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Not Too Peachy

Lorna Roth says, “The change from Flesh to Peach was made essentially for reasons of social justice and racial equity, and it made good moral sense in a period of United States history in which the civil rights movement was beginning to make political and constitutional gains. The retirement of Flesh recognized a clear ideological and racial bias embedded in the product concept, and Binney &  Smith sought to correct it.”  This brings to my mind that I have always felt that peach was not a very peachy color.  So I bought a peach and I sliced it.  I found the crayon called “Peach” and colored with it.  What do you think?  Is it peachy to you?




The words “Peachy keen jelly bean” definitely don’t come to mind. The crayola color looks like a skin ton rather than a peach. Although they might not have been able to “trademark” that specific color with that name if it had already been taken or used. For instance, the Kodak Yellow is paid for, copyrighted and named “Kodak Yellow.” Therefore no one else can take it legally. Maybe that happened to the Crayola guys?


I think it was the right decision to change the name of the color, but I also think “peach” was a silly and euphemistic choice. It’s completely non-descriptive. Peach flesh ranges in color from yellow to red, never approaching the natural skin tone of anyone I’ve ever seen, and not remotely resembling the crayon in the picture. “Tan”, “beige”, or “light pink” would all have been more accurate, though none of those are right either.

Hell, if the color is intended for drawing people just label the crayons according to the reflectance value of the corresponding skin tone, and have kids learn a little science while they’re at it.


Props to you for actually going out and getting a peach and crayon! I loved this particular topic in class this week because it made me think of Band-aids and how they’re the color they are for the EXACT reason– only they aren’t as upfront about it.. and thus a lack of “shades” of band-aids.. Instead, they created the clear band-aid.


Love this picture. I loved the crayon article and had never considered that crayons were “retired.” I really wanted to do my illustration on this, but was not nearly as creative as you. I couldn’t think out of the box and figure out how to do a fun crayon picture. So kudos to you :)


This is a good juxtaposition. It’s natural to see the crayon color peach and surmise that it matches the fruit when in reality it’s way off. That’s more a memory issue, though, and the semantics of what to name crayon colors matter less than the racial implications of calling it flesh, thereby assuming that that sort of pink is the only color flesh can be. It doesn’t really matter what you call it – unless you’re an angry fan of nectarines.


The term “peach” is used to describe skin tone so I think changing the name of the crayon from “flesh” to “peach” didn’t really change the fact that the crayon is meant to represent skin tone. I think that the crayon color doesn’t even represent a literal peach. Peach tones, in makeup, do look like the color of the crayon though. I wonder if they changed the name of the crayon before make up companies stated referring to colors as “peach tones”?


Seeing the two side by side really draws attention to how dissimilar the two peaches are. I remember as a child just calling the crayon “skin color” because that’s what I always used it for. A different name might have actually gone further in establishing it as something other than “flesh”, because by labeling the crayon something it more closely is (beige, tan, as suggested above), the inaccurate false comparison wouldn’t make it stick out even more.


I never noticed how extremely different these two colors are. I am glad you pointed it out. Also nice job on going out and buying a peach to do this. Even though they are different colors I think is was a much better decision to change the name to peach instead of leaving it flesh.


I never thought about comparing the color peach to an actual peach. I don’t know if I thought they were different before, but in your photo they clearly are. There obviously had to be reasons that they chose to name “peach” but I wonder why? Are there peaches that are this crayon color? I don’t know. If you ask me, we should call it salmon instead.

Scott Howard

The thing that is interesting to me about this is when I think of the color “peach” I think of something closer to the color of the crayon, not the color of an actual peach. I think this is probably due to the fact that I grew up with the with that color being labeled “peach,” on crayons & markers.

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