By School & Library Art Director Laura Rinne
A few months back, Crayola made headlines with the news that they were retiring the crayon color Dandelion, and a colleague of mine marveled at how much attention this seemingly minor decision was receiving. After all, products come and go all the time. So why was retiring a crayon color provoking such an outpouring?
It caught my attention because Lerner had just embarked on a partnership with Crayola to create colorful nonfiction books. I was having a blast reconnecting with crayons, coloring, and the act of creating with Crayola colors for one of our upcoming series, Crayola ® Seasons.
Crayons + Book Design
To help design the books, I used a brand-new set of 120 Crayola crayons, and the first thing I did was organize them by color and see if my old favorites were still a part of the set. It pleased me to see many of them were: Melon, Midnight Blue, Periwinkle, Spring Green, Mahogany, and Orchid.
And of course, I was charmed by all the “new” colors (new to me that is!). Macaroni and Cheese, Jazzberry Jam, and Fuzzy Wuzzy became new favorites as I created crayon-inspired frames that would be part of the design for Crayola® Fall Colors.
Saying Goodbye to Dandelion
So that’s what I told my colleague that day. The reason for the poems, articles, and commentary about a Crayola color retiring isn’t just about a company making a decision about a product. It’s about saying goodbye to a companion and partner in creativity.
For those of us who have spent hours lost in coloring, that feeling of meeting an old childhood friend comes back to you as soon as you crack open that Crayola box. We all have our favorites and we all know their names like they are members of our family. “Where’s the Sky Blue? I need some Salmon for this part. Sea Green would be perfect here.”
Recently, I made a visit to my childhood home and I looked through an old box of memorabilia. I was delighted to find my trusty 48-pack of Crayola crayons with my name written on the box. I opened the lid and found my favorites there, worn down, well-used, and perfect in every way.