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Crayola kinda blue it with name of newest crayon color

Commentary: Really? Bluetiful? It's enough to make you long for the days of Burnt Sienna and Raw Umber.


Crayola, you kinda blue it.

The vaunted crayon-maker announced the new name for its newest crayon on Thursday, and it's a blit of a blunder. Meet Bluetiful, the latest addition to the Crayola classic box of 24.

The new crayon has an interesting history: It was based on a special blue pigment discovered in 2009 by scientists at Oregon State University -- the first new blue pigment found in 200 years.  And it replaces the Dandelion crayon, which made that dude a little, um, blue.

But the pigment was called "YInMn" (pronounced yin-min), which comes from a mashup of the names of its elements: yttrium, indium and manganese oxides. And no self-respecting kid crayon artist is going to say, "Pass the YlnMn, I've gotta color some sky." So Crayola held a contest, and Bluetiful won out in a 90,000 submission race. Other nominees included Dreams Come Blue, Blue Moon Bliss, Reach for the Stars and Star Spangled Blue.

The problem with Bluetiful is it's just too cute, too aware of its pun. Crayon colors didn't used to be like that. Burnt Sienna. Raw Umber. Cornflower. These were not crayon names that wanted you to snicker at them or pat them on their little pointed crayon heads. They didn't care to be thought of as cute. They had jobs to do, dammit. Oceans to cross, blueberries to color, labels to be peeled off and shredded during boring kindergarten moments.

But Bluetiful joins a long line of modern Crayola crayons with look-at-me names, like Mango Tango, Macaroni and Cheese, Tickle Me Pink and Jazzberry Jam. You can just picture the marketing manager selling them in meetings to people who haven't used crayons in decades. "Jazzberry, get it? Like raspberry, only ... jazzier! I'll pick up my bonus check on Friday!"

Star Spangled Blue was a nice suggestion -- those Fourth of July flags ain't gonna color themselves -- but might have limited appeal outside of the land of the "Star-Spangled Banner." Blue Moon would've been acceptable if they'd sawed off the Bliss -- that just went one cute-level too far.

That said, I really like the new color itself, as shown in two coloring pages offered by Crayola. In the wrapper, it's like a meld between aqua and turquoise, and comes out on the page like a soft lilac. If I were a kid, I'd probably use it all the time. I might even call it "beautiful." Just not "Bluetiful."


The new color, Bluetiful, was based on a recently discovered pigment.


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