Viva la Viva Magenta: Pantone’s 2023 Color of the Year

Cherry chapstick, red wine, a deep purple crayon, hibiscus flowers, and red onions each embody Viva Magenta, the 2023 Pantone color of the year. Which is, according to their website, “an unconventional color for an unconventional time… a signal of strength, inclusivity and self-expression.” 

Since 1962, Pantone (a company entirely dedicated to color marketing) has become a major influence on fashion, interior decorating trends, the wedding industry, and really anyone and everyone paying attention to color fads. In many ways, the decision of the annual color sets the “color-palette stage” for the year. 

In 2015, Fashion Magazine, West Elm, and Beyonce’s Vogue issue featured the 2015 color Marsala. The following year, InStyle, Elle, and Essie Nail Polish showcased Pantone's new colors of the year Rose Quartz and Serenity. In 2018, Pantone’s Ultra Violet appeared on fashion runways, Seventeen Magazine, and even on the cover of The Black Panther movie. More recently, the 2022 Pantone color of the year Very Peri partnered with Microsoft and the fashion brand Monochrome. While collaborations for the 2023 Pantone color of the year are to be determined, their website offers an array of small ticket items to buy—almost like souvenirs. 

So, why is Viva Magenta “unconventional” and how does it represent strength, inclusivity, and self-expression?

Well, it doesn’t. But Pantone does one hell of a job convincing us it does. It starts with strategic marketing with a need for a bit of suspension of disbelief from the audience. 

The Pantone color of the year is something we are meant to consume, just like a daily horoscope or a new health fad. We, as the consumer, are meant to believe that this color means strength, inclusivity, and self-expression because Pantone’s Color Institute experts say so, and while these words may seem arbitrary—they are not. The experts use a highly intricate trend analysis and selection process to determine the best fit for consumers each year. 

If we think about it, strength, inclusivity, and self-expression are buzzwords in our current-day context… and the Pantone color experts know that. Colors are such a vital part of humanity; people are attracted to them and most of us seem to love a good trend. Pantone combines these concepts to convince society what colors matter and even when they matter. Really, it's a brilliant marketing tactic.

And honestly, I’m convinced. Come 2023, you can find me wearing magenta hues and maybe even embodying a bit of strength, inclusivity, and self-expression while I’m at it—just like a red onion, hibiscus flower, or a dark shade of cherry chapstick.

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