t feel bad, maybe you are just lucky enough to be able to enjoy the colors for what they are, or you have been fortunate enough to experience them used by a skilled designer, artist, or colorist who found a way to make them sing.



Frequently Asked Questions


What Is the Ugliest Color on the Entire Spectrum?

The color awarded the title of the world’s ugliest title would have to be Pantone 448 C, otherwise commonly known as opaque couché. In fact, this color was chosen by so many people as the ugliest color in a survey that it was chosen to be the new standard color for all cigarette packets in Australia and the United Kingdom. This was specifically done to deter people from smoking, as the color has negative subconscious associations that they hoped would help users quit more easily.


What Are the Ugliest Colors in the World?

It is all a matter of personal taste at the end of the day, but there are a few colors that seem to be universally disliked by the majority of the population. These include lime green, light olive, rust, beige, mustard yellow, and even white!

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