Introduced 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.