Smoking and color psychology:
The unconventional effect of Pantone 448C

What exactly is Pantone 448c?

Pantone 448 C is a specific color from the Pantone color system that is widely used in the graphics and printing industry. This color is often described as a very dark green-brown or olive. It is a muted, earthy tone with low saturation.

Pantone is a color system used to uniquely identify and communicate colors. Each color in the Pantone system is identified by a unique number and/or letter combination. In this case, “448 C” is the specific designation for this color.

In the world of colors, there is one that is particularly polarizing: Pantone 448C. Many consider it to be extremely unattractive, but surprisingly it plays an important role in the fight against smoking. In a study conducted by the renowned market research institute GFK, a thousand smokers were asked which color they found particularly off-putting. The result was clear: Pantone 448C, also known as Opaque Couché, was associated by the participants with terms such as “dirt, death and tar”.

An unusual choice as a smoking deterrent

Despite widespread disapproval of this color, the Australian Department of Health has introduced it in plain packaging for cigarettes since 2012, accompanied by shocking images. This unconventional measure has also prompted other countries to implement similar regulations, including Canada, France, the United Kingdom and many more.

The controversy surrounding Pantone 448C

Interestingly, Pantone itself views the “ugliest color” designation with skepticism. Leatrice Eisenmann, Executive Director at Pantone, emphasizes: “There is no such thing as an ugliest color.” Apart from its role as a smoke deterrent, Pantone 448C is often compared to warm earth tones (e.g. coffee) in other areas and is used in nail polish, clothing and furniture. Interior experts use the color as an accessory, statement piece of furniture or wall color.

Pantone 448C: A versatile color despite its effect as a smoke deterrent

Although Pantone 448C was chosen specifically as a smoke deterrent, it turns out that this color is not just a deterrent. It is also used in other contexts and has even found its place in works of art such as Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”. In the world of color psychology, Pantone 448C reveals itself as a shade that has a certain versatility despite its unusual use.