Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Pantone 448 C (wikipedia.org)
442 points by kmskontorp on Jan 23, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 277 comments

Fun fact: They mandated all packages of snus (a "dip", or tobacco you put under your lip) sold in Norway must be plain and in this color. But it actually looks kind of good—very minimalist. So much so that people like this packaging more. (Image and source, Norwegian: https://www.itromso.no/ntb/iriks/2019/10/02/N%C3%B8ytrale-es...)

When asked how much they like the new packaging, 30% say "a lot" or "pretty well", compared with 20% for the old packaging. (Norwegian, https://www.nettavisen.no/okonomi/hoie-boksen-skulle-vaere-s...)

Picture of new vs (one type of) old box: https://www.nrk.no/osloogviken/_stygge_-snusbokser-far-desig...

If the design brief was to make something unappealing, that does indeed look like a total failure. The restrained typography and muted color give the product a more upmarket look.

What this really called for was the Impact font, Microsoft WordArt, gradients, drop shadows, and maybe some stock photography.

[Update: I have answered the call: http://presteign.com/files/skruf.jpg]

Could be one of few legit uses for Comic Sans.

Perhaps when they bury nuclear waste, they can warn off future civilisations with stone tablets etched in comic sans?

For our future robot overlords:

<blink font="Comic Sans">This is not a place of honor.</blink>

As well as some ClipArts to tie it together

Give it dark pink-purple-green or rainbow gradient with coarse dotted look and capitalised water colored font.

I would stay very far away from it then.

Scandinavian design. But the tin looks completely different from General. I asked a Swede, but I can't remember the different markets those brands are going after.

I love the update. That has to be one of the funniest and most creative posts on here I’ve seen in a while. Good work

Looks pretty much like "fixed price logos" made by russian designer Artemy Lebedev[1]. People keeps buying them for 100,000 RUB (~1600 USD).

[1] https://www.artlebedev.ru/express-design/projects/

You just got all the 90s kids hooked on skruf.

Half the meme posts on Reddit look exactly like that. I have no doubt anyone who released a product labeled like that would cause Juul to go out of business within weeks.

So well done. Wish I could upvote more.

Yup. Total failure. In fact, I'd like all products I buy to have this design (+/- different colors).

I know it's untenable in practice, but in my perfect imaginary utopia, products on shelves would have minimalistic (and standardized) packaging with no branding crap, and the labeling would be maximized for utility. Product type and core variables (e.g. "milk" and "UHT 2%") in large font, ingredients, nutrition table and manufacturer/expiry date in small font below or to the side.

Like e.g. this bottle: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/BAoadypFBQ4/maxresdefault.jpg.

Every now and then, some company releases a product run with similar minimalistic packaging; when I spot it in the store, I tend to buy it just for the packaging.


Come to think of it, I feel like calling bullshit on the whole "ugly color" idea. What color is actually perceived by a human depends on a lot of factors, like material, texture, lighting, shadows - or in case of digital reproductions, color capabilities and calibration of the display. Case in point: on my half-decent display, this Norway snus looks premium to me, not ugly. And in a physical store, I bet the vendors set up the colors of the lights on a shelf to maximize that premium feeling.

If you want to go for maximum effect, you need to take something that the brain can't just interpret differently because the light slightly changed. E.g. visceral colors + texture. Or the usual shots of tumors, like on cigarette boxes in some countries.

If I wanted to go for maximum effect, I'd mandate that the packaging should contain large photos of: a tumor, a spider, and a lotus seed pod. This would be sure to scare off a good chunk of the population (don't Google lotus seed pods if you're not ready to risk a very unpleasant feeling).

> I know it's untenable in practice, but in my perfect imaginary utopia, products on shelves would have minimalistic (and standardized) packaging with no branding crap, and the labeling would be maximized for utility. Product type and core variables (e.g. "milk" and "UHT 2%") in large font, ingredients, nutrition table and manufacturer/expiry date in small font below or to the side.

Sounds like the Canadian 'no name' house brand of, I believe, the No Frills/Loblaws supermarket group:


They definitely missed on having their truck/trailers branded "Truck" in that same black on yellow look.

There are lots of brands that do this. I think Ikea in particular has some pretty minimalistic branding on its own products. Tesco, lidl/aldi (I forget which) too.

That's true actually, Waitrose's 'essentials' isn't far off the simplicity of 'no name'; I suppose it's just my lack of familiarity (I'm British, not Canadian) that made 'no name' stand out as unusual and most like this to me at first.

But yes, you're right, supermarket own brands in general are relatively straightforwardly packaged. I suppose in part it's because they cover such a range of products, so they can't pick a more 'normal' theme that might look better for some of them, because it would be so odd and out of place on other lines.

I think often they are exactly the same as branded products (repackaged), so they agree to make the packaging plain.

> in my perfect imaginary utopia, products on shelves would have minimalistic (and standardized) packaging with no branding crap

In the recent production of The Handmaid's Tale, the handmaids do their shopping at grocery store (more like a commissary) that is as you described. I know it's context-dependent but the thing looks terribly bleak, and oppressive in that it implies lack of choice and in turn lack of freedom to make any choice. I would never want to shop there. I think the appeal of minimalist design is that it stands out in a field of non-minimalist (maybe more functional) designs, and one expresses his individuality with the choosing. I don't think we would prefer the world to look mostly like an Apple Store.

In The Handmaid's Tale it's even worse than the quoted commenter described: the packaging and all the signage in the store is all pictures and no text because handmaids aren't allowed to be literate.

In my Utopia there's no packaging, just dispensers. You bring your own reusable package and thus reduce waste.

I was just talking with my colleagues how it'd be ideal if some sort of bottle washer was ubiquitous in work/public places. I buy freshly pressed orange from a cafe near work. I try to re-use their disposable bottle (you can't provide your own because volume) but there are only so many times I can wash the orange bits out by hand.

Milk bottles are thoroughly steam washed. Not sure If I could trust a bottle washing machine unless they where my dirty bottles.

Yeah, I mean for one's own bottles. I have a bottle; it was new, I use it for things like milk or orange juice then I need to wash it to fill out with some other consumable liquid, but washing out orange is hard.

We have such a supermarket here; here's a video from the inside: https://youtu.be/m-4GorCp-uk?t=166


Re: your imaginary utopia, take a look at Repo Man - pay attention to the shelves in this clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoRqyWkBxos

Perfect! I'd shop in that store (outside of the hours people shoot at each other).

There was a short-lived sci-fi show in the 80's called "Otherworld" which involved various parallel universes. One of them had stores with products like these:



(sorry, that's the best image quality I could find)

They're kind of a real thing. Look up Generic Brands. I remember seeing them in the early 90s. The one I remember most was "Beer". White can with just "BEER" written on it.

I think they've started to eventually jazz up their packaging so they just look like rip-offs now.

That's a bit underspecified, but I can think of some contemporary items on the shelves whose richful branding communicates about just as much actual information.

>I know it's untenable in practice, but in my perfect imaginary utopia, products on shelves would have minimalistic (and standardized) packaging with no branding crap, and the labeling would be maximized for utility.

It is not so untenable, as proved by RxBar ─ a bootstrapped venture, which sold to Kellogs for $600M a few years ago. The pivot to clean, minimalist design and colors with relevant typography, proved to be a turning point in it's fortunes.


> (don't Google lotus seed pods if you're not ready to risk a very unpleasant feeling).

Only 15-17% of the population get that reaction (it's called trypophobia)

I'm hoping with this, arachnophobia (3.5-6.1% from random googling), a photo of tumor and perhaps one or two more, you could get to 50%+ of people finding something viscerally disgusting on the packaging.

BTW. I am in this 15-17% of the population, as I discovered recently thanks to someone mentioning lotus seed pods on HN.

Well, I have a fear of needles (not sure how common it is), not just for myself but also if someone gets administered or administers themselves. I need to really control myself if such happens. Tuesday someone who decided to sit next to me in the train gave themselves a diabetes shot. Needless to say I had to apply some breathing exercise there, I nearly fainted. I'm not sure that's the reaction you want to have on people who just 'see the product'.

I do agree the amount of meaningless choice as well as non-products and ridiculous colors is off the charts in terms of misinformation and uselessness. The reason is they get away with it. You need to regulate companies, else they do whatever the fuck they want which is in their sole interest; not yours.

Wait, arachnophobia is 3.5-6.1%, while trypophobia is 15-17% ?! I find that hard to believe.

My figure is a result of quick, random googling; as for trypophobia, I'm guessing it's a tentative figure, given how until recently, the phenomenon didn't even have a name, and it's still not formally recognized as a thing by medical sciences.

> Only 15-17% of the population get that reaction (it's called trypophobia)

Most people still think these seed pods look sorta weird.

Adding to examples, the Blåvitt ("blue and white") series of goods sold in Swedish cooperative stores from the 70s until the early 00s come pretty close to this aesthetic:


A bit of history:


As always ... a relevant xkcd: https://xkcd.com/993/

Looks very much like No Frills which was the own brand of Kwik Save, a now defunct UK supermarket. All very much in this style https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dzru1pPW0AE8aDF?format=jpg&name=...

I wish there was a supermarket that just didn't have all the redundant products. Take laundry detergent for example. Why do there need to be 523423 different brands and types. They should offer just 3 options: Color, Dark and White. I don't want to have to choose between all these irrelevant options, I just want my clothes to be clean.

They should only offer choices where it matters, like different kinds of beer or frozen pizza.

This was the original Aldi strategy. Cut down on variety and compete on price instead. Until the early naughts, the average German Aldi store would have less than 1000 SKUs. In fact, they didn't have barcode scanners. The cashiers knew the code for each SKU by heart. It was only in the last 15 years or so that they slowly ramped up to match other discount supermarkets in selection.

They're still pretty close imho. There's still only one type of spaghetti, one type of wheat flour, etc. Some other articles are more diversified now (cheaper and more expensive olive oil, but all store brand, same with milk, of which there is now {skim, full-fat, fancier full-fat} x {non-organic, organic} iirc) and they've added some brand foods, especially sweets (Aldi Nord may be different, I'm in Aldi Süd territory). But it's still much more pleasant to shop there than at regular supermarkets, which have music and advertisements playing and way too many practically identical articles. I don't need twelve brands of yellow mustard.

Aldi Nord is pretty much like any Edeka.

> Cut down on variety and compete on price instead.

I don't care so much about price as I do about convenience. ALDI only sells low-budget store-brands, and that's going a bit too far. I want A brands where it matters, and high-quality generic things where it doesn't.

Not sure where you are, but Aldi Süd in Germany is pretty nice. It's not the place to go shopping for specialty foods, of course, but for everyday items, their products are well-priced for decent quality in my experience. In some areas it's even better than that, their cheese selection puts quite a few non-discount supermarkets to shame.

In the US, I really liked Trader Joe's, which seems like an up-market version of Aldi. Which makes sense, seeing as it's owned by Aldi Nord.

With the advent of home delivery, this is as easy as filtering inline search results to said brands. And, if it matters to you, printing out your own minimalistic labels..

The problem is not the labels, the problem is that I don't want to have to make a choice.

Then just buy all generic store brand.

Hire a personal shopper

There are so many reasons why this is a bad idea:

- what seems like superfluous options to you might be required for people with allergies or other conditions

- even those that don't have any medial reasons might still have preferences. eg some washing detergents smell rank to me while others don't. There will be people who have the reverse preferences too. So just because you cannot detect any difference it doesn't mean others also don't.

- monopolies are bad for consumers for a multitude of reasons. Lack of innovation, higher prices, etc. Really this point alone should be multiple bullet points.

What I really wish supermarkets stopped doing was moving stuff around. I know exactly why they do it (lost customers tend to buy more stuff by accident) however as a customer it's REALLY(!!!) annoying having to relearn where you're preferred breakfast cereal is now located when the last place you'd want to be on a Saturday afternoon is stuck in a Supermarket with two bored kids (though these days I just pay for home delivery)

And also a lot of the minimal brand own label foods are not as good.

A uk supermarket substituted its own brand sausages one time and they looked cheap and looked so vile when cooked that the entire packet was thrown away

You have to be careful in that assumption. Sometimes it's true and sometimes it's just preference (eg I prefer Tesco cornflakes to Kellogg's). Often it depends on the supermarket and range (eg some supermarkets will have a few own brands for different price and "quality" brackets).

Another thing to baring in mind that it's quite common for some producers to distribute to different brands. Eg they might make the same product for a budget brand as they would for a premium brand. Maybe just sorting the product by what's more aesthetically pleasing. I've noticed this a lot with loose vegetables where "ugly" carrots would be sold to cheap brands whereas the smaller but prettier carrots would go to premium brand and sold for twice the price (even without factoring in the smaller weight). But it does also happen with some pre-made / pre-seasoned dishes as well.

The best advise is not to take brands nor even price at face value. Try a few products and see what works for you. Unfortunately though, much of our experience is distorted by bias (this is an area for amusement during wine tasting studies under controlled scientific conditions). So often we end up actually preferring the more expensive brand because we assume we should so our brain convinces us we do (isn't our human psychology fun!)

I can’t tell if you’re being ironic, because even for laundry detergents, scents matter, both for personal preference or for medical reasons (some folks have medically bad reactions to scents others find pleasant). You quickly reinvent the combinatorial explosion.

I, on the other hand, detect no meaningful difference between any beers, ‘cause to me they all taste bad. ;)

> even for laundry detergents, scents matter

A detergent should clean my clothes. If there is a scent after washing they aren't clean.

For you... hence the different types of detergents.

But your clothes smelling like sticking your nose into a bag of washing powder feels sooooooo clean

Also, to add to other people's points; newborns/infants should have their clothes washed in non-bio, it's less likely to cause irritation to their skin, conversely it's not as effective due to lack of (biological) enzymes, particularly at lower temperatures, so you should be using regular "bio" most of the time.

Also, competition. If you're happy to pay 10 times more for Colour, Dark and White powders because nobody else makes it, that's your choice, we'll just put it on the shelf next to the rest of the more affordable options.

Sounds like stores during socialism in eastern Europe. No thanks.

Hilarious, looks like an expensive all natural beard wax.

I think this is a great example of brutalist/ugly design where you go so far to the opposite on the aesthetic spectrum that your design starts to appeal to people.

Well because it is not ugly. It is utilitarian. It looks like military rations design which are often wonderful (especially japanese and australian army) and extremely well designed.

Anothe fun fact: these are perfect cases for small electronics projects. They have a small and a large compartment, where you can fit e.g. an ESP or Arduino Nano and a battery in the big one, and a click switch and an LED in the small one. The latter has a flexible lid, so you can work the switch just by clicking the lid. Completely innocuous WiFi snoop box, or FastLED controller, or a million other things.

I have two friends who work in grocery shops... They hate it... It takes at least twice as long to find the correct item when customers ask for it...

That could be considered an unintended positive feature of the design. Sucks for the retail workers of course in the mean time.

It's actually (sort of) an intended feature. They want to make it harder for the tobacco companies to promote their products.

has a military feel to it, which is perfect for the demographic

I think they should make the cigarette packs in bright rainbow colors. I think visual and color complexity is more of a turnoff compared to solid colors.

I would think there is a concern about what might be considered attractive to children, not really designed to put off adults with a developed sense of aesthetic, who are already users.

Agreed. These designs are serving their purpose, to deter children.

The general theme in these comments is that these designs look too modern or up-class. The reason it looks like this is because its a product for adults, children generally don't appreciate this kind of design so I would imagine this works pretty well.

To be fair at least it probably doesn't appeal to younger people. The minimalist sensibility is kind of acquired with age.

Oh but it does

As a snus (ab)using Swede, I'd really prefer this packaging rather than the original ones.

Classy, Norway!

It's ugly on a white background because it looks like a turd. However, when it's the background it looks nice and organic.

you snus you lose

> Pantone 448 C, also known as the "The ugliest colour in the world", is a colour in the Pantone colour system. Described as a "drab dark brown"

Things leading the ratings of the ugliest things are rarely ugly. This applies to architecture and it seems to be the same with colors.

Dark brown is not the ugliest color, the ugliest color is magenta. It is commonly used as a transparency placeholder for a reason - nobody wants to actually see it. Just imagine a website with #4A412A background - it's ok, people will read it if you put something interesting there as soon as you use a reasonable color for the font. Now imagine a website with #FF00FF background - it's a disaster, everybody is going to close it immediately as soon as they accidentally navigate to it, no matter what font color you use.

It is commonly used as a transparency placeholder for a reason - nobody wants to actually see it.

My memory from my days in television was that magenta was used to represent transparency because it was the opposite of chroma green, and was easy to generate electronically. That's why it ended up being in one of the palettes for the primitive-by-today's-standards CGA adapter in the early IBM PC's.

Chroma green, magenta, and superblack were three "magic colors" that made TV production work in the pre-digital age. Sadly, there is no wikipedia entry for superblack even though everyone saw it all the time, and few understood its utility.

I'd love if you were able provide some reading on "superblack", or even just explain it yourself.

I tried looking it up myself, because it sounds interesting, but of course search results are polluted with articles on vantablack. "Super black TV" and related search terms just bring up garbage about OLED TVs and such.

Analogue TV encoders took a signal with a dynamic range of "black to white" (e.g. 0V to 5V) and, before modulating it onto a carrier frequency, first compressed the signal upwards, making it into a smaller range of e.g. 1V to 5V, making it into a signal that's actually more like "dark grey to white." Analogue TV decoders did the opposite, treating 1V as the "black level", stretching the 4V "dynamic range" back into the full black-to-white intensity range.

Doing this allowed "true 0V" (i.e. gaps cut out of the modulated signal by electronic post-processing, below the "minimum" intensity of 1V, where you're just getting carrier) to act as a form of in-band signalling. 0V was used "outside" the image to both synchronize the TV's raster electronics, and inform said electronics of the period of time they should be off altogether, rather than firing even a weak electron beam. (This most noticably prevents your CRT from drawing a subtle diagonal swoosh when it starts each new frame.)

See also: the terms "front porch" and "back porch" (in e.g. https://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/201011/what-...), referring to the parts of each scanline that are 0V.

As long as we’re talking about analog video, I can’t stop myself from throwing Dan Sandin’s analog image processor in there. Think the principles of a moog synth, applied to video signal. Here’s a totally amazing video of him demonstrating the machine, circa mid 70s:


Sandin also had a distribution philosophy that was a precursor (early contemporary?) to FOSS: he called it “copy-it-right”. He’d send anyone a copy of the schematics, but you were expected to build it as designed and not get creative until you at least had it working properly. The process of building the machine was also supposed to teach you how it worked.

Many moons ago I emailed Sandin and got a copy of the plans. They’re a hell of a document. Unfortunately some critical components are no longer in production, and updating the schematics was beyond my skill (setting aside that the scale and expense of the project was also beyond me, but hey).

Awesome video, thanks for posting that. I'll add a more recent interview with Sandin that is pretty interesting: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Izx2CqxM71s

One consequence of this setup that people might remember: the Nintendo Entertainment System can produce a "color" below the standard black level because of the primitive (albeit clever) scheme used to generate the video signal. It's been alleged that this was forbidden for licensed games, but a few games (and the Game Genie) did use it [1], causing an unstable image on some TVs.

[1] http://wiki.nesdev.com/w/index.php/Color_$0D_games

Interesting to see 'superblack'. I always remember reading the terms 'blacker than black' and 'whiter than white' in old TV repair/theory books.

So given that many TVs displayed a flat blue screen on no signal, does that mean that blue is blacker than black?

That’s a later development in CRT TVs, where if there’s no signal you get a flat blue generated by the TV instead of noise. Hence the often quoted tidbit that Gibson’s line “The sky was the color of a television tuned to a dead channel” (close enough) doesn’t scan as a grey sky for younger readers.

Hmm, I do remember both. It was not even grey, static is high-contrast flickering of b/w dots or short lines with an amount of random grey between them (maybe soviet static was staticker, idk). For me and sky, blue makes sense, static just doesn’t. If I read it before blue screens appeared, maybe it could.


> static is high-contrast flickering of b/w dots or short lines with an amount of random grey between them

Like snow, even. Hence 'Snow Crash'. :)

I imagine the sky in a predominantly cold, snowy or rainy place could look a bit like static. Dry sunny climates are tend to be more "A/V 1" blue. :)

Static also has the quality of lacking scale, and containing spurious signal that your visual cortex tries to lock onto but never can. I always read the neuromancer sky as having that same kind of depthless gray and false motion that I associate with tv snow. A color you can see but can’t rest your eyes on.

Exactly! It’s white noise in visual form.


I think you are supposed to view the CRT from a bit afar, then you'd get that gray feeling. Also these "bands" were either jumping too much up and down to be noticable or not appearing at all on the old purely analog sets. As I remember them, the static was truly chaotic, no lines.

I guess it may depend on a signal saturation. Some empty channels were relatively dim and sparse, and some screamed white morse at you. That picture is not exactly what we should have seen, for one I cannot count 500+ lines in there. It must be only a part of a screen or a non-standard resolution (or a very short expo that captured half-frame?). Couldn’t find a good one quickly.

HBO still uses this "static analogue flickering" in their logo.


I can't recall ever seeing an analogue TV display a flat blue screen - with no signal, they generally display black&white noise

Not colored noise, amusingly. NTSC color TV is backwards compatible with NTSC black and white TV. Color comes in on a subcarrier of the TV signal, relative to the black and white signal, and is low bandwidth compared to the intensity signal.

Because the color signal is optional, TV receivers had to have a detector for it to enable color. Noise didn't contain the "color burst" that identified the color signal, so noise showed as black and white noise, not colored confetti. At least until TV receivers acquired enough signal processing that no-signal produced a "No Signal" message, a blue screen, or a channel guide.

Gibson has written that he has mixed feelings about that line. Great line, but dates the work.

I can remember it, I think in setups where the TV signal was passed through a VCR (so it could be recorded) and then into the TV. If the VCR detected there was no useful signal it would output a blue image instead of static.

Just showing raw static was much more common though.

In the early 90's, TV's started including low-resolution "Teletype" type chips (the kind you see overlay information on security cameras) that would generate menu text for volume control, etc.

Frequently these TV's would have a "muting" mechanism - if you selected a channel without a signal, it would mute the audio and display a blue background instead of the underlying signal.

When LCD TV's and HDTV started gaining traction the "No Signal" screen was often some text bouncing around in some manner.

The newer ones made in the late 1990s did.

This reminds me of the fact that younger generations have a completely different understanding of the first sentence of Neuromancer

I found a short snippet: https://www.alanpedia.com/television_production_glossary/sup...

Superblack: A value on the wave form monitor of 0 or less luminance units. 7.5 units is standard TV black. Graphics and logos placed on superblack are much easier to work with.

That's a pretty good dictionary definition, I suppose, but I have no idea what that might actually look like in practice, which is a shame.

On an HDTV with "local contrast dimming", freeze frame at some point in a video where there's only a logo showing in the corner of the screen and the rest of the frame is black. (A screenshot of certain video game loading screens works, too.)

You will see that the area around the logo is glowing slightly, and that the area opposite the logo is completely lights out.

That is, essentially, the difference between "black" and "superblack". Both areas are displaying black, but one area is backlit and the other is not. Lit black is clearly different from Unlit black, because LCD pixels aren't perfectly opaque.

If you have an OLED TV (or an OLED phone, like a top-end iPhones), then every black pixel is superblack, which is why it looks so high contrast and gorgeous. If you have an LCD phone, you can see the "lit black" thing — but probably only if you set it next to an OLED phone.

Folks who know what "235" has to do with this, yes, I know, but I'm only addressing "what that might actually look like", not "deep dive into the RGB low/high problem". Feel free :)

I'd love if you were able provide some reading on "superblack", or even just explain it yourself.

I'm not a TV engineer, I was a journalist, so here's what I remember:

Superblack was a special kind of black. When you watched analog TV and the video faded to black, the screen was black. But that was a transmission black. It wasn't as black as was electrically possible. There was always still some signal there generating not-quite-black.

The not-quite-black was largely an artifact of video tape, and all the dozens of machines a video signal had to go through from playback to broadcast. If you were watching black recorded on tape, it was never quite black. An ordinary person would never notice that it wasn't perfectly black, but you could see it if you were in a TV station with oscilloscopes monitoring the signal at various points in the video chain. IIRC, it was like -1db, or something like that.

You could see it at home, if you tried. If you knew what to look for. The easiest way to do it was to turn the brightness up on your TV and look for the dark dark dark grey at the beginning and the end of commercial breaks. That wasn't superblack, that was regular black. But superblack would be next.

In a videotape room or an editing suite, you could see superblack quite easily. Watching a tape with black on it on an analog monitor showed regular black. When you ejected the tape, the monitor would go a shade darker: superblack. The blackest the monitor could electrically be without actually being off.

Superblack could be used for all kinds of things. I only remember three off the top of my head.

First, primitive chroma-key effects in the days before digital video. It wasn't great, and you'd need extra equipment down the line to boost the signal because it would get dark, and then boosting the signal made it look bad, so it was rarely used.

Second, the equivalent of today's alpha channel compositing. This was more common, but still resulted in some signal degradation. But it was how you could put chyron or an OTS over video or a live signal.

Third, was the TV station equivalent of a "silence sense." When I worked in radio, each station had a gadget called a "silence sense" that would be hooked up to an ordinary radio tuned to the station. If there was silence for longer than x number of seconds, it tripped a relay that flipped on red blinking light bulbs in the DJ booth, in the newsroom, in the PD's office, in the MD's office, and if you were unlucky, the GM's office. In non-studio locations it was often accompanied by a beeping noise. The idea was to let everybody in the building know that something had gone horribly wrong and there was nothing on the air. Some stations I worked at it was set for 10 seconds. Some as few as 3. Really, it depended on the type of music the station played.

A similar gadget could be made (most of these things were home-made by the station engineer) to look for superblack in a TV signal. Too much superblack, and alarms go off everywhere.

Fourth, Panasonic is the only company I know of that used superblack in the consumer arena. It made a VCR that, after a show was recorded, would automatically rewind and re-watch the show for you. When it sensed superblack, it would mark the location on the tape. Then when a person went to watch what was recorded later, the VCR could sense the marks it made previously and use them to fast forward through the commercials in the program. This worked because there would always be superblack inadvertently broadcast at the start and at the end of each commercial set where there was a break in the video chain from the switch between the show playback machine and the commercial break's playback machines. I had one of these machines. It worked really well, except that it made all kinds of chugging and whirring noises in the night while it marked the tape.

Again, I'm not an engineer, so I'm just working from memory. But I'm typing what I know here because so much information about these sorts of things has disappeared, and the people who know more about these things are mostly dead.

Thank you -- I genuinely appreciate the explanation. Even if it's not as thoroughly technical as it could have been, it's still enlightening. (and the fact that it's not dryly technical makes it more interesting in its own ways!)

My assumption would be that it's whatever the darkest shade of black representable is - so 0x000000 in rgb. However that can't really be read as a distinct value in an analogue signal, maybe it's some kind of "sufficiently out of range" value so as to be distinguished from legitimate colors?

I remember there was some particular shade of off-black in Windows 95 that was always transparently showing any video that was playing. Don't think it's related though.

That happened because 3D cards used something called "overlay". Recall that your 3D card (Voodoo or some other 3dfx) was an additional card beyond your 2D card. The card would overlay its signal on the 2D card according to 2 parameters: a rectangle and a color.

I assume that videos used the same machinery, possibly in software, so that you couldn't take screenshots for copyright reasons. Or maybe it was faster for some reason, who knows (Raymond Chen might).

Either way, it's probably unrelated.

The video acceleration was done the same way with overlays because of the same hardware limitations. I remember the difference was that they used chroma keying to try and fake that it knew how to work with the windowing system -- the hardware would mask the video using the chroma key color while rendering the plane. Of course if you had another window that happened to have the chroma key color for text or something, you could drag it over the video and the text would appear oddly transparent. This happened with certain drivers on Windows up to XP, and on Unix/X11 when using the old "XVideo" extension.

But this is indeed tangential and not relevant to the original comment, because the chroma key color could be anything. On one particular driver I had, I remember the chroma key color was a very ugly shade of brown :)

I believe OLED technology is what OP is referring to. The pixels can turn off individually in order to create true blacks.

OP mentioned 3 magic colors in pre-digital TV production. The 3rd, "superblack" is what we're all curious about. OLED hadn't been invented yet.

> That's why it ended up being in one of the palettes for the primitive-by-today's-standards CGA adapter in the early IBM PC's.

Interesting... do you have a source for that?

The hideous CGA palette is legendary, but I thought the reason for its ugly palette is a consequence of: (1) only having 16KB of video RAM, and (2) only having ~10 bits of mode-setting and colour control registers. The CGA card was built entirely from off-the-shelf discrete logic chips (plus a 6845 CRTC) and there simply wasn't room to add any extra registers.

At 320x200 resolution the colour depth was limited to 2bpp, and these two bits are wired up directly to the red and green bits of the display output. The blue and intensity bits are (in graphics modes) wired up to the mode control register. Thus the four hideous palettes: the B and I bits have to be set to a fixed value for the entire screen, and only the R and G bits can vary on a pixel-by-pixel basis.

(There's a bonus palette of red, cyan, and white that can be enabled by yet another mode control bit; and the background colour -- which is usually black -- can actually be set to any one of the 16 available colours.)

I think you both agree. Magenta is easy to generate, and the CGA electronics were designed around easy to generate colors, not pretty or good looking colors.

I was only familiar with the term blacker-than-black in analog broadcast. Legal black was 7.5IRE, but any value below 7.5 was referred to as blacker-than-black. Older CRT TVs were very susceptible to bad(cool/interesting) things when the video signal was out of spec.

The 2-bit palettes of CGA were simply colors 2/4/6 and 3/5/7 of the text mode palette, where bit 2 is red, bit 1 is green and bit 0 is blue. The fourth color (encoded as 00) was the background and could be chosen from any of the 16 text colors.

(In addition there was an "undocumented" palette consisting of colors 3/4/7 plus the background color).

What is it about magenta that makes it easy to generate electronically?

In TV, the 3 primary colors are Red, Green, Blue. Magenta is a secondary color made from combining Red and Blue. That's what makes it easy. Just turn on 2 of the 3 colors you have to make it. It's not a fraction of them, it's just full on of 2 out of 3.

Fun fact: there is no such thing as magenta as a frequency of light, it is a fun trick your mind does to explain both the low energy and high energy receptors activating without the middle energy receptors also activating. In terms of pigment, magenta is one of the primary colors.

Yes, was going to say this. Magenta isn't on a rainbow and isn't really a normal color in that sense. By the weirdness of how our eyes detect colors amd how our brain processes them, magenta is something like an error response catch-all for colors outside our eye's capabilities and from that standpoint it is quite interesting.

Our heads are good at mixing colors, and we register those as colors too. Brown isn't on the rainbow either.

The most interesting color on the rainbow is violet. It registers in our heads as a kind of purple when objectively it's super blue. But the cones that register red in our eyes are also slightly activated with this super blue light, which makes it register as purple in our brain.

I'd love to see an experiment where people are shown both true violet and purple mixed from red and blue in proportions that make it register as the exact same purple as violet does. And then check how many people see a difference between the two colors. That might finally answer the question of whether red in your head looks the same as in my head.

I've always wondered by violet looks purple. Thanks for that.

So, to be clear, it's just a hardware detail with our red cones? They fire in the presence of photons in the red band, but also happen to fire in the super-blue band? It's just an artifact of how they're constructed, either by chance or evolution?

> I'd love to see an experiment where people are shown both true violet and purple mixed from red and blue in proportions that make it register as the exact same purple as violet does.

Isn't this basically exactly what the computer color violet does? E.g. there are photographs of violet at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violet_(color), which presumably look close to reality, but the hex color is #7F00FF, which has a lot of red in it.

Is that red not there to simulate our perception of violet, if I've understood you right?

Yeah, the computer merely simulates violet by mixing a kind of purple that looks just like violet.

As far as I understand (I'm no expert, I just read this somewhere), red cones also fire for extremely blue (violet) photons. No idea why. Maybe it's blue light of exactly double the frequency of red light?

My guess would be it's accidental, but I truly don't know. It might be interesting to test if animals with different kinds of cones (like butterflies) also have a similar effect for some of their cones. Though of course we'll never be able to imagine the colors they see. We're colorblind compared to them.

You do not have blue cones, you have violet cones. Well, your “blue” cones are activated starting around 380 nm wavelength, which is violet.

Brown is dark orange, which is on the rainbow.

> Magenta isn't on a rainbow

Unsure of the relevance of this. Surely there are many colors not in the rainbow: black, white, gray, brown, pink, yellow, periwinkle...

Here is some visual support for that explanation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_spaces_with_RGB_primarie...

It's fortunate that we mostly have 3 categories of cones and also 3 spatial dimensions. Notice that magenta is a vertex (of 8 vertices) in the cube, along with Yellow and Cyan too.

How the particular space (of activation to the 3 categories of cones) is carved out by that cube is something we engineered, and in fact is different across different printing and display technologies.

Ah, of course! One of those things that's obvious once I know the answer.

With RGB floats magenta is #FF00FF and that's pretty easy to remember.

Interested in what field you get the term ‘rgb float’? Not a term I’ve heard before (and not an accurate one) so I’d be interested if it’s a term of art in some industry...

Computer graphics use floats for color values very often. It was indeed misleading of me to mention floats and then use a hex value to explain it, though. Just a brain fart from seeing it earlier in the thread. With floats it would simply be (1,0,1).

I was thinking because it is one of the inks in CMYK for printing.

You are probably thinking of rich black, which in CMYK is black plus some of the other three ink colours. Converted to RGB it would still be black, but in actual printing it has its uses.

I definitely recall hearing the term super black as distinct from rich black to refer to just a mixture of black and cyan, but I can’t find a cite for that. May have been local to a specific printer? This was in a context where avoiding using four inks was an important cost saving, so maybe it was just a two color equivalent of rich black.

Of course, those two colors were also immortalized by John Cougar Mellencamp in his “little ditty ‘bout black and cyan...”

Is this not what you are talking about? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_black

In this context, it's not a physical color. It refers to an analog video signal with a lower brightness level than the level which was defined as corresponding to pure black.

That article is about a “surface treatment” for solid objects, like Vantablack. OP is talking about screens — I believe they are referring to OLED true black.

> Dark brown is not the ugliest color, the ugliest color is magenta.

That's just, like, your opinion. Beauty is subjective and the only way to declare something the ugliest, in some general sense, would be to get the subjective opinions of many people. This is presumably what was done in the market research for Pantone 448 C.

Also, magenta stands out. That is a likely reason why it was chosen as a transparency placeholder, rather than just being "ugly."

Try offering a reasonable (big enough for people to consider and not big enough for then to agree to everything) reward for people to set #FF00FF for their computers and phones (and keep it for e.g. a month) background colors and see how many are going to agree. I can bet much more people will agree for Pantone 448 C.

I wouldn't want to eat ice cream three times a day, but that doesn't mean it tastes bad.

What do you think will sell better this Valentine's day: bouquets of magenta colored flowers or Pantone 448 C colored flowers?

> Pantone 448 C colored flowers


T-Mobile is betting on the color Magenta not being offensive, as they've recently renamed themselves world-wide literally to "Magenta", granted in the US I've heard it will take quite some time to make the transition.

If you want to see magenta being used as a webpage background color, check out any of the EU websites e.g. www.magenta.de, etc.

That's not real magenta, that's #E30074 which actually looks nice. Now take a screenshot, paste it in your favorite graphics editor, replace #E30074 with #FF00FF and you'll see.

Generic color names aren't limited to literally one 24-bit hex code.

#0000FF is pretty harsh on the eyes as well but somehow I severely doubt that you go around telling people who talk about nicer blue hues that "those aren't real blues, only #0000FF is".

I would be interested to see what magenta cigarette packets did too. At least brown is relatively inconspicuous. Pulling out your magenta cigarette packet isn’t going to be something everyone wants to do.

I'm curious too. The only problem is it is going to attract too much attention when people look at the shop shelves.

In Australia darts are all packed in an unmarked cupboard behind the counter anyway. No advertising, no branding.

Yeah when ya wanna nip on down to the servo at sparrow's fart for a sanga and some durries it always takes 'em yonks an' it's not just because old mate behind the counter's a bloody galah and couldn't organise a root in a brothel. Even worse in the arvo when they're flat out like a lizard drinking, can't crack the shits at the cobber though job's not a piece of piss.

> it always takes 'em yonks an' it's not

In written form that's incredibly hard to parse, especially when you've just written a lexer for a very similar file format (space separated, sometimes quotes, sometimes quotes in quotes).

I suspect you may enjoy the music of the Chats

I prefer Frenzal Rhomb, but that's probably just my age.

That's a pretty funny quoted snippet in the first result:

> Dart is a synonym of cigarette.

So far so good...

> As nouns the difference between dart and cigarette is that dart is a pointed missile weapon, intended to be thrown by the hand; a short lance; a javelin; any sharp-pointed missile weapon, as an arrow while cigarette is tobacco, marijuana, or other substances, in a thin roll wrapped with paper, intended to be smoked.

That makes it sound like they're not so synonymous, somehow.

Haven't heard "darts" used to mean cigarettes before (I'm Australian too). Possibly it's something used in a specific region, rather than all of Australia.

It's every trademark holder's worst nightmare: a genericized term. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generic_trademark

I long for the day when search engines can filter out the auto-generated content-farm crap.

May be a bit of a commonwealth thing, as it's also common in Canada.

Punching darts; breaking hearts my friend.

Perhaps "ugliest" here means "least attractive", in the sense of causing the most indifference, or requiring the largest counterveiling force of other attention-grabbing properties to attract someone's attention. I.e., the least marketable color.

Magenta might be hideous when swatched together with most random colors that exist in the natural world, or in society; but it's certainly also attention-grabbing in a way that can be used for effect. (It's on plenty of movie posters!)

I don't think that dark brown is bad at all, it reminds me somewhat of chocolate. I tend to agree with the "unusually unattractive" comment in these results:


Something slightly greener than mustard-yellow is definitely worse than dark brown, IMHO.

>Dark brown is not the ugliest color, the ugliest color is magenta.

I feel as though I've seen many women wearing magenta-painted nails. They probably don't think it's ugly.

That's because everybody knows it's not safe to tell them.

Color is a funny thing. Everyone as an opinion on it, because almost everyone can see color. Yet almost everyone is wrong (myself being no exception!)

If you were to force cigarette companies to use magenta as their marketing color, you would probably increase sales. Magenta is eye-catching.

You could make the same argument about bright orange. Imagine if HN didn't exist. Which other sites use bright orange? "No one wants to see it."

Thomson Reuters Logo Color Scheme


Cyan is also adequately offensive.

I always forget HN is orange. https://imgur.com/a/6QhIVLp

It's all context specific. I would eat magenta cotton candy.

I saw it at Burning Man

All colours are simply rather imprecise descriptions that relate to bands of wavelength within the electromagnetic spectrum. I don't think that considered on its own, that any band (colour) can be considered ugly compared to another. I think that other senses get involved.

Funnily enough: "drab dark brown" describes the archetypal colour of shit. Now shit has its own exciting spectrum of smells and colours but most people find it unpleasant and the colour is going to obviously get involved.

Now, qwerty45etc may shit magenta coloured poo. Who knows what "web dev" does to you long term 8)

I don't think there's very good correlation between generally ugly colors and those that make bad backgrounds. A lot of colors are good accents but would be terrible background - probably anything at 100% saturation, 100% value (in HSV space) falls into this category, including the magenta you so dislike.

My understanding is that they didn't really select for the ugliest color but the one that best conveys the "cigarettes are bad" message.

It has to evoke things like death and sickness in addition to being unattractive. It has to literally look like shit. Magenta has none of that, it is just "ugly".

No color is ugly in isolation.

But some combinations are going to be problematic. Each of the colors from an ugly combination, when combined with another color in a reasonable way, will look fine, though.

I love magenta, personally

I set all of my backgrounds and accents to brown (lighter and warmer than 448 C) and magenta. Now I'm wondering if something's wrong with me.

Everyone perceives the world differently. We don’t all have the same senses. This is normal.

Good for you: the more things you like the more opportunities you have to be happy. Would you enjoy living and working in a room painted magenta?

I might not like that. I also would not like living and working in a room coated with minestrone soup.

I used to work with a lady that selected that as the solid colour background for her desktop.

Even today just recalling it I'm drawn to laugh a bit in exasperation. I feel a little bit like I'm sharing a tech horror story around a camp fire.

Her desktop icon arrangement was... in line with what you would expect of such a mind.

But it's yet another example I can bring up against absolute statements like everyone hates magenta.

I'd argue that there's a difference in what colors appear "unappealing" between print and screen.

Staring directly into a bright, magenta-colored screen would certainly be unpleasant. Printing it onto a non-emissive material like cardboard, though, would probably look quite nice.

We have fancy business cards at work. I was asked to proof mine and I said "I'm no designer, but that magenta lozenge in the middle looks really ugly".

"That's the shape that's going to be punched out" came the reply.

Telekom[1] aka t-online aggressively uses Magenta for their Branding. Their newest Internet Package is named Magenta One.

At least they use #e20074 instead of #ff00ff

[1] https://telekom.de

Not quite #ff00ff, but T-Mobile gets pretty close to that[1]

[1] https://www.t-mobile.com/cell-phone-plans/magenta

Ever since I took a color photo printing class, cyan and magenta has been two of my favorite colors. Not to mention Magenta as one of my favorite characters from Rocky Horror.

> everybody is going to close it immediately as soon as they accidentally navigate to it

If only bots weren't color agnostic then this would be an awesome way to get rid of them!

You can’t really compare colour on a computer screen to printed colour. It’s totally different and a printed magenta would be attention grabbing imho.

My dark mode extension generates an even uglier color for HN (#272716).

#FF00FF on the other hand is used in marketing toy dolls all the time.

Magenta is used because it stands out and has an easy hex code, not because its ugly.

The more... feminine among us would disagree about magenta being ugly. ;-)

That opinion is subjective, and Magenta is useful in other contexts.

I'm going to look at it, because I like magenta.

I love how the references note that all the news articles talking about it use a different color to talk about it, as the tone itself is hard to tell whether it's just a dark grey or black or some tone of brown.

> "This is the world's ugliest colour, according to experts". Evening Standard. 7 June 2016. Retrieved 19 June 2016. N.B. As of 2018-03-29, the image there erroneously shows colour #5D4914, rather than #4A412A.

> "Researchers discover the ugliest color in the world: Pantone 448 C". Digital Trends. 16 June 2016. Retrieved 19 June 2016. N.B. As of 2018-03-29, the image there erroneously shows colour #4D442E, rather than #4A412A.

> "Does this colour turn you off?". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 June 2016. N.B. As of 2018-03-29, the image there erroneously shows colour #594A13, rather than #4A412A.

If it's a hex code or RGB value it is a Pantone equivalent anyway and may or may not be in the realm of accurate, and is likely not even close if your monitor is not well calibrated. So it probably doesn't much matter what hex code they use as long as it's in the general area. Pantone colors at their heart are ink mixing formulas for spot printing on specific papers.

I think it's funny that in a thread about a Pantone color, no one has posted it's CMYK value. C:39 M:47 Y:81 K:67 would be a better representation but it would still depend on the printer, the inks it uses and what material the color is printed on. Yes, I live in Pantone. I'll have to check out the real color in the coated book in the morning...

Pantone colours have "official" RGB approximations. But I agree with you that what matters is how it's perceived.


Keeping color correct across different media is a royal pain in the ass.

Is this the color picked for Microsoft Zune


And it actually looked quite nice in that application.

It has a nice warm in look. I wish electronics usually wore in - the iPhone 5s in space grey was as close as I’ve ever seen to this.

IMO The iPhone 5 had a special tool-like quality missing from other devices. It wore down really well.

It was close. And in person, I thought it looked pretty sharp.

I've used #412f1c for years as my personal site background. I've now changed it to #4A412A (Pantone 448 C). Looks just as good to me. Has better story. https://www.ronilan.com/ What do you think?

Thanks for this! Seeing how a color interacts with other colors is really crucial for appreciating it.

I get why it failed market research, it's surprisingly bold for such a drab color. Which I think makes for an interesting feeling because I find drab and bold to be antithetical to each other, yet this color manages to be both.

Also, it feels neither warm nor cool, which is also a little off-putting. I was playing around with making the grey banner at the top a more warm grey, and it was terrible, but I went with an even cooler grey, and it was still terrible. The most complimentary color I found was something around #dedfd9, and it's still merely, not terrible.

It does kind of remind me of an old Gameboy, especially with the sepia picture of you.

This made me curious which projects on Github use this color, and it seems pretty common as a shadow color in Material design: https://github.com/search?q=%22%23412f1c%22&type=Code

Not sure if you've considered accessibility, but the original color has better contrast with the font. That being said, it's not a huge deal and it's certainly a cool color to use.

Thanks. I learn a new thing every day.... updated text to #afafaf

(which according to https://webaim.org/resources/contrastchecker/ is WCAG AA OK in contrast to the ugliest colour in the world)

I just switched back and forth between old and new color.

Old one looks way better than the new one. But the story might be worth keeping the change :)

I don't think any individual colour can be ugly. Ugliness depends on context, on combinations with other colours. For example, yesterday I was wearing two different shades of purple. That was ugly. Any one of them would look great with black, but combine the two and it's ugly.

If they want to make ugliness mandatory for things they want to discourage, they should prescribe ugly colour combinations, not single colours. Although I doubt even that will work. Things that are considered ugly in one decade can often become popular in the next, and vice versa.

Yes. Very naïve campaign. Great branding artefact though, quite a unique color if anything. It will probably become as consolidated in the collective unconscious as the Marlboro red-white geometry.

My former life as an advertising art director meant I spent a lot of time at press checks for print work, and all browns are notoriously difficult to bring any life into. Chocolate for example looks like a turd without some serious retouching (hence all the shiny highlights in photos). Separately this colour was all the rage for cars in the 70's: example of a series 1 xj6 in 'sable' https://www.jaguarheritage.com/car/1968-jaguar-xj6-series-1-... This car is stunning in real life IMO Terence Conran's UK Habitat furniture stores relied heavily no mushroomy colours like this as high fashion back then also. Beauty is in the eyes of the fashion creators...

Brown car interiors of the 70s and 80s were another fairly unique period of car design where brown flourished. I wonder if they were trying to capture the feel of wood and leather, as they moved into using plastics for interiors.

There's a better view on the Pantone website: https://www.pantone.com/color-finder/448-C

They just changed the cigarette packages to this colour here a few weeks ago. When I seen them I said to the person who showed me 'that's like the ugliest colour I've seen, that was on purpose wasn't it?' I guess, according to this article, it was. It really is just unappealing to look at.

I dunno about ugliest, but I can imagine it being the least 'fun'. Certainly kids won't gravitate towards it.

I think it's ugliest because it's kinda color of poo?

I think it's an instinctual reaction because it's like poo color, but wrong in some way, like it's a bit too dark, so it's like our instincts have us thinking that color means we're sick. Like if there's blood it can make it darker.

Yeah but with liver failure (hepatitis or alcoholism)


What kind of source are you expecting?

In the learn-something-poo department, I didn't previously know this term until reading that page:


Catalan has a name for this color. 'Merda d'oca', which means 'goose shit': https://ca.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/color_de_merda_d%27oca (in Catalan)

This Catalan word apparently seeped into French as "caca d'oie". It's typically used for a more yellow-ish green than the brown of the article though. Wikipedia traces its use back to the 17th century.


"Merda d'oca" is definitely lighter. This one would be rather "color de gos com fuig" (literally, the color of a dog running away).

LOL, I'd say gos com fuig has a greyish thing to it

I like it as a camouflage color... I painted my kids' tree house a very similar color and it made it much less visible with all the trees in the background.

I recently saw this photography project, where Angelica Dass was matching pantones to people's skin. Lovely results:


Someone correct me if my anecdotal memory is wrong, but didn't Bianchi ask their customers for color preference and then sell the least liked color to great success?

That would explain a lot. Bianchi Green is very distinctive.

Bianchi Celeste/Green is still a fairly traditionally pleasing colour, popular for many things. Perhaps it was the least liked of the popular vote they had, where all the colours were reasonable. I wonder if they would have still done it had the least favourite been #00FF00.

I like the (debunked) legend that they mixed the two cheapest paints available, white and army surplus green, and made the best of the postwar financial situation.

I hope it was celeste.

> The Australian Department of Health initially referred to the color as "olive green", but the name was changed after concerns were expressed by the Australian Olive Association


> Since 2016, the same colour has also been used for plain cigarette packaging in France, the United Kingdom, Israel, Norway, New Zealand, Slovenia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

I purchased a grand total of two packets before quitting 3 weeks ago, thanks colour science!

The colour and the gruesome images[0] didn't faze me at all, I was addicted to what was inside, so the package was just an aside, although I did prefer the "smoking will harm your unborn baby" packaging because I'm not pregnant, and it had a cute baby on it. I hope it would make smoking less glamorous for teenagers, but I've no idea if there's research on that.


It won't be the ugliest color for long. This choice will have unintended consequences.

Honestly, I don't think putting this color on cigarette packaging is going to stop people from buying it. If you're addicted to it, you're going to buy it, who cares what color it's packing is...

It's about putting off new people, especially kids. No longer are there any cool-looking Lucky Strikes, or whatever.

Yeah but you're much less likely to buy that crucial first pack.

I kinda doubt a bit of olive drab is going to make the difference. Pictures of cancerous lung tissue send a pretty clear message though.

Yes, these are all over cigarette packs. I don't know why legislators overlooked snus when making that requirement.

I wonder if there is a some kind of a subliminal psychoanalytical trick, where by going out of their way to make it super ugly they make it appealing. I can certainly see teenagers responding that way.

Interestingly, this is how HN looks with Dark Reader on Firefox: https://imgur.com/TIQpd9S

Interesting. Things can go from ugly to nice quite easily, this is very observable in the fashion world; for instance, see modern streetwear. This phenomena seems to suggest that the concept of beauty and desirability is subjective, and can be influenced by external factors, and as such, might change in unexpected ways. If that's true, those who have chosen this color with the intention of discouraging tobacco use might be in for a surprise.

My monitor is colour calibrated, yet a Google image search shows this:


Despite all the bells and whistles added to the web over the past 20 years, it seems we still can't get colour right.


I can't help but think that the people affected most by the debranding of cigarette packs are cashiers. I used to work in a small convenience store, and finding the right pack a customer asked for from the giant wall of smokes behind the till was difficult enough when they were all different colours.

Any color looks different in conjunction with another color. There’s at least a color out there that makes 448 C look great beside it, im absolutely sure of that. I wonder who decides these type of subjective as the ugliest color. Whats the most beautiful? Hard to tell because it’s all subjective!!

What with the recent smoke, ash, dust and rain in Melbourne, may I suggest the name “Yarra Blue”.

Who says it's the ugliest color in the world? No citation in the wikipedia entry. It just looks like a generic military camp color to me (whether or not it actually is used that way, that was my first thought on viewing the color).

There are four citations to newspaper articles about a study from Australia, right after it says

"Described as a "drab dark brown", it was selected in 2016 as the colour for plain tobacco and cigarette packaging in Australia, after market researchers determined that it was the least attractive colour."

Those all cite the same finding from a business research firm hired by Australia. I was hoping for something slightly more "scientific" than "these marketing guys say it's ugly" :shrug:

I used that color here as the background...


And here


I actually like it...

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact