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Viva Magenta! What to know about Pantone’s 2023 Color of the Year in marketing

By January 3, 2023No Comments

It’s deep. It’s rich. It’s … not purple. It’s Viva Magenta, Pantone’s 2023 Color of the Year.

Is it in your brand palette? Should it be?

Before jumping on the trend wagon, it is essential to consider whether the fashionable 18-1750 aligns with your company’s vision, voice, and values.

At first blush, it’s a tricky hue for healthcare; magenta overlays tend to have a very negative overtone as they connote concepts such as “blood,” “danger,” and “warning.”

If your goal is to evoke feelings of calm and peace, you’d probably be better off going with Veri Peri, Pantone’s 2022 color, even though it’s so last year.

That said, I encourage you not to base your brand decisions on what’s on fleek or whatever the kids say these days.

Get your coffee cups, keychains, and other timely monochromatic bobbles ready. It’s time to dive into shallow waters and apply a marketing design best practices lens to how Viva Magenta or any trendy color should be regarded.

What Pantone says

There is a good reason this grand unveiling hits the news cycle at the end of every year. People care, including me. Any conversation generated around color trends and how designers can take a single color and incorporate it into unique design samples is great.

Pantone’s case for selection and the reverence it commands goes as follows (h/t TIME):

“We chose this color because we felt that it was an unconventional shade for an unconventional time, something that could present us with a new vision,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. Viva Magenta, Eiseman noted, communicates power — but in an assertive, not aggressive way. “It’s a color that really vibrates with vim and vigor, that demonstrates a new signal of strength, which is something we all need for a more optimistic future.”

That’s an inspiring pitch, right? Here is a caveat, however: color palette best practices vary wildly depending on the industry (see above). What may signify power and strength in some circles very well could lean toward dread or panic in others. Know your audience.

And remember: Pantone’s yearly announcement is a marketing vehicle, plain and simple. Of course, that doesn’t mean it should be disregarded, but bear in mind that half of their ceremony included presentations from their Lenovo and Motorola partners. And if you really want that Viva Magenta coffee mug, you can get it here.

Color plays a significant role in all kinds of design and how your brand is expressed. The key is to leverage colors sensibly. Designers should take inspiration from how Pantone takes a single color and incorporates it into their beautiful and inspiring visuals. It shows how versatile a single color can be in the design world and used in a way that stands the test of time.

What to glean

Color science is a thing. While the success or failure of color combinations can be very subjective, there is a lot of science behind how colors interact and work together. There are even people who have a Ph.D. in Color Science!

While most of us occupy less rarefied air, it is uber cool that academia sees a need and desire to contribute to knowledge creation and practical application of color science. Wrong color choices can be detrimental to how a design piece is perceived (whether it be printed, web-based, fashion, product-oriented, or even architectural). Again, there might not be a true gospel, but there are certain combinations that conventional wisdom tells us we should shun.

My hope is that designers do not take this ceremony as an invitation to use magenta in all of their 2023 design pieces for two reasons:

  1. It may not be brand appropriate.
  2. No one wants to see the whole world draped in magenta.

Please also consider that much to the Pantone director’s declaration, trends tend to encapsulate a specific time history. Make sure you don’t strap yourself onto one that will age your design prematurely. I’m looking at you, 1970s Harvest Gold and Avocado Green!

Ready for a conversation about bringing your brand’s color palette to life with graphic design? Whether you’re rebranding or devising a go-to-market strategy for your healthcare, life science, biotech, or pharmaceutical business, our healthcare marketing agency would love to hear from you!

Casey Frushour

Author Casey Frushour

Casey is Senior Director of Creative Services for Clarity Quest where he puts his love of puzzles and challenges to the test every day bringing ideas and brands to life in award-winning designs. To learn more about Casey's experiences and qualifications, visit our leadership team page.

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