Pantone’s Color of the Year 2023, officially called Viva Magenta 18-1750, is expected to shape design in all kinds of ways in the coming year.
Viva Magenta is a bold color. describes it as a sexy reddish-purplish-pink midway between red and blue on the color wheel.”] Pantone calls it “an unconventional shade for an unconventional time.”
Viva Magenta has already brought 2022 to an unconventional end for two Southern California designers.
Virginia Odien of Riverside and Jeanetta Gonzales of Culver City were among a group of six designers chosen by Spoonflower, an on-demand printing service, to create Viva Magenta patterns for Pantone and attend the color’s reveal on Dec. 1 in Miami.
“It was extremely exciting to walk around a corner and see my design on the wall,” said Gonzales.
When Pantone chooses its color of the year, the company may be looking at it for a long time.
“If you’re in the industry or you know about color or publishing, you probably know what Pantone is. But if you’re not, you’re like, what is that?” said Odien.
Founded in 1963,New Jersey-based Pantone maintains a standardized color-matching system used by artists, designers and industries worldwide to ensure that their creations come out looking the way they want them to. The Color of the Year began is selected by the Pantone Color Institute, a consulting service within the company.
Selection is done in secret by “representatives from various nations’ color standards groups,” according to Pantone’s website.
Based in Durham, N.C., Spoonflower was one of several partners Pantone included in a huge, immersive presentation called “Magentaverse” that opened in Miami following the reveal.
Spoonflower sells limited-batch wallpaper, fabrics and home décor. Its stated goal is to connect independent artists with consumers. Founded in 2008, it features thousands of designers and 1 million designs on its website.
head of brand marketing.”]
This is Pantone’s first collaboration with Spoonflower, according to Sarah Ward, head of brand marketing, but it makes sense for the established company to partner with a disrupter.
”How else do you get a color in real time to market as fast as you can except through an on-demand platform?”
When the opportunity arose, Spoonflower had a two-week turnaround to get its display together, Ward said.
The company reached out to some of its trusted designers, who signed nondisclosure agreement.
Few people within Spoonflower were privy to information about Pantone’s color, according to Ward. “We had this covert-operation feel internally.”
“It was very hard not to say anything about it,” Gonzales said. “I was so excited on the inside, and I couldn’t tell anybody about it. It was a tough assignment.”
Designers were given four colors to work with without being told which one was the color of the year and do a version of their design with each color standing out.
The three other colors were described by Odien as light blue, pink and beige-yellow. Compared with the bolder magenta, it wasn’t hard to predict the winner.
“I thought, this has got to be the color of the year. But I had to treat all the colors as equally important to the project,” she said.
Odien is a self-trained artist who taught herself how to do repeat design when she joined Spoonflower in 2008. She mostly uses Adobe Illustrator or other computer programs in her work but occasionally sketches a design on paper.”]
She described coming up with her Pantone designs as a strenuous exercise in a short period of time, about three days.
“Trying to make a pale color stand out when you’ve got a vibrant magenta was challenging.”
Gonzales had a similar experience. She describes herself on her website as an artist’s coach and illustrator as well as a graphic designer. Her work illustrated a 2020 New York Times story about baseball.
“The color of the year was the one that spoke to me the most,” she said. “When I saw it I was thinking, ‘It’s probably going to be this color. It stands out the most.’ And it was really fun to work with.”
She didn’t find it easy to work with all four colors at once.
“The quiet ones worked together really nicely, and the bold one paired with them individually. They all together did not work. It was a little tricky finding the right combination.”
Gonzales said she saw the film “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” shortly before receiving the challenge and drew inspiration from the film in creating the design, “Breaking Boundaries,” which was eventually displayed in the reveal.
Call to courage
Miami was a hotbed of creativity on Dec. 1. Art Basel, an international art show, began its three-day run on that date, bringing in artists, trendsetters and partygoers from throughout the world. Pantone took over a venue called Artechouse Miami, less than a mile from the Atlantic Ocean, for its reveal.”]
of Sydney, Australia, did not make it.”]
In her opening remarks Elley Cheng, Pantone’s vice president and general manager, said that people were forced to express themselves digitally during the novel coronavirus pandemic and now are ready to rejoin the real world.
“The color of the year this year is a call to courage,” she said. “It is an invitation for us to experiment and to share. This color merges the warmth of the natural world with the endless rich possibility of the digital space.”
It remains to be seen whether Viva Magenta will open up the fashion world in 2023, but it seems to have had that effect on Odien.
“I had such a fun, exciting time doing the challenge,” Odien said. “It was fantastic for me. My husband died of brain cancer a few years ago, and that was difficult for me. And then right after that the pandemic came up. So basically for two years I was dealing with being isolated. So for me this was like, ‘Oh yay! I get to go out and see people.’ The whole thing was fantastic, all of it.”
Ward said it was fun to see Odien’s reaction when she saw her work in the Magentaverse.
“She literally did a dance, and she had the biggest smile on her face.”
Culver City, design, “Breaking Boundaries.” spoonflower.com/profiles/jeanetta_gonzales
Brittany Jepsen: Provo, Utah, “Floret,” spoonflower.com/profiles/thehousethatlarsbuilt
Elishka Jepson: Tuscon, Ariz., “Science of Color,” spoonflower.com/profiles/robyriker
Cecilia Mok: Sydney, Australia, “Ecology,” spoonflower.com/profiles/ceciliamok
Virginia Odien: Riverside, “Avian: Bold Birds,” spoonflower.com/profiles/vo_aka_virginiao
Judy Quintero: Miami, “Wonderful World,” spoonflower.com/profiles/shopcabin