Just when you thought Crayola had every color in the universe covered, the company is about to debut a whole new hue. And it’s something most have never seen before. The “new to the world” blue was recently discovered by a chemist and will be introduced as a crayon in late 2017 through early 2018, the company announced Friday.
Scientist Mas Subramanian didn’t mean to invent the shade in 2009. “It was serendipity, actually; a happy, accidental discovery,” he said at the time. Subramanian and his team at Oregon State University were experimenting with new materials that could be used in electronics. The group mixed manganese oxide with yttrium and indium and then heated the chemicals in a furnace to nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. One of the samples resulted in something surprising yet cool: a blue pigment that’s already made its way to market in plastics, paints, and other materials.
While Subramanian named the shade YInMn, that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. So before Crayola releases the new crayon, the company is hosting a contest and inviting fans to submit name ideas for the new hue.
If you think the competition will be stiff in this color-naming contest, well, you’re probably right. Not only are the prize incentives attractive (and who doesn’t want bragging rights like that?), but Crayola has revealed that numerous polls and research prove that blue is the favorite color of people in North America (the only place where contestants are eligible).
As Melanie Boulden, senior vice president of U.S. and global marketing at Crayola, said in a press release, “Now, not only will [North Americans] have a new blue color to fall in love with, but also the opportunity to be a part of Crayola history by naming it.” Some current and clever Crayola color names you have to compete with: Fuzzy Wuzzy, Razzmatazz, Outer Space, and Purple Mountains’ Majesty. Your idea could be next!
So why did Crayola decide it was so important to debut a new blue? Well, for starters, the company needed a replacement for its recently retired Dandelion color. But beyond that, the color was simply the right fit for the brand. “We are a company all about kids, creativity, and color, so we strive to keep our color palette innovative and on-trend, which is why we’re excited to introduce a new blue crayon color inspired by the YInMn pigment,” said Smith Holland, CEO and president of Crayola, in a statement. “The new blue crayon color will help Crayola to continue to inspire kids and kids at heart, to create everything imaginable.”
Subramanian, who discovered YInMn Blue and is the Milton Harris Chair of Material Science at Oregon State University, is honored to have his hue affiliated with Crayola in the launch. “It’s truly an honor that our YInMn Blue pigment has inspired one of the most beloved instruments for creativity — a Crayola crayon,” he said. “We could not imagine a better partner than Crayola, a brand synonymous with color and creativity, to help us share this discovery with the world.”
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