Viva Magenta: Pantone’s COTY 2023 evokes strength and empowerment

Written by:
Laura Connelly


Viva Magenta on Grey Mist

The highly anticipated Colour of the Year for 2023 has been announced by Pantone as Viva Magenta - a nuanced crimson red tone that presents a balance between warm and cool.

It is described as a “hybrid colour”, and one that is “brave and fearless - a pulsating colour whose exuberance promotes optimism and joy. Powerful and empowering, it is an animated red that encourages experimentation and self-expression without restraint; an electrifying, boundaryless shade that is manifestly “out there” and is a stand-out statement.

“Audacious, witty and inclusive of all, PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta welcomes anyone and everyone with the same rebellious spirit.”

Shades of red were spotted in abundance at this year’s Milan Design Week, with many designers opting for bold tomato tones. But with 2023’s COTY, Pantone has brought through the vivaciousness of pink, which gives it a more futuristic feel. This was, of course, by no accident.

“A nuanced crimson red tone that presents a balance between warm and cool, PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta is also a hybrid colour, 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. Exuding dynamism, PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta is a transformative red tone capable of driving design to create a more positive future.”

Here at Smile Plastics, we’re also no stranger to the vivid allure of magenta. Its bold and vibrant appeal features in some of our best-loved materials – such as Spectra, where it provides bright – almost illuminating - flashes and flecks.

Spectra in application for Ed Boaden's Bathroom and Kaleido @angelas_of_margate
Spectra in application for Ed Boaden's Bathroom and Kaleido @angelas_of_margate

After a turbulent couple of years, Viva Magenta seeks to give back a sense of control. It is confident in its aesthetic, but not overpowering. Rather aiming to instil confidence – empowering its user.

“As virtual worlds become a more prominent part of our daily lives, we look to draw inspiration from nature and what is real,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute. “PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta descends from the red family, and is inspired by the red of cochineal, one of the most precious dyes belonging to the natural dye family as well as one of the strongest and brightest the world has known. Rooted in the primordial, PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta reconnects us to original matter. Invoking the forces of nature, it galvanizes our spirit, helping us to build our inner strength.”

LOBE Berlin by Plural Studios
LOBE Berlin by Plural Studios

LOBE uses crimson for the private dining table, combined with a Grey Mist serving plater, complemented by the neutral palette of Alba in the main hall.

To mark the launch, Pantone worked with its longtime creative partner Huge, to engage in a design experiment that explores the relationship— the tensions—between new technology and human creativity. Working with the AI generative tool Midjourney, the team created the visual manifestation of PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta by incorporating the messages and ideas embodied by the colour to curate an immersive world that examines the connections between nature and technology. The key visual—a bold and brave statement that amplifies the fearless yet natural elements of PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta, designed with the help of artificial intelligence—serves as an invitation into an optimistic and endless new ecosystem to be explored, called “the Magentaverse.”

Image courtesy of Pantone / Credit: Huge
Image courtesy of Pantone / Credit: Huge

Building on this experiment, Pantone and Huge collaborated with ARTECHOUSE the leader in innovative, technology-driven experiential art, which through its creative studio designed a custom immersive experience that allows the public to explore “the Magentaverse” first-hand. The exhibition opens to the public on 3 December 2022, as part of Art Basel Miami Beach.

Are you a fan of Viva Magenta? Let us know your thoughts!