The world’s ugliest color: good or bad for fundraising?

Here, apparently, is the most repulsive color in the world:

According to a recent post at Creative Market — Research has Determined The Ugliest Color in the World

This color, along with many others, was shown to more than 1,000 smokers to determine which hue turned them off the most. [T]he info was passed on to the Australian government, where they will now include the color — along with standard safety warnings — on every package of cigarettes sold. And this idea is gaining some traction, with other countries across the world adopting similar methods.

What does this mean for us fundraisers?

Probably nothing at all.

Although color can really only be considered beautiful or ugly by its context, we do know that colors have emotional impact. Many fundraisers also know from experience that hot and warm colors seem to increase donor response.

So the idea that there’s a color that would repel people and discourage them from buying what’s a package of that color seems possible.

The problem with this color is how they arrived at it. Apparently they asked people what colors they dislike. There’s almost no chance at all that the color people say they hate has any correlation to their buying behavior. Or giving. People can easily and glibly tell you which colors they like or dislike. They have very little access to how those colors might influence their behavior.

That type of research — just asking people their opinion about a color, font, design, or anything else — tells you nothing useful.

It’s possible — likely, in fact — that the colors people say they hate are the very colors that motivate their behavior.

If you want to know how people are going to respond to your fundraising, the only way to find out is to actually try it in real life.

Frankly, the fact that this color got a strong reaction in the show-them-and-ask-them research makes me think it might be a good color to use in fundraising!

If you’re interested in the world’s ugliest color, here are the details:

  • Pantone: 448C
  • Name: Opaque Couché
  • RGB: 74 65 42
  • HEX/HTML: 4A412A
  • CMYK: 33 43 80 82

Thanks to Arts Hacker for the tip.

(This post first appeared on July 5, 2016.)


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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