Why the Dandelion Crayon is No More

“Who are we going to color the sun with?” “Why would you do this? Wrong, wrong, wrong!” Those were some of the plaintive and angry tweets when Crayola announced that it was retiring the Dandelion crayon.

The dandelion crayon is the thirteenth colour to be retired by Crayola. The first eight were kicked to the curb in 1990.

Retired Colours New Colours
maize vivid tangerine
lemon yellow jungle green
blue gray cerulean
raw umber fuchsia
green blue dandelion
orange red teal blue
orange yellow royal purple
violet blue wild strawberry

The next four were retired in 2003, Crayola’s centennial.

Colors are the smiles of nature.

Leigh Hunt

Retired Colours New Colours
blizzard blue inchworm
magic mint mango tango
mulberry wild blue yonder
teal blue jazzberry jam

Burnt sienna was on the chopping block, but was saved through consumer votes.

Why Dandelion?

Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that dandelion was just made a replacement colour in 1990. So it is young to be retiring, having spent only 27 years in large sets of Crayolas and 18 years in the 24 pack.

Crayola doesn’t explain its decision, but offers a one minute tribute video.

Suggestions that the retirement of dandelion is a marketing ploy gain credence when the Crayola company is willing to sell us “team yellow” memorabilia,  such as a 2.5 lb. dandelion crayon for $25.00.

But my favourite explanation for the demise of dandelion comes from this wonderful article by Allan Ishac of Art + Marketing. Ishac quotes an anonymous Crayola executive as claiming that senior staffers at the White House strong armed Crayola to get rid of the colour after Trump’s grandchildren used it to draw unflattering portraits of him. assorted crayons in box

Read the article and then sample from the dozens of comments that Ishac received. What’s fascinating is that this article was labelled as satire, yet believed by so many to be the truth. This is an example of confirmation bias. A ridiculous story is believed to be true because it fits our pre-existing beliefs. Although in this case, perhaps the pre-existing beliefs are coming from a pattern of prior acts?

After the Dandelion Crayon

Crayola has announced that the replacement for dandelion will be a colour in the blue family. A naming contest won’t be held until May, but if you want to a bit of humorous inspiration, you can check out these Twitter suggestions.

So are you sad about the loss of dandelion? Given a choice, which colour would you have retired?

 

16 comments

  1. Although I mainly use pencil crayons for my adult colouring books, I cannot believe the number of different shades of yellow there are. There is plain yellow, chrome yellow, lemon yellow and even some different yellows that are not labelled. Of course you could make you own dandelion colour by shading and combining colours, which is fun to do.

    1. Hi Gerri,
      One of the complaints of people who are upset about the retired dandelion crayon is that there are far more blue shades and red shades in the crayon box than there are yellow shades. Apparently there’s a yellow green that is, not so affectionately referred to as ‘bile’ coloured.

  2. I noticed that teal blue was created in 1990 and then kicked to the curb in 2003…that is only 13 years. So, dandelion sticking around for 27 years is pretty decent. I have no illusions, Crayola needs to constantly change up their colors in order to sell more packs of crayons, as a marketing ploy and create a need in the marketplace for the newest color craze. Everyone just has to have the newest color and any remaining unsold packs containing the color being retired will be snapped up by those that dread seeing that color going onto the retired list. After all, you would want as many dandelion (in this case) crayons as possible before they discontinue making them if you liked the color that much or needed it for a specific art project.

    Geri is totally correct that you can achieve the same color by shading and combining colors – that is, after all, the nature of art, creating. LOL Fran, that would be an amazing use for the retirement tribute video. I would love to see that!

    1. I missed the teal blue retirement, Susan. Some of the people objecting to dandelion’s demise are claiming that a blue should have been ditched instead. Apparently cerulean and another blue are virtually indistinguishable, one from the other.

      1. I would have to agree with the sentiment about chopping one of the blues. The boxes do seem to favor one or two spectrums of colors more than others. I would like to see a more evenly spaced color wheel represented. I would definitely vote for almost identical colors to be sorted out and only one winner make it to the box.That is the whole idea of naming the colors, isn’t it, so you can choose a specific color?

  3. Me too, Donna. Me too! Did you see the clever comment on the Trump post where someone suggested that the colour be retained and just renamed – as Dandy Lyin.

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