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The Newest Blue Crayon Is 200 Years in the Making

...And Crayola wants your help naming it.

Nathaniel Ainley

Nathaniel Ainley

Image courtesy of Oregon State University

Thanks to Crayola, the brazen glow of the first new blue pigment created in the last 200 years will soon be in the hands of art makers everywhere. The new blue, temporarily labeled "YInMn," will be making its international debut as a crayon in Crayola's new box set slated to be released later this year. The art supplier announced the new crayon last month at The Colorful World of Pigments panel on color theory and invited the public to participate in a naming competition that lets people submit potential name ideas for the new color. The new shade of blue is slated to replace the "Dandelion" color from Crayola's staple 24-color box set. After 27 years of service, the company is literally throwing a retirement tour in celebration of the color. We can only hope that the new Vantablack finds its way into the next big Crayola box set.

When the company first began in 1885, Crayola left naming the colors to a panel of color experts associated with the company. That changed in 1992 with the release of their first, 96-crayon Big Box, their largest to date, which featured 16 new unnamed colors. In naming their new blue, Crayola will select five finalists from their open submission pool and let the public pick a winner on July 1st. The final pick will be then announced in September. In a statement regarding the contest, Crayola's senior vice president of marketing, Melanie Boulden said, "Fans in North America have told us through previous polls and surveys that blue is their favorite color. Now, not only will they have a new blue color to fall in love with, but also the opportunity to be a part of Crayola history by naming it."

YInMn itself was cooked up by accident in 2009 after a team of Oregon State University chemists set out to study the electronic properties of manganese oxide, but instead developed a whole new pigment. According to Hyperallergic, the University reached an exclusive licensing agreement for the color with the Shepherd Color Company, who eventually partnered with Crayola to launch the first commercial product of the color. Now, it's your chance to make hue history by helping to name the newest member of the Crayola family.

Learn more about the competition, here.

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