Pantone’s 2023 Color of the Year, Viva Magenta, Takes a Strong Yet Subtle New Direction

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    January 17, 2023

Pantone’s 2023 Color of the Year, Viva Magenta, Takes a Strong Yet Subtle New Direction


“I love it.”

That was my first thought when Pantone announced their 2023 color of the year, PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta. It’s a perfect mix — strong, with a soft punch of color. I think Pantone describes Viva Magenta best: “Assertive, but not aggressive, it is a carmine red that does not boldly dominate but instead takes a ‘fist in a velvet glove’ approach.”

If you’ve read my take on previous choices for color of the year, you’ll know I am not one to shy away from sharing my feelings. But this year, I think they got it right.

A color that is considered “powerful and empowering,” Viva Magenta goes in the opposite direction from Pantone’s recent color choices that were meant to soothe, calm or uplift — all of which made sense at the time given our dramatically changing world since 2020.

However, now that we all have a few years of the pandemic under our belts, and with a recession on the horizon, Viva Magenta represents “reassurance, confidence and connection in a world trying to get back on its feet,” says Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute.

I think we could all use something powerful and empowering in our lives right now.

Viva Magenta in Marketing and Design

Magenta is an adventurous and memorable color, and it should encourage people to experiment. It can be used in modest doses while still exuding confidence.

I would love to see designers use this shade to complement any neutral color palette with a burst of enthusiasm. I think this would look beautiful when paired with a plum or deep violet color, or even neutral and earthy tones. Consider pairing it with grays, blues, pinks and even greens.

You can use magenta to infuse your marketing with energy, even when working with understated brand colors, by taking a subtle yet intentional approach: For example, photographers, cinematographers, art directors and set designers can add Viva Magenta into sets, wardrobes and frames, from the potted flowers on the front porch to the jewel nestled into the talent’s throat.

Viva Magenta asks, “Why not?” It should inspire us all to try new things, and that’s an especially important message for the marketing and design communities. It can be easy to fall into routines or the same old way of doing things. At times, we all forget to go out and push the boundaries, get inspired or think about our world from a different perspective.

The Pantone Color of the Year for 2023 captures the aspirations of driven, creative professionals, and Pantone sums up this ideal perfectly:

“It is an animated red that revels in pure joy, encouraging experimentation and self-expression without restraint, an electrifying and a boundless shade that is manifesting as a stand-out statement.”

Viva Magenta and Home Design

When it comes to using this bold and beautiful shade in the home, the possibilities are endless.

It is a surefire way to add a burst of energy to the walls of a living room or dining room, or wherever the home could use a conversation-starting wall color.

It’s also a great color for accessories, such as decorative pillows, lampshades or tabletop accents. Viva Magenta is a sophisticated and vibrant color that doesn’t require any contrast to be seen. If you’re looking for other colors to complement it, I would pair it with its neighbors on the color wheel: red, orange, purple or periwinkle blue.

As a shade that is “rooted in nature,” this color is a lesson in harmony, drawing on both warm and cool tones that are perfect for biophilic design. This dynamic and lively hue can be found in abundance in the natural world. Viva Magenta is a great statement color that still follows the principles of biophilic design, reducing stress levels and promoting a peaceful state, better moods and overall well-being.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to add magenta flowers, such as roses, hollyhocks and chrysanthemums, in a vase for that finishing touch.

Why do I love Viva Magenta? It speaks to the core of my creative self. Let’s make 2023 the year we revel in pure joy, express ourselves without restraint and create stellar work that acts as a stand-out statement.

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