Just Rankin’ Sh!t

The 6 Worst-Named Pantone Colors, Ranked

Stop being cute and just describe the damn thing!

LEVEL Editors
Published in
2 min readJun 29, 2021
Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

6. Exuberance

For any general color you can think of, there are dozens of Pantone varieties. Take orange: There’s Orangeade, Jaffa Orange, Apricot, Orange.com (whatever the hell that means), Tangelo, D’angelo (okay, not that one), and the list goes on. Most of them at least sound orange. And then there’s… exuberance. We’re all for poetic license, but can anyone explain this one to us?

5. Urban Red

If we were being generous here, we’d say, “Clearly, Pantone was trying to evoke the deep-red hue of the bricks from which so many cities’ apartment buildings are built.” But we’re not that generous because we know exactly what companies mean when they say “urban.” And that’s a dried bloodstain kinda red right there. With thousands of shades in their catalog, this might be the shadiest name of all.

4. American Beauty

Given that it’s basically indistinguishable from urban red, we have no idea why this one got named after an Oscar-winning film about a suburban creep’s midlife crisis. Oh, wait. Of course we do. (Also, that movie did not age well.)

3. Jazzy

Okay, it’s official: Pantone lost its mind when naming its red colors. Is this a shout to Jazzy Jeff? The Jazzyphatnastees? We hope not, because the only person who would describe this shade of red as “jazzy” A) would throw in an exclamation point and jazz hands and B) is a raspy-voiced White lady pleading with you to donate to her NPR station.

2. Bachelor Button

Upon Googling, we discovered that this is another name for cornflower — which we guess it kinda looks like. But more importantly, we’re not botanists or gardeners and neither is damn near anyone looking at color swatches. Which means we’re likely to jump to all sorts of conclusions about what a bachelor button is. Like, is that White-person slang for Viagra? Maybe the prostate? All we’re saying here, Pantone, is don’t leave us to our own devices. Just call the shit “bluish” and be good.

1. Indian Tan

Nope. Nope nope nope. What kind of Rudyard Kipling-ass kinda name is this?