The 16 Longest Color Names in History’s Palette

Most of the longest color names captivate people’s attention through creativity and imagination. From Purple Mountains’ Majesty and Quinacridone Magenta to Permanent Alizarin Crimson and Air Superiority Blue, there are many colors that stand out with their long names.

Have you ever wondered how many colors there are in the world? There are about 16.7 million, but only a few are 20-30 characters long.

While some colors strike with their shades, others catch the eye with their long names.

Here are the longest color names: 

University Of Tennessee Orange (30 characters long)

University Of Tennessee Orange
Hex #F77F00
RGB 247, 127, 0
CMYK 0, 47, 97, 3

Tennessee Orange has been the University of Tennessee’s color since August 12, 1889, when Charles Moore – president of the UT Athletic Association – chose these colors for UT’s first field day.

According to one myth, Charles Moore was colorblind but chose this color in connection with the common American daisy growing on the hill overlooking Neyland Stadium.

In 1892, students wore orange and white to the Sewanee football game, confirming orange as one of the university’s official colors.

By 1894, students used other colors but, unhappy with the choice, reverted to orange and white.

University of Pennsylvania Red (30 characters)

University of Pennsylvania Red is the longest color name, featuring 30 characters. It is a dark shade of red, almost maroon yet darker than burgundy, that dates back to 1876.

The color is representative of the University of Pennsylvania, which uses a combination of two colors in its brand guidelines: this shade of red, also called Penn Red, and dark blue (or Penn Blue).

The use of colors by colleges and universities originated in the second half of the 19th century, with the rise in popularity of college sports and athletic competitions between school teams.

In 1876, the Athletic Association – led by students of the University of Pennsylvania – joined the American College Athletic Association (AAAC).

Over the years, the University of Pennsylvania has used various shades of red and blue. This dark burgundy was not adopted until 1986 for all official University printed materials.

The Pantone Matching System (PMS) has also adopted this color, with the PMS code red 201.

Permanent Alizarin Crimson (26 characters)

Permanent Alizarin Crimson is a deep red, named after one of the dyes in the madder plant from which red pigments have been created since the 7th century BC.

This prominent dye, known as alizarin, was found in the matter plant by two French chemists – Colin-Jean-Baptiste Chevreul and Pierre-Jean Robiquet – along with a second dye named purpurin.

Thus, alizarin was also the first natural pigment to be synthetically duplicated in 1868. The pigment’s name comes from the Arabic word “al-‘uṣārah,” which means “the juice.”

Before this discovery, madder was used to dye textiles.

With synthetic duplication, the cultivation of madder root ceased.

However, this color still has an adjective in its name. The term “permanent” refers to its colorfastness.

Purple Mountains’ Majesty (25 characters)

Purple Mountains’ Majesty
Hex #9678B6
RGB 150, 120, 182
CMYK 13, 24, 0, 29

Purple Mountains’ Majesty is a pale shade of purple resembling lavender. The name was inspired by Ray Charles’ song America the Beautiful, which in verse 4 mentions the phrase “purple mountain majesties.”

It’s one of the longest color names, so named by the Crayola crayon company in 1993 to commemorate its 90th anniversary.

International Klein Blue (24 characters)

International Klein Blue
Hex #002FA7
RGB 0, 47, 167
CMYK 65, 47, 0, 35

International Klein Blue is a bold ultramarine blue shade invented by French artist Yves Klein in the 1960s.

Abbreviated as IKB, this is one of the longest color names.

Yves Klein was a key figure in European art and a leading member of the ‘Nouveau Realisme’ art movement. He also became popular for his signature ultramarine – a vivid shade of blue.

He collaborated with a paint company to develop a special paint using an ultramarine pigment in a synthetic resin known as Rhodopas.

This pigment was discovered with the help of a Parisian paint dealer, Edouard Adam.

The optical effect of the paint preserved the brilliance of the pigment. Thus, this paint differed from others because it retained the intense color of the pigments used.

Aquashield Canterbury Clay (24 characters)

Aquashield Canterbury Clay
Hex #C6AE83
RGB 198, 174, 131
CMYK 0, 9, 26, 22

Aquashield Canterbury Clay is a French beige with golden undertones. The history of this color derives from bricks created from a mixture of water and clay from the Canterbury region of New Zealand.

The Canterbury Clay Brick Factory is situated near its clay supplies within the Darfield hills and produces kiln-fired clay bricks. These are used for commercial and residential construction.

Today, the name stands for a professional paint created by Resene. As the name implies, it is a hydrophobic paint. Moreover, it has a high mineral content, making it an ideal paint to apply to porous materials.

Aquashield Spanish White (24 characters)

Aquashield Spanish White
Hex #DED1B7
RGB 222, 209, 183
CMYK 0, 5, 15, 13

Aquashield Spanish White is a warm shade of white. It can be considered an off-white that leans towards cream but looks more like a soft beige.

However, aquashield is basically an acronym for water-resistant paints.

Permanent Geranium Lake (23 characters)

Permanent Geranium Lake
Hex #E12C2C
RGB 225, 44, 44
CMYK 0, 71, 71, 12

Permanent Geranium Lake is a bold shade of red, named after the red pigment used by Van Gogh – Geranium Lake.

It is also one of the original Crayola crayon colors, which was later changed to avoid this long color name.

However, what does the word ‘permanent’ mean in this color’s name? This addition was used by paint manufacturers to differentiate Geranium Lake from this paint.

Geranium Lake is a bright shade of red that fades over time. So, to solve the fading problem, paint manufacturers have developed a new version – Permanent Geranium Lake – which has proven to be more durable.

Nevertheless, the term ‘permanent’ in the web has no meaning.

When it comes to the ‘lake’ used in its name, it refers to the pigment created from an organic dye combined with a metallic salt. This kind of pigment is not soluble in water.

Sacramento State Green (22 characters)

Sacramento State Green
Hex #00563F
RGB 0, 86, 63
CMYK 34, 0, 9, 66

This has been the official color of Sacramento State University since 2004, along with gold.

Sacramento State Green is a vivid shade of green, more saturated than pine green and with more blue in the composition than emerald green.

So, this dark forest green, also known as Sac State Green, is a darker teal shade with enough depth and richness to look elegant.

The University of Sacramento chose this green as its official color because Sacramento – the capital of California – has been called the “City of Trees” since 1855.

Boston University Red (21 characters)

Boston University Red
Hex #CC0000
RGB 204, 0, 0
CMYK 0, 80, 80, 20

Boston University Red, the official color of the university of the same name since 1930, is a deep shade of red that leans towards scarlet. It is neither too dark nor too bright.

It’s a color that symbolizes life, will and courage, along with the optimism of its orange tinge.

Moreover, Boston University’s mascot – Rhett – was inspired by the movie “Gone with the wind” as he loved this color more than anyone.

Quinacridone Magenta (20 characters)

The first magenta dye created by French chemist François-Emmanuel Verguin was named after the Battle of Magenta in 1859 after the battle that ended the Austro-Italian conflict. The original name of the color, however, was “fuchsine.”

The term “Quinacridone” comes from pigments created in 1935, formed from two pairs of oxygen and nitrogen atoms grouped into sets of five carbon rings.

These organic pigments range from purple to orange, with the quality of being incredibly vivid, despite what you see on your screen.

Quinacridone Magenta is a deep purplish-red and is based on the organic pigment of the same name. This dark shade of magenta is also one of the longest two-word color names.

Air Superiority Blue (20 characters)

Air Superiority Blue
Hex #72A0C1
RGB 114, 160, 193
CMYK 31, 13, 0, 24

Air Superiority Blue is a cyan medium named after Federal Standard 595. This US Federal Government standard was created in 1956 for paint colors used by military contractors.

It is also called PRU blue because it was used by the Photographic Reconnaissance Unit during World War II, so RAF reconnaissance aircraft could camouflage themselves in low visibility conditions.

Later, the US Army Air Forces adopted this shade of blue to paint the bottom sides of reconnaissance aircraft. This makes them less visible from the ground.

Amaranth Deep Purple (20 characters)

Amaranth Deep Purple is an intense reddish rose named after the red amaranth plant. This color was first mentioned in English in 1930, in “A Dictionary of Color” by A. Maerz and M. Rea Paul.

Its name comes from the Greek “amárantos” meaning “everlasting, undying, unfading.” So, it refers to the deep color of flowers even after they die.

Although the most popular color ranges from deep reddish-pink to burgundy, amaranth also comes in green and gold.

Black Leather Jacket (20 characters)

Black Leather Jacket
Hex #253529
RGB 37, 53, 41
CMYK 6, 0, 5, 79

Black Leather Jacket belongs to the list of the longest color names. It is a very dark shade of green, so dark that it can be mistaken for black.

Its name makes sense because black leather usually turns green if exposed to direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time. Basically, it fades.

Illuminating Emerald (20 characters)

Illuminating Emerald
Hex #319177
RGB 49, 145, 119
CMYK 38, 0, 10, 43

Illuminating Emerald is a medium shade of bluish-green named by participants in a 2001 Crayola contest to name a set of 16 metallic crayons.

Although it was named after the color of the gemstone of the same name, this color is darker and has a touch of blue compared to emerald green.

Coquelicot (10 characters)

Coquelicot is a bright red with a tinge of orange, named after the traditional French reference to the wild corn poppy.

This reddish-orange illustrates the hue of the red poppy and is the longest single-word color name.

If you’re wondering why this color has one of the longest names, it’s because most colors are made up of several words.

Explore the Fascinating World of Color Names

There are millions of colors, so it is very difficult to differentiate them without a unique name.

In addition, color names play an important role in marketing, design, and branding. However, some names have historical significance while others are a creative art form.

These names can broaden your horizons, whether you’re a color enthusiast, an artist, or a designer.

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