"I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious." ⁓ Albert Einstein
Thus spoke one of the greatest minds of humanity — who upon following his driving force — changed reality as we know it.
2022’s Pantone Color of the Year was Veri Peri, a blend of calming blue and creative violet. It spoke of personal and worldwide transformation after a season of isolation — by regaining our courage in the face of altered possibilities.
This year the journey continues. With its vibrant hue, Viva Magenta enlivens our spirits further. It awakens us to our inner strength, coupled with daring to rediscover what drives us to live and not just to exist. It is self-expression beyond old boundaries. It is experimentation fueled by an ardor for transcendence. As 2023’s color, it symbolizes mankind’s exuberance.
Gladiators in the arena proclaimed, “We who are about to die, salute you!”
Let us answer, “We who have survived, will strive!”
The Origins of Magenta
Did you know that magenta does not actually exist? Although our minds perceive it, it has no wavelength on the visible light spectrum. It is the pigment — or should I say figment — that our brain creates to make sense of that empty space between red and purple. Humans only possess 3 photoreceptors — for red, blue, and green. All the other colors we ‘see’ are blends created by our brains from averages of these. This is why color perception varies from person to person. Our neural pathways can carry tiny but distinct differences.
Magenta as a concrete and tangible pigment is unsurprisingly man-made. It was born from a failed process to produce quinine, conducted by William Henry Perkin in 1856. Upon cleaning his test tubes, he discovered a purplish residue and realized it was the kind of dye he had been aiming for in earlier experiments. He patented his discovery as mauve. It won favor with Queen Victoria and Empress Eugenie, inspiring others to create their own versions of this synthetic dye.
In 1859, two discoveries followed suit. French chemist Francois-Emmanuel Verguin produced a similar dye which he patented as fuschine, so named after the flower of the fuschia plant. British chemists Chambers Nicholson and George Maule likewise formulated their own version named roseine.
Magenta acquired its present-day name from the sociopolitical issues rippling through Europe in the 1800s. The allied Italians and French fought against the Austrians for independence. It was a bloody yet victorious battle waged near the town of Magenta in Lombardy, Italy on June 4, 1859. In honor of this conquest, fuchsine became magenta — likewise the color of the uniforms worn by the French troops. It became a political statement, and inspired the minds of liberals across Europe. After which, products using the dye increased in popularity.
The Meanings of Magenta
Historically, this color reflects experimentation, discovery, and inspiration.
Nowadays, color psychology attributes the following to this purplish, pinkish color —
It represents emotional balance.
In between passionate red and introspective violet, it encourages us to align our emotions with our values and enhance clarity through self-awareness.
It inspires compassion and cooperation.
The fiery nature of red is tempered by the solemn quiet of violet, thus bringing about a feeling of harmony with the merging of these intense colors.
It empowers femininity.
It is non-conformist by virtue of its vibrancy. Although it has pink elements that are traditionally ascribed to a more feminine aspect, its intensity evokes a free-spirited exuberance. It can be seen as flamboyant on one hand, or trailblazing on the other. Why not both?
Given this color’s cultural history and current symbolism, we would like to recommend these to include in your journey this year —
With its timeless design and user-friendly ergonomics, the LAMY Safari fountain pen is one of the most popular writing instruments worldwide. The distinctive recessed grip guarantees writing comfort. It is well-known for its sturdy plastic body, robust metal clip, and chromium-plated steel nib.
This is a new, regular edition by Leonardo in a vibrant explosion of color. Turned from solid bars with refined colorways, it is produced in Italy and is available in two different trims — silver or ruthenium. The elegant central band has a geometric diamond design bordered by 2 thin rings. The new "La Fenice" steel nibs are produced by Jowo from Germany.
This pen is made of precious resin enhanced by a special process. Each one is engraved individually using a method otherwise reserved for jewelry or silver accessories. The barrel is then hand-lacquered and repeatedly polished. The result is a unique and most interesting surface texture. No two writing implements are identical — each is an individual example of the craftsman’s art.
This brand of inks has a long and rich history, dating back to 1864. Produced in the UK, it is made with a gentle formula safe for fountain pens. It has since then become one of the most popular and sought-after brands around.
Inspired by the rich scenery and culture of Australia, Robert Oster inks are available in a stunning selection of vibrant and contemplative colors. Made with a commitment to environmental friendliness, all Robert Oster inks are non-toxic, 100% made in Australia, and bottled in PET plastic bottles from the country's first carbon-neutral plastics plant.
"Manyo" is an abbreviation of "Manyoshu" and its meaning indicates people of all ranks. Manyoshu is often regarded in Japan as a true expression of the Japanese spirit. The themes of the poems relate to love, elegies, celebrations, family matters, traveling, the four seasons, and nature. Flowers are especially relevant in Japanese culture and about 1,500 of the poems in Manyoshu cover some 160 species of plants and 50 different flowers. For the Manyo ink collection, Sailor has chosen colors based on flowers mentioned in Manyoshu in celebration of the Japanese spirit.
Up and Coming Magentas
This year, EndlessPens has collaborated with two creative manufacturers to produce a fountain pen and ink pairing to usher in the vivacious spirit of Viva Magenta!
First is the New Year, New Hue! 2023 fountain pen, in a spirited blend of pinks and purples. This artistic embodiment of magenta’s symbolism is made in partnership with Tailored Pen Company.
Second is a delightful iteration of this year’s Pantone color likewise named New Year, New Hue! 2023, and concocted in cooperation with Robert Oster Signature Inks. Its base color is magenta with a twist in honor of this color’s purple undertones — jewel-like purple shimmer!
Keep your eyes peeled for these harbingers of 2023’s lively and adventurous spirit. How exciting!
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Written by @lekzumali
Check out her musings on Instagram!