Consumers are gravitating towards positive feeds and social circles, showing resilience, innovation, and joy in the face of continued hardship. A joyconomy is in motion this year, with brands offering bold color pallets, positive channels for connectivity, uninhibited play for all ages, and exercise classes that elevate moods and heart rates in one celebratory leap.
Jan 20, 2023
Joy and play are setting the tone for 2023.
The Pantone Color Institute is projecting a year of boldness and joy. The Pantone Color of the Year 2023, Viva Magenta, is a bold, energetic hue that the company describes as “an unconventional shade for an unconventional time.” Against the current global climate of looming recessions, environmental uncertainty, and surging inflation rates, the color encourages brightness and hope by channeling inner strength. “It’s brave, it’s fearless, it depicts optimism and joy,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “It is a color that is audacious, full of wit and inclusive for all.”
American paint manufacturer Benjamin Moore echoes a similar sentiment with its Raspberry Blush Color of the Year 2023. “As much as we love the muted softer colors, we felt ready to do something a little bolder,” Andrea Magno, director of color marketing and development at Benjamin Moore, told Architectural Digest. “It has a very happy quality to it,” Magno says. “I think we need some happy.”
App designers are formulating new platforms to foster positivity. The number one free download in the app store for several weeks in 2022, Gas is the ultimate compliment app. Users are asked multiple-choice questions that are positive and oriented to compliment their classmates and peers. Aimed at teens, the app requires users to designate their school and distributes compliments across its platform while motivating users to continue to compliment others, fostering a positive and cooperative app environment.
“We see social media getting smaller, more intimate. People are moving towards these networks with like-minded shared interests, backgrounds, or identity,” Christopher Gulczynski, cofounder and CEO of Niche, tells Wunderman Thompson Intelligence. The future of social media, according to Niche cofounder and CTO Zaven Nahapetyan, is a place where “people have options, control, and power in their social interactions online the way they do in person. People don’t see the stuff they don’t want to see; they’re able to connect to people that help them with what they enjoy spending time with.”
Brands are encouraging playfulness and joy for consumers of all ages. McDonald’s introduced Happy Meals for adults in October 2022, serving up a toy with popular menu items. “Everyone remembers their first Happy Meal as a kid ... and the can’t-sit-still feeling as you dug in to see what was inside,” the company says. “And now, we’re reimagining that experience in a whole new way—this time, for adults.”
Canadian cannabis company Houseplant released new packaging in April 2022 that takes inspiration from Lego blocks. The colorful boxes, made for building and connecting as the popular toys are, inject a dose of playfulness into its product experience. “We wanted to leverage Houseplant’s playful identity and design into something that could be collected and reused over time,” Javier Arizu, cofounder of Pràctica design studio, a collaborator on the redesign, told Dezeen.
Consumers are embracing physical activity for more than the physical workout. Psychologist Kelly McGonial unpacked what she calls the “joy workout” for the New York Times: a series of exercises made up of different exercises intentionally selected to make people happy. “The Joy Workout is just one way to lift your spirits through movement,” she wrote, indicative of a new wave of intention to move for happiness, rather than fitness.
Fitness tracking brand Fitbit is now monitoring stress through its wearables, pivoting each wearer’s attention to their mental health. The Sense 2, released in August, includes a new “Body Response” tracker that monitors heartbeat, skin temperature, and sweat levels throughout the day. When a shift in these temperature norms occurs, the Sense 2 flashes a notification on its screen to check in with the wearer, prompting them to reflect on their mindset and situation.
Brands are meeting consumers with uplift and positivity this year, prioritizing joy, community, and jubilance within their social spaces.
Main image courtesy of Artechouse.