Viva Magenta: A Hue with Deep Historical Connections

Trends in col­or are con­stant­ly evolv­ing and these changes can tell us a lot about our­selves and our place in the world. By now, you’ve like­ly seen Pantone’s Col­or of the Year Viva Magen­ta across the market. 

Pantone's 2023 Color of the Year : Viva Magenta has historical connections.

Unlike more recent trend­ing col­ors, Viva Magen­ta is a hue with his­tor­i­cal roots. It holds a deep con­nec­tion to Latin Amer­i­can nature and a tiny cochineal insect on nopales. It’s a bold col­or and when used cor­rect­ly, it can be a pow­er­ful tool in your brand­ing and mar­ket­ing tool­box. Addi­tion­al­ly, by under­stand­ing the his­to­ry of Viva Magen­ta and its mean­ing, we can bet­ter nav­i­gate an ever-shift­ing mar­ket­ing land­scape and get a sense of how trends might shift in the future. 

Viva Magenta: A Hue with Deep Historical Connections

How Viva Magenta Influences Our Emotions

Unlike most reds, Viva Magen­ta is a sub­tle crim­son red that doesn’t dom­i­nate its envi­ron­ment. And while the name might make you think of the brighter magen­tas we know, Viva Magen­ta has a dif­fer­ent twist. It’s a shade root­ed in nature but also con­nect­ed to vir­tu­al expe­ri­ences. Here are some of the feel­ings that Viva Magen­ta can evoke:

  • Enthu­si­as­tic
  • Ani­mat­ed
  • Inclu­sive
  • Wel­com­ing
  • Rebel­lious spirit
  • Wit­ty
  • Fear­less
  • Brave
  • Assertive
  • Dynam­ic

Brands have used the psy­chol­o­gy behind col­ors for years as they under­stand how spe­cif­ic hues are linked with cer­tain emo­tions. Our emo­tions can influ­ence the per­cep­tion of a brand, increase recog­ni­tion and even sway our pur­chas­ing habits. From its his­tor­i­cal ori­gins to our mod­ern dig­i­tal expe­ri­ences like the Magen­ta­verse, Viva Magen­ta com­pels us for­ward to a time when we seek deep­er pur­pose, fear­less­ness, and positivity.

The Origins and Ancient Connections

In an age of con­sumerism and fast-paced cap­i­tal­ism, we often over­look the mean­ing and con­nec­tions behind col­ors like Viva Magen­ta. Rush­ing through col­or psy­chol­o­gy could make us miss the deep his­tor­i­cal roots that a hue may hold. And when we over­look this vital piece of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, we can dis­en­gage with some of our customers.

Did you know Viva Magenta traces its roots back to Indigenous communities?

In the 16th cen­tu­ry, kings, roy­al­ty, and oth­er elite saw red as a sym­bol of pow­er due to its scarci­ty. And it was also revered with­in the Roman mil­i­tary and a cov­et­ed pig­ment for roy­al painters. Back then, no carmine dye retained its inten­si­ty until La Gran Cochinil­la was discovered.

Deep in Cen­tral Amer­i­ca, the Aztec emper­or, Moctezu­ma received bags of cochinil­las as trib­ute from Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties. Cochinil­las, also known as the cochineal par­a­sitic insect, pro­duced the most vibrant and long-last­ing carmine dye the world had seen. 

Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties dis­cov­ered this dye as they noticed a par­a­sitic insect pro­duce a white pow­der on their nopales (prick­ly pear). As the female cochinil­las feed on the nopales, their bod­ies turn sug­ars into carminic acid, cre­at­ing the dye. It takes 70,000 cochinil­las to make 1 pound of dye. The bril­liance and resource­ful­ness of Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties turned the use of dye into tra­di­tion­al tex­tiles, scrip­tures and pottery.

Pantone's 2023 Color of the Year : Viva Magenta has historical connections.

When the Span­ish con­quis­ta­dores arrived, they were mes­mer­ized by this dye and focused on heavy expor­ta­tion of it. The cochillia dye became the sec­ond-high­est export from Mex­i­co under the con­trol of the Span­ish court.

Viva Magen­ta is much more than just a col­or — it has deep his­tor­i­cal roots in Latin Amer­i­can nature, with the cochineal insect found on nopales. The sto­ry behind Viva Magen­ta also reminds us of how Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties were resource­ful and cre­at­ed vibrant dyes from the tini­est insects. When look­ing at col­or trends, we must rec­og­nize our his­to­ry to tru­ly under­stand where our soci­ety is headed.

Viva Magenta in Marketing and Branding

Viva Magen­ta does more than cap­ture atten­tion. With its strik­ing vibran­cy, it exudes con­fi­dence and encour­ages self-belief. Using Viva Magen­ta heav­i­ly depends on your brand needs and how you con­nect with your audi­ence. Since Viva Magen­ta is such a ver­sa­tile shade, its appli­ca­tions offer you more possibilities.

Areas you might see Viva Magen­ta in:

  • Fash­ion industry
  • Home & interiors
  • Beau­ty
  • Elec­tron­ics & Tech
Pantone's 2023 Color of the Year : Viva Magenta has historical connections.

How­ev­er, it does­n’t mean you can’t get cre­ative and push indus­try bound­aries of col­or usage when it makes sense. Let’s say you have an eco-tourism com­pa­ny. Instead of using the com­mon blues, greens, and yel­lows for their brand­ing, you could incor­po­rate Viva Magen­ta to reflect our need to con­nect to nature.

Pantone's 2023 Color of the Year : Viva Magenta has historical connections.

Or you can use Viva Magen­ta in dig­i­tal spaces such as aug­ment­ed and vir­tu­al real­i­ty to build unimag­in­able worlds that fuel our creativity.

Pantone's 2023 Color of the Year : Viva Magenta has historical connections.

Best Practices for Using Viva Magenta 

As you pair this hue with oth­er col­ors, you’ll want to reflect on how that oth­er col­or can influ­ence and shift the mean­ing of what you want to con­vey. Our rela­tion to col­or is always influ­enced by emo­tion — whether it’s at a sub­con­scious or con­scious lev­el. With­out under­stand­ing the mean­ing, choos­ing col­ors isn’t some­thing you should leave to an eye-drop­per tool or let­ting AI generate.

Here are some things to consider when using Viva Magenta:

  • If you change the tint (adding white) or shade (adding black) the col­or changes and so does the mean­ing. A deep­er shade could feel more organ­ic, while a lighter shade could feel more mut­ed and vintage.

  • Your col­or com­bi­na­tions can dras­ti­cal­ly change the mean­ing. Always con­sid­er what the oth­er col­ors mean when pair­ing these together.

  • Con­sumers in the food indus­try may be weary of Viva Magen­ta as some can con­sid­er foods with carmine dyes to be non-vegan.

  • When using Viva Magen­ta with text, make sure you have enough con­trast for acces­si­bil­i­ty pur­pos­es. You can quick­ly check using a free tool such as

Want to learn more about how you can strate­gi­cal­ly lever­age Viva Magen­ta? Watch our pop­u­lar LinkedIn Course: Col­or Trends. And learn all about the col­or trends for 2023. 

Viva Magen­ta is a cap­ti­vat­ing and dynam­ic col­or that can evoke many emo­tions, from enthu­si­as­tic and inclu­sive to brave and assertive. It’s root­ed in nature but also con­nect­ed with vir­tu­al expe­ri­ences. Its his­tor­i­cal con­nec­tion to the cochineal insect found on nopales across Latin Amer­i­ca adds an extra lay­er of depth for brands look­ing to engage cus­tomers at a deep­er lev­el. Whether you’re mar­ket­ing fash­ion prod­ucts or build­ing aug­ment­ed real­i­ties, Viva Magen­ta offers cre­ativ­i­ty and ver­sa­til­i­ty when used thought­ful­ly. When con­sid­er­ing how best to use this hue for your brand’s pur­pos­es, always con­sid­er its rela­tion­ship with oth­er col­ors as well as acces­si­bil­i­ty needs so con­sumers will be able to inter­act with it effec­tive­ly. With these tips in mind, we hope you find cre­ative ways to incor­po­rate Viva Magen­ta into your branding!

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