Stop smoking!

How do you put people off buying cigarettes? have them look at a helpless unappealing colour – why choose a poor innocent PMS colour to make people feel squeamish when they go to light up or make that purchasing decision?. Seriously!

From December 1 2012 all cigarette packing in Australia will take on this generic plain packaging with large graphic health warnings and the manufacturers’ brand names written in a small generic font.

A report by GfK Bluemoon confirms that through a process of seven studies, involving more than 1000 regular smokers, aged 16 to 64, research participants indicated that ‘‘drab dark brown’’ packages had the lowest overall appeal and looked like they would contain the lowest quality cigarettes, which would cause the most harm.
Other colours considered were lime green, white, beige, dark grey and mustard. But none came close to Pantone 448C in terms of its ability to ‘‘minimise appeal’’ and ‘‘maximise perceived harm’’.


This question must come to mind – why did Pantone choose to add this colour to their range? Pantone Matching System swatches do not cover every colour in the light spectrum, the colours are selected for their aesthetic appeal, a colour that can be combined with others to create contrast.


The now forsaken PMS 448 used to make us feel sick about smoking can play a part in making other colours more prominent and appealing. On its own it looks drab but combined with other colours can work well – whether it makes a smoking addict think twice before buying a packet is questionable, but to discredit the appeal of a colour like this is just sickening! ;-)


I would suggest that no other colour be allowed to be combined with PMS 448, drop the imagery and place the brand name in 70% PMS 488 so it’s barely legible. How about packs of 4, or half sticks? that way the smoker has to carry around 5 packs to make up one, filling their bags with annoying boxes. Why not a fluoro colour to glow and make it very obvious and a bit embarrassing to pull the pack out in public! I know – there will be committee-driven arguments galore on every suggestion. I’m all for disguising the pack and removing its appeal but I think there are better ways than choosing a colour – what about the box itself? I look forward to seeing the results of this initiative.

Give me colour – Pantone

This is a bit of a promo video from Pantone to launch their new colour range – but it still presents us with a bit of a background to what goes in to making the unique colours and creating the colour system that all print-based designers rely on.

360° Color: A Peek Inside Pantone from Base on Vimeo.

Colour and the mind

TEDS is always worth keeping keeping an eye on – full of very talented people sharing their knowledge. This talk by Beau Lotto caught my eye – it’s an excellent talk with visual examples explaining how the mind works in relation to perception of colour and optical illusions.



Colour System history 101

I think we have all heard of the colour wheel – the organisation of colour hues in a circle that show their relationships with consideration to the primary (red yellow blue) and secondary (purple, orange and green) colours – but what of its origins – it would appear that most big thinkers of the past have put their minds to it and have created their own theories, and some of them are presented below, courtesy of the Colour Museum.

Don’t expect me to go into depth about colour – whoa! – too big for me, but if you are interested, a great place to start is at Color Systems and Systematization which goes into great depths and has some great colour examples from the past

These images are from The Colour Museum