On the United Nations World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, Crayola—the art supply company best known for its collections of crayons—announced the launch of its most inclusive set yet.
The company spent over eight months designing its Colours of the World set, which includes 24 colours meant to represent 40 skin tones and shades around the world. Crayola has also released a 32-crayon set available exclusively at Wal-Mart to include hair and eye colours. Crayola’s first multicultural crayon set, released in 1992, consisted of eight crayons.
The names of each colour are written in English, Spanish and French. Each crayon has been given a “realistic” name to help children find the shade that’s best for them, such as extra dark almond, medium deep golden and very light rose.
“With the world growing more diverse than ever before, Crayola hopes our new Colours of the World crayons will increase representation and foster a greater sense of belonging and acceptance,” Crayola CEO Rich Wuerthele said in a statement. “We want the new Colours of the World crayons to advance inclusion within creativity and impact how kids express themselves.”
To reach this goal, the art supply corporation consulted Canadian beauty mogul Victor Casale. Throughout his 30 years in the beauty industry, Casale has been the chief chemist and managing director of MAC Cosmetics, co-founder and chief innovation officer of Cover FX Skincare, co-founder and chairman of Pure Culture Beauty and co-founder and CEO of MOB Beauty.
“I have spent my life trying to create truly global shade palettes because I know what it’s like to be with a person who has finally found their exact match,” he explained. “They feel included and recognised, and I am hoping every child who uses these crayons and finds their shade will have that feeling.”
Casale was more than happy to assist Crayola in creating an inclusive crayon set, as he recalled needing to combine “the pink and dark brown crayons to try and make my shade” as a child.
“What intrigued Crayola about Victor was not only his extensive experience in creating shades that capture the natural beauty of every skin tone but his abiding passion and commitment nurturing inclusion and representation,” explained Mimi Dixon, manager of brand equity and activation at Crayola. “His expertise, candor and guidance throughout the development process was invaluable and brings an enhanced level of credibility and authenticity to the Colours of the World product.”
Designing an inclusive range for the crayons required a similar process that beauty brands use to create the shades and undertones for their makeup collections. Working with the research and development team, Casale started with the lightest and darkest shades. He then needed to “step down” from light to dark by about five percent and include pink, neutral and golden undertones.
“We landed on rose for the pink undertone, almond for the neutral undertone and golden for the yellow/olive undertone,” he explained to Allure magazine.
Each shade was then placed in one to two of five categories to further designate its exact hue: extra, very, light, medium and deep.
“This is exactly the science and treatment I have used to create global shade palettes for the beauty industry,” he said.
Although more than 24 shades are available in many makeup foundation collections, Casale explained that such a number was sufficient to satisfy the demands of colouring with crayons.
“When you apply a complexion product on your face, and you compare it to your skin—side by side—you have to be very precise,” he said. “This is tedious, sometimes overwhelming, but necessary when you are literally wearing the shade. When translating this knowledge and experience to support the Colours of the World initiative, I felt it would be difficult for a child to notice the differences on paper.”
As such, the Crayola research and development team worked alongside Casale to mix two very close shades into one crayon to reach inclusion representation among skin tones.
Pre-orders for both the 24- and 32-crayon set sold out quickly, demonstrating the desire to offer diversity and inclusion to the youngest members of society.
“While foundation ranges have come a long way, the beauty industry must be constantly innovating and pushing themselves creatively,” Casale said. “What they can learn from the Colours of the World crayons is that the desire for inclusivity begins at a young age, and through adequate representation, children are able to feel confident, included, and important — just like an adult feels when they find their perfect shade at the beauty counter.
“There is always more work to do, and Crayola has been a positive voice in this valuable discussion.”