burnt siennaIntroduced to the Crayola line in 1903, Burnt Sienna is now number 44 in their top 50 colors (men rank burnt sienna #39 while women find it a less attractive #53). For its 100th anniversary, Crayola will be choosing four new colors and retiring 4 of the standards—one of those singled out is none other than burnt sienna.

Whenever someone asks me for a color, for some reason or another the phrase burnt sierra pops into my head. It’s not a particularly spectacular color, maybe not even in my top 10, but there’s something about that name, a mysterious combination of words that evokes much more than a color swatch: an object, an outdoor scene, a simpler way of living.

It’s not just me that is swayed by its subtle imagery: there’s a band, a band from Texas, a band from Japan, a record label, a book, and of course, a weblog. There might even be a Mr. Burnt Sienna roaming around somewhere, and if not it’s a great fucking name for a kid.

It seems that there’s a lot more to a color than just color. It can be a whole cultural universe, filled with people, places, and lots of bands. In these terms, I can’t see how BS would be threatened at all. But alas, I’m worried that when judged for its hue alone, a sad, rusty-red mixed with crappy-brown, it stands no chance against a periwinkle or razzamatazz. And in ten or twenty years, no one will even understand me when it pops into my head.

Save Burnt Sienna!

9 thoughts on “#E97451

  1. i really can’t believe this. they are going to eradicate burnt sienna in favor of some played out shade like peach. CRAYOLA, answer this: why do we need pine and forest green? forest is clearly sufficient to cover pine’s bases. FUCK you.

  2. I was always more of an “raw umber” guy when it came to picking a random color. That one got retired in 1990. I hope you can stop it before it’s too late. I was never really able to recover from the raw umber fiasco.

  3. when i heard about this, i was shocked. then i thought that the property value of my domain name might go up. (then i woke up.)

    save burnt sienna! i don’t want to have to relocate to the-late-burntsienna.nu…

  4. Are people sure that this is not a marketing ploy by Crayola? Maybe they know that Burt Sienna has a cult following and figured they could use that fact to get bloggers talking about crayons, hardly a hot news item. And once BS is “saved” the Crayola PR department will have a great story about the swell of on-line support for the color. I can already see the press release: “Global Outcry to Save Burnt Sienna….”

  5. Am I the only one that is disturbed by the whole *idea* of “retiring colors?” In 1984, Big Brother was “retiring” words. I think this is worse.

  6. One of the characters of a fairly well-known online comic (PVPOnline) is named Brent Sienna in honor of the color. The comic’s author posted a few months ago about the color being in danger, and I believe even formed a petition to keep the color.

  7. It’s been saved!!!!!!

    I’ve loved Burnt Sienna since Life, In A NutShell by Barenaked Ladies.. “She memorized everypencil crayon color in the box. Her bluegreen eyes complement the Burnt Sienna in her locks…” whoohoo!!!!

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