International colour authority Pantone has officially named the dark green in which Hong Kong trams are painted as “HK Tram Green.”
The US-based Pantone Color Institute announced last Friday that it was collaborating with Hong Kong Tramways to “showcase the historical and cultural significance of the HK Tram” by naming the shade of green after the city’s trams – nicknamed “ding dings” for the sound of their bells.
Tram number 88 can now be seen around the city dressed as a Pantone colour chip. However, “HK Tram Green” will not be codified in Pantone’s colour system.
The US company creates codified colour standards for designers, architects and paint manufacturers alike.
Although the traditional tint has more often than not given way to advertising on trams, the muted dark green is part of the city’s collective memory.
In the 1940s, trams were painted green using leftover paint from factories that produced them in abundance for military purposes during the Second World War, similar to other public utilities such as lamp posts, street stalls and railings.
Meanwhile, with its 165 tramcars, the 117-year-old transport company has also been awarded the title of “largest double-decker tram fleet in service” by Guinness World Records. The honour will be officially awarded at a ceremony at the end of this month.
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