13 Colors You Didn’t Know Existed And Where They Came From

by . November 3rd, 2014


People say men and women see colors differently. To women, lipsticks come in different shades of red—there’s scarlet, vermillion, crimson—but to men, they’re simply red. There’s an infinite number of colors and they can be very subjective; good thing there are authorities that dictate the names of every identifiable shade in the spectrum. Although names are provided, it doesn’t go that these names are commonly known by the average human.

Switch on your color geekiness. Here’s over a dozen weird-sounding names you wouldn’t associate with colors and a short back story for each one.


1) Military Olive

It’s easy to imagine the color our military men wear and naming a specific color after them was a great idea! 



2) Daphne

One can easily expect a shade of pink or soft yellow upon hearing the color Daphne. Daphne is a soft shade of blue but ironically, it’s usually used for industrial projects.


3) Amaranth

It’s a cross between red and pink but you can’t tell whether it’s one or the other. It’s a very feminine color for a reason: it’s named after a flower! (Spoiler: most of the colors that will follow are named after plants, too!)


4) Bayou

It’s a bluish-green color taken from a Franco-English term for a body of water typically found in flat, low-lying area close to a swamp. It has different variations like Green Bayou and Blue Bayou.


5) Tortoise Shell

Pantone gets a bit literal with the way they name their colors and this one is based on a precious creature. The shell of a tortoise is a combination of different shades of brown


6) Tender Shoots

Tender Shoots roots back to its literal meaning. We might expect either a dark shade or pale shade of green but nope. It’s almost a Kermit the Frog kind of green, if you ask me. :)


7) Sassafras

Drawing inspiration from nature, Sassafras is a tree with leaves that turn from green to a dark red color. It’s hard to tell whether the name was drawn from the bark’s color or its wilted leaves, though.


8) Rhododendron

This color may sound like a dinosaur specie, but Rhododendron is a delicate flower that blooms in bushes. Although it comes in different berry colors, the most recognizable kind is the color above.


9) Coquelicot

Under the sun, a coquelicot flower looks orange but when you look at it closely, it’s hard to tell if it’s orange or a confused red. Exactly like this color.


10) Campanula

Campanula is also a flower but the color is derived specifically from double flowering campanulas with a pale blue-purple combination.


11) Labrador

It’s disappointing how it’s not the color of the family dog we all love. Labrador is a shade of blue that takes its name from the mineral labradorite, a turquoise form of feldspar.


12) Gloxinia

Gloxinia sounds like an element used in science projects but the name also comes from a flower — a very pretty one.


13) Limoges

Limoges is a city in France. The tower and dome of Gare des Bénédictins are painted in a pale blue color where the color Limoges was probably taken after.

All images were prepared by the author based from this

Have you read about other colors we’ve probably never heard of? It doesn’t matter if they’re paint, crayons or Pantone; share them through the comments below!


J is a confessional media/fictional writer/Multimedia Arts major from Manila. She is fascinated by art and design, brand identity and advertising trends— she doesn’t always enjoy making them, but she’s always up for knowing and writing about them. She likes observing and writing about human behavior, different POVs, design and culture