Crayola - History, Backstory, and Staying Relevant

Goals

To understand the history of Crayola, how it decided to produce crayons, and a timeline of when it introduced new products. Additionally, to have one or two examples of partnerships and licensing that helped Crayola co-brand with other products. For example, movies, activities, online time, so they can to continue to stay relevant for each generation of children.

Early Findings

  • To see the history of Crayola via a visual timeline, please click here. Some quick insights are: 1885 - Edwin Binney and cousin, C. Harold Smith, begin the partnership of Binney & Smith in Peekskill, N.Y. Early products include red oxide pigments for painting red barns and carbon black for car tires. 1902 - listening to the needs of teachers, Binney & Smith makes the first dustless school chalk. It’s so successful it wins a gold medal at the St. Louis World Exposition. 1903 - Crayola Brand is Born. This link also details the timeline of when it introduced new products.
  • In 2010 - Crayola, teaming with partners UGI and PPL, opens phase one of a Solar Farm contained on 20 acres at the Crayola campus in Forks Township, PA. The 26,000 solar panels produce 1.5 Megawatts of electricity. Enough electricity to produce 1 billion crayons per year and reduce 3,800 tons of greenhouse gas per year. The equivalent of removing 650 cars from our highways/year or planting 800 acres of pine forests per year.
  • The color "Carmine" was unavailable from 1944 through 1948 due to supply shortages caused by World War II.
  • In essence, Crayola became such a hit because the company figured out a way to inexpensively combine paraffin wax with safe pigments, according to Welter. Colors in the early years drew from paints available from art suppliers at the time, and many of these shades have since dropped out of production.
  • In 1903, the company used 54 names for 38 separate colors. By the end of 1958, the company had created 138 names for 108 colors sold at any point in time. By 2015, it had bestowed 759 names upon 331 colors.
  • This source gives a very detailed year by year breakdown of when Crayola introduced new products.
  • Inspired by the 2009 discovery of the color, Crayola turned the newest shade of blue into a product roll out (to replace its yellow Dandelion) with much fanfare and a crowd sourced name: “Bluetiful.”
  • This link details Crayola's philanthropy.
  • Crayolas licensed initiatives in crafting and stationery often support internal core initiatives. In 2018, they launched Take Note, pens designed to help you do bullet journaling, supported by partner Pacon, a supplier to retailers like Michaels, among others.
  • Crayola has given its century-old product a contemporary relevance, most recently with Color Alive, which lets kids color cartoons, scan them, then watch as an app animates them.
  • Crayola Launched a 58-Piece Makeup Collection With 95 Colors, all vegan.
  • In 2012, Mattel and Crayola joined forces to leverage Mattel’s hot properties, Barbie and Hot Wheels, on a line of art activities for global retail distribution. Lines of oversized coloring book pages and special markers and paints that appear on “special” paper were among the new product offerings. A new Crayola app is debuted and featured an “appcessorie” that kids can use to turn their iPads into interactive coloring books.
  • In May 2019 LiP SMACKER® and Crayola, teamed up to create an exciting new collection of bold and colorful products— the LiP SMACKER® x Crayola collaboration.
  • Facebook’s algorithm changes have left many brands scratching their heads as they search for organic ways to connect with consumers on the social media platform, but Crayola found a way to overcome the challenges and land directly in consumers’ news feeds with a user-generated video campaign.
  • In 2014, Crayola and Lulu Jr. entered into a licensing agreement with Crayola to develop book-making kits for children ages four to 12. The kits will give children tools and inspiration to write stories and bring them to life as full-color hardcover or paperback books that are professionally printed and bound.
  • In addition to this public search, we scanned our proprietary research database of over 1 million sources and were unable to find any specific research reports that address your goals.

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