Yep, I missed the December 1 announcement of Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2023 — Viva Magenta 18-1750! Are you not delighted? Excited? Thrilled beyond words? (about the announcement, not my missing it)
I realize color is Pantone’s business. It’s what they do. And their employees are paid to produce and promote COLOR. But year after year the breathless suspense, the overwrought descriptions of a glorious color that will promote world peace, end hunger and global warming, make all things irresistable — whew! All the press coverage (now including yours truly, I suppose) gets more than a little ridiculous.
This year’s description:
Pantone’s Color of the Year, Viva Magenta 18-1750, vibrates with vim and vigor. It is a shade rooted in nature descending from the red family and expressive of a new signal of strength. Viva Magenta is brave and fearless, and a pulsating color whose exuberance promotes a joyous and optimistic celebration, writing a new narrative.
This year’s Color of the Year is powerful and empowering. It is a new animated red that revels in pure joy, encouraging experimentation and self-expression without restraint, an electrifying, and a boundaryless shade that is manifesting as a stand-out statement. PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta welcomes anyone and everyone with the same verve for life and rebellious spirit. It is a color that is audacious, full of wit and inclusive of all.
But that prose wasn’t purple enough, so the executive director carried on:
“In this age of technology, we look to draw inspiration from nature and what is real. 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, PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta galvanizes our spirit, helping us to build our inner strength.”Leatrice Eiseman
Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute
Viva Magenta. If the name doesn’t get your attention, perhaps the hype will: “Welcome to the Magentaverse!” Seriously? That cluttered opening illustration repels as much it attracts. I don’t know what it’s supposed to convey but it reminds me of scaley alien skin (to go with the face?) or maybe, here in the American west, our drying lake beds.
On my computer screen it doesn’t look like the magenta I recall, the “M” of CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) that I knew thoughout my career in print media. The New York Times came closer to “my” magenta with this illustration:
The magenta I think of, the “M” in CMYK, looks like this, from “Everything about the color Magenta”:
By comparison, Pantone’s website displays the color chip below. I trust you can see the difference, even if computer screen colors can vary slightly. Pantone’s magenta reminds me of tomato soup.