A Blue You Won’t See in a Box of Crayons
A few weeks ago one of our authors, poet Denny Palmer, sent us (Cave Art Press) a poem he’d written, entitled “You May Wonder Where the Yellow Went.” It was inspired by Crayola’s removal, on March 31, 2017, of the “dandelion” color from its venerable crayon boxes. Back in 1903 there were only eight colors: red, yellow, blue, brown, orange, green, violet (purple) and black. By 2013, the company had created dozens more and had even sold a 152-set pack with two notables: “Piggy Pink” and “Blue Bell.”
In the company’s long history, colors have been retired and replaced with trendier names. Some that have passed over the “rainbow” (pun intended) are lemon yellow, violet blue, thistle, mulberry, maize, raw umber, magic mint, blue green, orange yellow, orange red, and red orange. I always believed these last two were poor name choices. Perhaps the color creators sat around a conference table and debated which one had more orange than red. Unable to agree, they simply reversed the color names and left the user to decide. I’m happy they are gone, because I always thought red orange should be more red than orange, and that orange red should be more orange than red. But that didn’t seem to be the case always.
I tend to like the color names that look good on me. So I won’t miss the color mulberry, raw umber, brown, or red violet.
I think Crayola should consider grouping colors, such as this spicy set: parsley (bright green), sage (soft grey-green), rosemary (smoky green), and thyme (dusty green).
Now let’s consider the most popular color—blue. Over the years there has been: maximum blue, middle blue, robin’s egg blue, wild blue yonder, teal blue, cobalt blue, light blue, celestial blue, turquoise blue, indigo, midnight blue, Navy blue, denim, sky blue, cornflower, cerulean, Pacific blue, and for God’s sake, Blue (1), Blue (11), Blue (111). Try to imagine those last three. Most, I’m sure were selected because of a popular tend. But I always liked the bright, basic blue—vivid, cheerful, and unmistakably just blue. But because of a current in-your-face ad campaign, I can no longer stand the color, which I now call Viagra Blue.