Earlier this year, Crayola announced it will remove the bright yellow hue Dandelion from its crayon boxes and replace it with a new color. The company said that a member of the blue family will take Dandelion's spot but provided no further details.
The pigment was accidentally discovered in 2009 at a chemistry lab in Oregon State University.
Mas Subramanian, a materials science professor, was working with his students to produce new materials that can be potentially used for electronics.
The group was mixing and grinding chemicals and heating them to more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit when Andrew Smith, a grad student, took out a mix out of the furnace and discovered that it has turned into a bright blue color. The previously undiscovered pigment became the first new blue in more than 200 years.
The name YInMn is derived from yttrium, indium, and manganese oxides, elements that comprise the pigment. Researchers said that the new pigment is so durable and its compound so stable in both oil and water, it does not fade. Its characteristics also make it versatile for use in a range of commercial products. When used in paints, the pigment may help keep buildings cool as it reflects infrared light.
"The more we discover about the pigment, the more interesting it gets," said Subramanian. "We already knew it had advantages of being more durable, safe, and fairly easy to produce. Now it also appears to be a new candidate for energy efficiency."
Color With No Name
Although Crayola's new color is just inspired by YInMn, Crayola's director of content, PR, and social marketing Karen Waters said that the company plans to experiment different possibilities once regulatory approval for the pigment is completed. The pigment cannot yet be added to materials and paints yet.
"When we knew that we would be retiring one of our colors from our broad color palette we also wanted to insure that the new color that we brought into our color spectrum was fresh, inspiring and most important innovative," Waters said. "With all of the attention drawn to the pigment that Mas and his team discovered, there was no better team to reach out to."
The new addition to Crayola's 24-count box still has no name but Crayola welcomes suggestions. The company is accepting submissions about what the new hue should be named until June 2. The top names will be announced on July 1, after which voting will begin. The new name will be revealed on September but the new color won't be available until late this year.
"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. "The new blue crayon color will help Crayola to continue to inspire kids and kids at heart, to create everything imaginable."