By John Kell
May 5, 2017

Crayola is giving kids and adults a new blue crayon to color with. But it needs a name.

On Friday, the crayon maker officially unveiled the new blue hue it would add to the company’s slate of crayons, after it generated major headlines in late March when the Pennsylvania-based company said it would boot Dandelion from the 24-count crayon box. What’s replacing it? YInMn Blue.

Sound unfamiliar? It is a relatively new shade of blue—only discovered in 2009 by chemist Mas Subramanian and his team at Oregon State University. The color is so new that it doesn’t even have an official marketed name—so Crayola says it is taking suggestions from fans to name the new color, which will start to appear in Crayola products late this year ahead of the holiday shopping season.

“We strive to keep our color palette innovative and on-trend, which is why we’re excited to introduce a new blue crayon color inspired by the YInMn pigment,” said Smith Holland, CEO and President of Crayola, in a statement.

Crayola’s newest crayon color took inspiration from a new shade of blue that was discovered by an Oregon State University chemist in 2009.
Photo by Patrick Shuck

YInMn Blue will be the inspiration for the fifth shade of blue crayons in the company’s 24-count box, which is Crayola’s top selling item. The others are: blue, blue green, indigo, and cerulean. Fortune sister publication Time recently asked Internet voters to pick the color they would have liked to have seen added to the box and they elected a shade called electric blue. It is far lighter than the color that Crayola ultimately went with.

In total, the company now has 19 active blues across all items it sells, including aquamarine, cadet blue, denim, and periwinkle.

The new shade of blue is a mix of three chemical elements—Yttrium, Indium and Manganese—which is why it is called YInMn Blue. It was discovered accidentally by mixing different chemicals at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Purportedly, the structure of this blue allows it to retain its hue and stability in outdoor weather, making it superior to say, cobalt blue.

The chemist who discovered it, Subramanian, received a patent for the pigment in the spring of 2012. Because it is deemed a ‘cool pigment’ that can reduce cooling costs and energy consumption, YInMn Blue almost certainly has potential to be used in various commercialization efforts. As such, Shepherd Color Co. licensed the patent for those exact purposes.

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