With each passing year, it seems Pantone’s announcement of its Color of the Year is met with more and more fanfare, and 2023 is no exception. For this year’s announcement, which was live-streamed from Art Basel Miami, Pantone unveiled Color of the Year collabs with Motorola, Lenovo, Hydrow, sneaker brand Cariuma, artist-driven home decor retailer Spoonflower and more, along with an immersive art exhibit at Artechouse in Miami.
So, what’s the color that has caused such a ruckus? Drumroll, please…
Pantone’s 2023 Color of the Year is Viva Magenta, a.k.a. Pantone 18-1750. Pantone labels the color as “an unconventional shade for an unconventional time.” The color was chosen because of its hybrid nature, as the trendsetting brand describes it as a “nuanced crimson red tone that presents a balance between warm and cool.”
That dual nature also applies to Viva Magenta’s applications, as Pantone touts the shade's ability to go between worlds. That’s not an exaggeration either, as Pantone notes “Viva Magenta is also a hybrid color, one that comfortably straddles the physical and virtual, evocative of our multi-dimensional world. Assertive but not aggressive, it is a carmine red that does not boldly dominate but instead takes a ‘fist in a velvet glove’ approach.”
Is all of this hoopla a bit silly for a color? Some would certainly say so. Just look at what paint brand Backdrop did earlier this year. As a response to the arbitrariness of every paint brand unveiling their own wildly different takes on the “color of the year,” the brand created a tongue-in-cheek Official National Color Committee to award their aptly-named Color of the Year shade as the true color for 2023.
But at this point, it’s pretty clear that Pantone’s Color of the Year isn’t really just about the color. Sure, 2023’s shade is pretty, but no one is going to storm out of your house in January if they aren’t greeted with Viva Magenta walls as soon as they walk in the door. The color is meant to drive the conversation on future trends, to spark collaborations with brands and — if you want to be cynical — to make a lot of money for Pantone.
If you're a fan of Viva Magenta and want to explore it more, you can do so both virtually and physically. On the virtual side, Pantone has created the #magentaverse, a multimedia art installation that explores the relationship between nature and technology through the use of color. On the physical side, you can buy curtains, wallpaper, blankets, sneakers, a phone or even a Hydrow rowing machine coated in Viva Magenta.
Now that Pantone has spoken, you're going to start seeing this color in all sorts of places, so you'd better get used to it. Viva la revolución! Viva Magenta!