When Crayola announced the retirement of Dandelion from its 24-count box in March, we were left with one burning question: Which color would replace it?

Crayola kept mum and let the suspense build. Now the wait is finally over. It just announced that a bright new shade of blue will be joining the other 23 crayons.

A bold move, as the 24-count box already contains blue, blue green, blue violet, and cerulean, a blueish-cyan hybrid. Is yet another blue really necessary?

But this isn't just any blue. It's YInMn Blue. If that sounds inspired by the periodic table of elements, that's because it is. This pigment is a combination of the elements yttrium and indium and manganese oxides, which compound manganese and oxygen. And it's not just a new crayon color. Until a few years ago, this color simply did not exist. YInMn Blue came to being as many great inventions do: entirely by accident.

Oregon State University chemist Mas Subramanian accidentally created the YInMn pigment in his lab in 2009. The professor of materials science was mixing chemical samples with students. After removing one mixture from the furnace, grad student Andrew E. Smith was pleasantly surprised to see that its pigment had morphed into a bright blue hue.

The two had stumbled onto a new color. This was the first new blue the world had seen in 200 years, NPR reports. That made it perfect for Crayola prime time.

Crayola has been gathering data about their customers' favorite colors through polls and surveys, the company said in a press release. Blue kept winning over all the other colors. So it made sense to add another shade of blue its standard 24-count box.

There's just one last critical step before this new blue gets an invitation to join the other blues. It needs a name. Because YInMn Blue simple won't do. Crayola is inviting the public to submit ideas for names over the next month. A panel of Crayola judges will cull the submissions down to the top five, then invite everyone to vote on their favorite. The yet-to-be-named YInMn Blue crayon will be joining the 24-count box later this year.

And if you're feeling blue that Dandelion is on its way out? Crayola is selling a giant two-pound Dandelion crayon and a 64-count box filled entirely with Dandelion crayons to commemorate the color's retirement.

Published on: May 8, 2017
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