The New Red is Tomato Puree

Red is no longer red. It’s “Tomato Puree.” Green is “Dried Herb” and gray is “Eucalyptis.” Yes, colour has its own naming dictionary, just like babies.

Pantone Rubik's Cube from

For 45 years, Pantone has been the self-proclaimed “world-renowned authority on colour”. It makes the colour predictions for the season, sell swatch books and paint chips for hundreds and thousands of dollars, and ensure that the purple logo on a Cadbury chocolate wrapper in London is the exact same shade as the one you get in Auckland.

Pantone swatch book from

Would Coca-Cola be Coca-Cola without red? Starbucks without green? McDonald’s without red and yellow?

Not a chance. Colour is one of the most important components of advertising. It’s how we identify and connect with a brand. Which is why companies, like T-Mobile and UPS, are starting to buy the rights to their colours, including the names.
T-Mobile has owned the “colour mark No. 395 52 630 ‘magenta’ (RAL 4010) since September 12, 2000” and have sued another company for using their magenta without permission.

Meanwhile, UPS has trademarked the word Brown in their slogan, “What can Brown do for you?” Last year, this slogan was added to the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame between 42nd and 50th streets in New York and will be inducted into the Advertising Icon Museum in 2010.

With colours being bought, artists and designers either have to deal with the legal stuff or put up with having fewer colour options.

This could make the future of the colour spectrum looks a lot less vibrant, let’s hope not…

-Otiena Ellwand

Pantone's colour rainbow: "What you see is what we got." Photo:


1 Comment

Filed under Art/Design, Economics, Gadgets, Interior Design, Media News

One response to “The New Red is Tomato Puree

  1. Pingback: The Colour of 2010 «

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