Every year the Pantone Colour Institute announce a colour of the year to engage colour enthusiasts and design communities all over the world. As an avid lover of colour, with a keen interest in brand, design and behavioural colour psychology, I’m fascinated to understand why Pantone chose ‘Viva Magenta’ for colour of the year 2023.
Described by Pantone as an ‘unconventional shade for an unconventional time’… ‘a pulsating red shade whose exuberance promotes optimism and joy’, I get a real sense it’s putting a full stop on what’s gone before and is opening a channel to a new path of positivity. And quite frankly, after the last few years, who isn’t seeking a magical period of time fuelled by good vibes. Viva Magenta certainly does stand out in a crowd as a bold, fearless, and brave colour designed to capture our imagination.
Pantone talks about Viva Magenta as a colour that ‘straddles the physical and virtual world, evocative of our multi-dimensional world’. #magentaverse – a play on the metaverse. At present, the world we live in does increasingly span both the real and virtual, which can be challenging at times. And whilst I have a virtual presence online on social channels, my preference is for real – real people, real situations, real conversations, real colour.
Viva Magenta in action
Colour has the power to change our state, elicit new or different behaviours, and drive action. From a psychological perspective, red affects us physically and will always trigger a physical response. It relates to strength, courage, rebellion and says ‘Look at me’. Red is often considered a powerful colour that not only makes us feel empowered, but can also stimulate and help us tap into a new level of stamina to complete a task, or ready us to be that little bit stronger when required. A bit like caffeine, red is powerful and gives us a real boost of energy. I liken this to what happens to me when I drink a can of coke or enjoy a freshly brewed americano – it’s like I’ve been given a new lease of life, a superpower strength.
Do you see Viva Magenta is a shade of pink? Pink is typically understood to be nurturing and caring, particularly when you think about baby or dusty soft pink. In contrast, strong cool pinks like Magenta are very red are physically stimulating. For me, Viva Magenta comes across as quite feisty, full of fight and personality. It’s likely to be a colour that will call and connect with people who have a rebellious spirit.
Pantone express Viva Magenta as…
“Powerful and empowering, an animated red that encourages experimentation and self-expression without restraint; an electrifying, boundaryless shade that is manifestly ‘out there’ as is a stand-out statement”
“A nuanced crimson red that presents a balance between warm and cool. A hybrid colour that comfortably straddles the physical and virtual, evocative of our multi-dimensional world”
“A transformative red tone capable of driving design to create a more positive future”
Colour in nature
When it comes to colour, I believe that everything stems from nature. Just as Viva Magenta originates from a natural dye, it’s easy to see that nature provides us with a natural colour palette. It also provides us with shape, texture, form and context.
If you’re looking for inspiration, a great starting point is to go for a walk into a forest or garden. Look around and observe what you see, really become aware of the colours and textures all around you. And as the year goes on, bathe in the seasons and ‘feel’ into the one that resonates with you most, become aware of how all the colours harmonise with each other, a colour palette will appear before your eyes.
However you choose to embrace and weave Viva Magenta into your life this year, may it empower you, draw out your assertive side, and encourage you to be a little bit more audacious, every day.
Header image by Pexels.