‘Green.com’ and ‘megabyte blue:’ Crayola’s ‘90s tribute to the internet
For a brief, glorious period of the late 1990s, Crayola’s yellow crayon had an alter ego: “world wide web yellow.” Purple was “www.purple” and screamin’ green was “green.com.”
The 16 crayons of the “TechnoBrite” collection lasted for just a couple of years. But two decades later, they’ve become a viral snapshot of what the internet was like in 1997 — and just how much it’s changed.
Erika Merklinger, a spokesperson for Crayola, confirmed to us that these crayons — from “plug & play pink” to “megabyte blue” were all very real. There was also an eight-piece marker set that went along with it.
The tech-themed colours weren’t actually new colours. They were just repurposed shades from some of Crayola’s existing collections (particularly neon), and were probably named by an internal team at the time, Merklinger said. There wasn’t a promotion associated with the internet crayons, and Crayola couldn’t really find us much more information about the collection.
Looking back on it, 1997 was kind of a weird time for the language we use for talking about the internet. It’s the same year that the amazing “Kids’ Guide to the internet” came out, a 30-minute video that has since become a Mother Meme for a bunch of jokes about how dumb we were in the ‘90s. It’s the sort of video in which, plausibly, you can have a child say, “What’s a web page, something ducks walk on?”
The children discuss using your “internet disc” to install the internet on your home computer. They joke about “surfing” the Web. Please watch long enough to hear the video’s jingle at least once.
Just a year later, while these crayons were still available in stores, Korn — yes, KORN, the band — would be one of the most cuttingedge things on the whole internet.
Anyway. You may have seen these 1997 crayons before, because they seem to have a way of going viral every couple of years, as “hilariously dated” reminders of how we used to talk about the internet.
With Crayola having little to say on the birth of these perpetually viral crayons, the most information we could find online about them comes from part 27 of Crayoncollecting.com’s 43-part history of Crayola’s colours, which notes that the collection sold well enough at the time to be reprinted. The site is also the source of the original image that went viral in the first place.
Unfortunately for me and the 10 other people who would read a story about it, we may never learn very much about exactly why these crayon names were chosen. Even Crayoncollecting.com doesn’t have a ton to say about these crayons, in part because 1997 was apparently a very busy year for Crayola colour changes, so there was a lot to cover.
In conclusion: yes, in 1997 we were huge dorks about the internet. Look how far we’ve come since then.
The 16 crayons of the Techno-Brite collection lasted for just a couple of years.