Crayola turns OSU discovery into new crayon

Crayola's new crayon color will be based on a blue pigment discovered in 2009

Oregon State University Professor Mas Subramanian holds a jar with YinMn blue, which he discovered in 2009 but is now a Crayola color, May 5, 2017 (KOIN)
Oregon State University Professor Mas Subramanian holds a jar with YinMn blue, which he discovered in 2009 but is now a Crayola color, May 5, 2017 (KOIN)

CORVALLIS, Ore. (KOIN) — On a campus known for orange, it’s the color blue that is making a mark for Oregon State University.

Oregon State University Professor Mas Subramanian, May 5, 2017 (KOIN)
Oregon State University Professor Mas Subramanian, May 5, 2017 (KOIN)

Scientists at Oregon State University accidentally discovered the brilliant blue hue when they were experimenting with materials that could be used in electronics.

“No, we were not looking for any color,” said OSU professor Mas Subramanian, laughing. “We were looking for a material that can be used in electronics. In the end we ended up creating this color, which we did not expect at all.”

Not only is it vivid, the pigment has other applications as well. There are plans to use it in paint to help keep your house or car cool, since it can deflect heat.

In a model with a heat lamp, the YInMn blue stays 10 degrees cooler than a standard blue.

Name the new blue Crayola color

Crayola said Friday that it’s partnering on the new crayon with Oregon State and The Shepherd Color Company, which licenses the pigment known as YInMn (yihn-mihn) blue.

“If you asked me when I discovered it in 2009 of how far it’s going to go, I don’t have any idea that it would come this far,” Subramanian said. “It’s an excitement I can’t explain. It’s amazing.”

Josh Kroo, the Crayola director of marketing, told KOIN 6 News the company is “always trying to stay at the forefront of color innovation, so when we saw this break on social media and people started talking about it, when you actually see the color — it’s super vibrant — we said this is the perfect opportunity for us to deliver a great creative experience to kids in a crayon.”

YInMn blue from the Oregon State University website.

The crayon maker recently retired the color dandelion but has 19 different shades of blue. Kroo said the OSU Blue “really fits nicely between denim and indigo for us.”

He added this new color will be in every size pack Crayola makes from 24 through 120 crayons. “It will be everywhere.”

Crayola is leaving it to fans to come up with a name for the replacement crayon, which will make its debut later this year. Crayola likes fun names for their colors.

“If you think of Crayola’s best names, it’s Macaroni or Tickle Me Pink,” Kroo said.

Professor Subramanian is also tickled pink with how his blue turned out — and he has his own suggestion for Crayola’s name.

“I really like a name like Oregon Blue because it was discovered in Oregon.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

A jar with YinMn blue, discovered in 2009 at Oregon State University and is now a Crayola color, May 5, 2017 (KOIN)
A jar with YinMn blue, discovered in 2009 at Oregon State University and is now a Crayola color, May 5, 2017 (KOIN)