Lonely Planet Writer

Seville has its own Pantone colour - friendly with a touch of orange zest

In the sun-soaked city of Seville, Best in Travel city for 2018, the fierce southern Spanish light lends every shade a new intensity – bright white walls covered with vivid pink bougainvillea, brilliant blue and yellow ceramic tiles, a deep cerulean sky, the fiery red of a flamenco dancer’s dress.

Seville’s Pantone colour. Image by Pantone

Now the Andalucian capital has its very own colour, as certified by Pantone: orange FFAB60.

The story behind this new metropolitan hue goes back to an iconic song from the Expo 92, Sevilla tiene un color especial (Sevilla has a special colour) by local group Los del Rio; soon after, they achieved global fame with La Macarena. Sevilla tiene un color especial became the city’s unofficial anthem.

Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla gin. Image by Tanqueray

Fast-forward a couple of decades, and London-based gin-maker Tanqueray releases a new gin, Flor de Sevilla, flavoured with the famous Seville bitter oranges (as used in marmalade). To celebrate, why not capture Seville’s “special colour”, encapsulate its spirit in a specific tone? A big data study was carried out by creative agency Dommo to pin down Seville’s exact shade, so that the Tanqueray bottle could encapsulate Seville’s sunny vibrancy and flamboyance.

60,000 colours were extracted from 10,000 pictures to find Seville’s colour. Image by Pantone

Using Google Street View, the city’s busiest areas were determined, and 10,000 pictures were taken of more than 1000 streets and 30 historic places. From these, 60,000 colour tones were extracted, and an algorithm used to find the median hexadecimal format (“average” colour code) of the city.

The result, orange FABB60, as ratified recently by the Pantone Colour Institute, is described by Pantone as “friendly and optimistic with a touch of zest… [it] wraps you in a warm and welcoming embrace.” In technical terms, the colour is made up of 255 red, 171 green and 96 blue.

And Los del Rio have re-released their song as Sevilla tiene un naranja especial  – Sevilla has a special orange colour (not to be confused with naranjo, the fruit). The perfect bitter-sweet ending.