Crayola is about to popularize the new blue by making it into a crayon.
It’s difficult to come by new colors these days, as the Earth’s naturally-occurring colors have been thoroughly researched and new ones created in scientific settings are dwindling in occurrence. In a small victory that will soon be celebrated the world over, chemists at Oregon State University discovered a new pigment of blue in 2009 that they called YInMn Blue. Though this isn’t the cutest name you’ve ever heard for a color, don’t worry, Crayola has got us covered.
The last shade of blue to be discovered and named was Cobalt Blue back in 1802. That means it’s been over 200 years since North Americans’ favorite color has seen any new additions to the family. Cobalt blue was discovered by French chemist Louis Jacques Thenard, but has since only been known as a color rather than a contributing member to science. Since cobalt has been found to be toxic when inhaled or ingested, its use in science has been limited and almost non-existent, though it is still used as a coloring agent for fashion items.
Crayola picked up the color recently and is now making it popular after recently retiring its Dandelion shade and announcing its intention to add YInMn blue to its box. Mas Subramanian, the chemist that discovered the new shade of blue alongside his then-grad student, has remarked on the similarities between Crayola and chemists.
“Curiosity starts at a young age, as chemists we are curious just like kids,” Subramanian said. “I can understand the excitement of adding a new crayon color to the box, like adding a new element to the periodic table.”
The shade is currently up on Crayola, who at first mysteriously announced their intention to release a new blue several months ago, and you can even submit a name for the new color up until June 2. The company will be opting for a darker shade of the pigment, which can be seen by visiting their website and looking at the spectrum. The color blue was chosen in general to replace the Dandelion color in their box because blue consistently is named as the favorite color for the majority of North Americans.
“With the discovery of YInMn brand new pigment, who other than Crayola would be best to bring it to life?” said Leena Vadaketh, Crayola’s VP of Research & Development, North America.
Shepherd Color Company, which licensed the color from Subramanian, is currently testing toxicity levels for the pigment in order to get FDA approval. Since the product will obviously be offered to children, the company needs to be absolutely certain that the chemical poses no risks to the users of the crayons. You can vote on the final name ideas this summer and it’s likely that the color will be released by the end of 2017. You can submit a name for the crayon and find more information here.