A brilliant blue color, discovered accidentally by Oregon State University chemists, will soon be the newest addition to Crayola’s box.
The crayon color, inspired by the blue pigment known as “YInMn” blue," is the replacement for the recently retired Dandelion crayon. The vibrant blue was discovered by Oregon State University chemists who were heating up chemicals in hopes of finding new materials that could be used in electronics. In what the university calls a "serendipitous discovery," one of the chemical mixes came out of the furnace a striking blue. The "YInMn” moniker comes from the elements that comprise it: yttrium, indium, manganese and oxygen.
“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.
The crayon company told fans in March that the new color would be in the blue family, but offered few details on the actual color. Vadaketh said Crayola chose a color in the blue family because previous North American consumer polling showed “the color blue time and again has been American’s favorite color.”
Mas Subramanian, an Oregon State University (OSU) chemist, discovered the color with his then-grad student. He said that chemists in many ways have a lot in common with the children who will soon use the "YInMn” blue-inspired crayon.
“Curiosity starts at a young age, as chemists we are curious just like kids,” he said. “I can understand the excitement of adding a new crayon color to the box, like adding a new element to the periodic table,” Subramanian said.
In 2009, Subramanian and Andrew E. Smith, the then-grad student, discovered the new blue after Smith took a mix of chemicals out of the furnace and noticed its vibrant shade.
Vadaketh said Crayola partnered with OSU and Shepherd Color Company to launch a new Crayola color inspired by the YinMn pigment.
Crayon fans will have the opportunity to name the new color by submitting name suggestions through Crayola’s website from May 5 to June 2. On July 1, Crayola will announce five of the top color names for the new blue, and allow people to vote through August.
The company will announce the fan-selected color name winner and six grand prize winners in early September 2017.