The '2023 Pantone Color of the Year' was officially announced recently: it is Viva Magenta 18-1750, a colour that packs a very powerful punch. Vivid, sensual, and joyous – Viva Magenta ‘vibrates with vim and vigour’. This exuberant and playful red colour has already been used by top brands like Instagram and Baskin Robins. The year ahead should see a lot more of it.
Viva Magenta, as per Pantone, is brave and fearless. It is a pulsating colour whose exuberance promotes a joyous and optimistic celebration. Pantone uses ‘verve for life’, ‘rebellious spirit’, ‘audacious’ and ‘full of wit’ to describe its choice for 2023 – which it also says is ‘pure joy’, ‘encouraging experimentation and self expression without restraint’.
Very Peri (17-3938) - a dynamic periwinkle blue hue with a vivifying violet red undertone blends the faithfulness and constancy of blue with the energy and excitement of red was Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2022. Very Peri was described by Pantone as a colour whose courageous presence encouraged personal inventiveness and creativity. After the lockdowns of 2020, Pantone chose two colours, Ultimate Gray and the Sunny Yellow Illuminating, to represent quiet reassurance and resilience in the face of difficult circumstances, as well as optimism for the future. Very Peri in 2022 symbolised the changes the world was experiencing as it looked to move beyond the isolation and uncertainty of the pandemic.
Shutterstock’s view for the current year is a bit different, “Everything about 2023 is about breaking the design rules. This means colors are being paired unexpectedly. Experimental palettes are especially being seen on the runway with neons paired with their bright and unlikely partners. Bright rainbow palettes and bold hues are what this trend is all about. Unusual pairings can include green with orange and purple with black. It’s all about defying what makes sense. Use colors you wouldn’t normally pair together to create something new”.
The 2022 Shutterstock Color Trends Report showed a more muted, minimalist and soft approach compared to previous years. Shutterstock itself admitted, “No flashy standouts, no neon highlights, nothing artificial — just simplicity and subtle elegance. Serenity is the key in 2022 when it comes to selecting colors”. Calming Coral (#E9967A) - A faintly fading peach, like a heavy filter over a beautiful sunset was No. 1 in 2022. A color that evoked a rustic, toned-down shade depicting health and happiness topped the list. Velvet Violet (#800080) - A vibrant shade of purple with pink undertones, reminiscent of the lasting luxury and elegance of the royal orchid came second last year. Pacific Pink (#DB7093) - a cotton candy pink representing a perfect mix of vitality and tranquility clocked in at No. 3.
Wild Wonder is Dulux’s choice for Colour of the Year 2023. What is it? A positive glowing tone, inspired by the natural world. I am not sure I fully understand what that means though.
Asian Paints’ Colour of the Year, announced last week is Silver Escapade. It, says Asian, is characterised by time travel and technology, child craft, wellness, and auspicious beginnings. The colour is the underpin to the Mumbai Urban Art Festival (MUAF) underway at Sassoon Dock these days. Paint majors like Kansai Nerolac, Berger and others do not seem to put out their top colour choice of the year.
It was in 2000 that the Pantone Color Institute created the Pantone Color of the Year as a trendsetting concept for branding, marketing and creative society as a whole. The Pantone Color Institute studies color trends throughout the year in order to decide on the next Pantone Color of the Year. They take into consideration all aspects of society: fashion, marketing, social media and even politics. The hue chosen as Color of the Year has become increasingly influential in the vast world of design and brand marketing. It wasn’t however until 2007 that the color trend forecasting took on a life of its own. Nowadays, when a new color is announced, Pantone offers color lovers an array of inspirational products and color combination palettes designed especially with the corresponding color in mind. Hundreds of brands take on the task of designing products with the Color of the Year. This reinforces the importance of how the Pantone color trend forecast is important and influential.
Today many more entities announce their own choice of the Colour of the Year.
Spray paint global brand, Krylon selected Spanish Moss, a deep forest green as its No. 1 for 2023. "This midnight green has a strong connection with the richness of nature, dense forests, and mossy terrains. Rooted in the renewing power of green, it can balance with both warm and cool accents," the company explained.
Another paint major, Benjamin Moore's pick for 2023 Color of the Year is a vibrant red-orange called Raspberry Blush. The company elaborates saying, “People are ready to bring color back into the home, taking a step outside their color comfort zones - Raspberry Blush 2008-30 delivers delight and personality while transforming rooms for incredible results."
Dunn-Edwards, who have been in the paints business since 1925, have named Terra Rosa that blends brown and burgundy for a rosy pink, grounding neutral and a delicate accent as best for 2023.“We’re putting health and wellbeing first, making time for escapism and embracing nostalgia ... This translates to design through lush, sophisticated touches with equal parts prettiness and drama”, emphasizes the company.
A blend of blush and beige, Redend Point is the Colour of the Year choice by Sherwin-Williams. It features subtle pink undertones to warm up walls. The grounding shade feels especially on trend as homeowners turn toward earth tones to bring comfort and joy to their interior spaces.
Canyon Ridge, is tops on Colour of the Year for Walmart. It is an orange-meets-pink paint color that acts as a near-neutral when applied to walls. The trendy spin on terra-cotta couples well with bright blue, its opposite on the color wheel.
Blank Canvas is Behr's pick for 2023. It is a creamy shade of white that goes with practically everything. The warm neutral stands out from the icy modern hues popularly endorsed in the past by the paint company.
Vining Ivy blends blue and green for a tranquil backdrop and is the Colour of the Year 2023 from Glidden Paint As a colour it is energizing yet grounding, and it works in literally any space. Pair the blue-green jewel tone with wood finishes, stone accents, and rich textures for a room that borrows from the outdoors advises the company.
I find it intriguing that leading cosmetics companies like L’Oreal don’t declare a Colour of the Year every year. They do provide broad guidance on say the Top 7 Hair Colours for the Year but they fall short of picking, and announcing a favourite mostimes. It did favour Holographic as the Hair Colour of the Year 2020 but has subsequently shied from naming a No. 1.
What about designers? Especially the likes of Sabhyasachi. Well, he did make a statement once on a shade of red called Calcutta Rouge saying, “Every few years, I work with my colour analysts and dyers to formulate a new shade of red. This year I had a specific vision. I commissioned the Sabyasachi Art Foundation, we worked together to create a new shade of intense red. Our inspiration was the ubiquitous Bengal Hibiscus. Deep, saturated, vivid & matte its vibrance unfolds best under sunny blue skies. We call it Calcutta Rouge.”
The author is executive director, Everest Advertising.