Crayola’s Miraculous New Superblue Crayon Officially Has a Name—And It Will Blue Your Mind
The artists' supplies brand unveils the name of its newest hue and sets the Guinness World Record for largest crayon in the process.
The newest addition to crayon boxes everywhere is Bluetiful. The color, inspired by YInMn Blue, the new blue pigment accidentally discovered in 2009 by chemist Mas Subramanian and his team at Oregon State University (OSU), was christened by Crayola at a colorful press conference in New York City on Thursday morning.
“Because our company is all about creativity and innovation… introducing a new shade based on this pigment just seemed like a natural next step,” Melanie Boulden, senior vice president of marketing at Crayola, told artnet News at the unveiling.
The name Bluetiful beat out four other finalists—Dreams Come Blue, Blue Moon Bliss, Reach for the Stars, and Star Spangled Blue—chosen by the company from over 90,000 unique submissions. Each choice “captured the spirit, the essence, color, and innovation of this new-to-the-world color,” said Boulden.
“Bluetiful was the clear winner,” added Crayola CEO Smith Holland. Over two months of voting, the name took in about 40 percent of roughly 400,000 ballots. In June, Subramanian said that his team was hoping for a name referencing the pigment’s Oregon origins (OSU nicknamed it Mas Blue, a play on his name and the Spanish word for more).
But on Thursday, the chemist said he was happy with the voting results. “I love the name and that was my first choice,” he told artnet News in an email. “Bluetiful is a fitting name for our amazing blue.”
YInMn Blue is a superheated mixture of the elements Yttrium, Indium, and Manganese, serendipitously created during experiments in electronics research. Immediately, Subramanian knew the lab had stumbled upon something special.
Throughout the ages, blue pigments have been notoriously unstable, and subject to fading. YInMn Blue, which is remarkably vibrant and durable, is the first new blue pigment to be discovered since cobalt blue in 1802. By chance, OSU had made history.
In 2015, Subramanian signed a licensing agreement with the Shepherd Color Company, making YInMn Blue commercially available for the first time. The new blue had arrived.
As the world’s most popular color, blue was a no-brainer for Crayola as the company considered replacement options for outgoing crayon Dandelion. A Crayola staple since its introduction in 1990, the bright yellow shade was retired earlier this year, with an announcement made, appropriately enough, on March 31, National Crayon Day.
The company learned of Subramanian’s discovery in 2016 after the story went viral. (artnet News was the first news outlet to cover the story.) They realized that the inspiring story of YInMn Blue was a perfect fit for the brand—this despite the three extant blue options in Crayola’s standard 24 pack. (The company now produces a grand total of 19 different shades of blue.)
Translating the pigment to a crayon was a complicated process. “Our scientists did a totally kid-safe version that mimics the color of YInMn Blue,” said Holland. “They’ve been able to replicate it using crayon ingredients.”
The Bluetiful unveiling also saw Crayola set a new Guinness World Record for the world’s largest crayon, with Guinness adjudicator Hannah Ortman on hand to authenticate. The massive Bluetiful crayon weighed 1,352 pounds—breaking the existing record of 731 pounds—and measured 15.6 feet in length.
“Today is all about making a big, bold, blue statement,” explained Boulden ahead of the demonstration, which proved that the massive crayon drew just as well as a normal-sized one, by rubbing a piece of paper on the tip of the large stylus.
The record-breaking art supply will go on permanent display at the Crayola Experience in Orlando, Florida. When it isn’t engineering behemoth wax pens, Crayola, based in Easton, Pennsylvania, produces some three billion crayons a year.
Bluetiful is the first new color in the Crayola palette since 2008. If the new crayon were human, according to Crayola, she’d be a girl who likes coding and video games and is “a big advocate for arts-infused STEAM education, especially for inspired girls like me!” The shade will be available in crayon sets nationwide beginning in January but will roll out early November exclusively at Walmart.
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