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Canadian helps design Crayola crayon set that depicts human skin tones
TORONTO -- When he was young, Victor Casale encountered a predicament that has perplexed many children: How could he draw himself with a crayon?
His skin isn't orange, or brown, or pink – at least not the orange, brown or pink that could be found in his set of crayons.
"Not being included or not having inclusive representation of shades – it's a feeling that I would hate to see in a child," Casale told CTV News Channel on Sunday.
Unlike all the other children who have faced that dilemma, Casale eventually got a chance to do something about it.
First, the Canadian became a big player in the beauty industry, working with brands including MAC Cosmetics and Cover FX in creating foundations and other products designed to get as close to real skin tones as possible.
Then, not that long ago, he got a call he never expected: Crayola, the company so dominant in crayons that its name is virtually synonymous with its product, wanted to tap his expertise to help develop a "global inclusive array of colours" that could be used in a new line of crayons.
"They were really sincere about this. They said 'We want to do this; we want to do this right,'" Casale said.
Working with Crayola, Casale pared down the 40 shades he had created for Cover FX to 24 distinct colours that could be used in crayons.
The end result was the "Colors of the World" crayon set, which Crayola announced May 21, saying the "full spectrum of human complexions" are reflected in its 24 colours.
"With the world growing more diverse than ever before, Crayola hopes our new Colors of the World crayons will increase representation and foster a greater sense of belonging and acceptance," Crayola CEO Rich Wuerthele said in a press release.
In addition to the 24-crayon set, there is a 32-crayon set that includes four hair colours and four eye colours.
For Casale, what matters most is that anyone who uses the crayons will be able to use them to accurately represent the colour of their skin, and that of everyone else they know as well.
"The most exciting thing for me is that if a teacher or a parent puts a box of crayons on the table, no matter who's in that room or who's part of their family or community, they'll have a shade they can pick up to represent that person should they decide to colour them into their world," he said.