Would You Pick a Colour called “puke”?

would you pick a colour called puke 1 karen haller

Have you ever bought a colour because you loved the name? Did it instantly transport you to a place, a time, a memory or simply because of how it made you feel?

Fancy any from this 1574 colour chart? How about Ape’s Laugh, Merry Widow or Gooseturd Green?

And if this chart is anything to go by, it would suggest those creating colours had just as much fun coming up with names back in mediaeval times as they do now. I want to know if someone actually had the job of colour matching Gooseturd green!

Nowadays, a lot of time and money goes into choosing names. You’ve probably even seen paint colour names with the ® next to it, showing the colour name as been registered so that now one else can use it. You’re likely to find this with a paint company’s colour of the year.

Get the colour name right and it can sell itself  

The colour name that instantly comes to mind is Farrow & Ball’s Elephant’s Breath. There was a time this was the colour de jour. This colour was name dropped at dinner parties, coffee mornings and at the school gate. Tins were flying off the shelves.

Then there are the names that can turn us instantly off a colour.

What felt like decades, Magnolia, a very pale yellow, was the go-to colour for property developers and landlords across the UK. It was everywhere. For most people who had to live in wall-to-wall Magnolia now shudder when they even hear the name.

Have you had this experience?

And what if the colour was the same but the name was buttermilk, vanilla cream or pale primrose. Would it surprise you that these colour names sell well?

Over on my instagram post an interior designer commented that she had heard a story that a paint company in the 1970’s had a colour named Avocado which was a popular green at the time. But green fell out of fashion so they eventually renamed the same colour to Wasabi and started selling again.

lboc blog would you pick a colour called puke 2 karen haller

Have you ever bought a colour because you fell in love with the name? Or maybe the name turned you off? I’d love to know. Drop your colour name and story in the comments below.

Wishing you a colourful day,

Originally written October 2021. Updated February 2023.


  1. alba on October 13, 2021 at 11:36 pm

    I ‘ve always loved the sound of clotted cream & butter cream…and I’m sure it helps being a fan of yellow…and had a chuckle about your interpretation of Magnolia, reminding me of the Antique white go to and lived in colour of my first home, It was a joyous colour with sun pouring in from northern aspect(Australia of course), making it light, bright & vibrant. Or maybe that was the northern aspect?
    Lovely reminders…thanks Karen

    • Karen Haller on January 16, 2022 at 9:13 am

      Hi Alba, I love those names too. I feel like I’m in a sweet country cottage having afternoon tea. The isn’t the same colour name stigma with Magnolia in Australia as there is in the UK.

      Antique white is usually a lovely warm white and warmed up further with the rich Aussie sunshine. Sounds lovely.

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