Discover why Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2023 is Unconventional

In a cultural moment shaped by countless challenges, Pantone’s color of the year for 2023 is a bold shade of red that speaks to the strength and vitality needed to forge a more positive future. PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta, a vibrant and nuanced shade of crimson red, is a study in contrasts. The color’s origins are grounded in nature, drawing on warm and cool tones. It has an electrifying hue found in both the physical and virtual spheres. It speaks to the diversity of our contemporary world.

Now in its 23rd year of selecting the annual color, The Pantone Institute considered the onslaught of challenges people have faced recently, like the COVID-19 pandemic, and how they have shaped perspective, values, and attitudes in finding a color for 2023.

“We chose this color because it was an unconventional shade for an unconventional time. Something that could present us with a new vision,” Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the institute, tells TIME. Viva Magenta, Eiseman notes, communicates power. But in an assertive, not aggressive way. “It’s a color that vibrates with vim and vigor. It demonstrates a new signal of strength, which we all need for a more optimistic future.”

Eiseman, who described Viva Magenta as an “animated red, pulsating with movement,” points to nature as one of the main inspirations for the Pantone color selection this year. Namely, the cochineal dyes derived from insects used since as early as the second century BC. To imbue rich red hues on fabrics and paper with the increasing influence of technology in our contemporary world. It is strongly reflected in the touchscreen-inspired shade of last year’s color of the year, the vibrant periwinkle blue. Very Peri has a reminder of the primordial world with a shade like Viva Magenta is a chance to revisit, honor, and reconnect with history while imagining a brighter future.

“We’re hoping that the symbolism in this color will create a dynamic world that encourages experimentation,” Eiseman says. “One that leverages the virtual within the physical realm and emboldens our spirit to explore groundbreaking possibilities.”