FREEPORT — The new L.L. Bean Home catalog celebrates the blues.

The pop culture website Jezebel ran a story this week that was entirely a list of colors in the new L.L.Bean Home catalog, no other words, just 151 shades and among them, more than 30 names for variations of the color blue.

Foggy Blue. Mist Blue. Ice Blue. Mariner Blue. Blue Haze. Pale Blue. Plain, no-superlative Blue.

It drew thousands of views and comments, including, “There is nothing more terrible than buying Bay Blue and realizing it LOOKS more like Mariner Blue” and, “This is the best article I’ve ever read.”

The iconic Maine company isn’t the least bit red about the ribbing.

“Actually, the fact that we have all these colors, I’m kind of proud that we have a good assortment,” Jennifer Benevides, corporate merchant manager for L.L.Bean Home, said Friday. “Everybody’s laughing at us, but hopefully they’re laughing with us. It shows we put a lot of care into the offering.”

L.L. Bean’s new fall Home catalog hit mailboxes this week. The company is mum on exactly how many they mail out. It’s a lot.

There’s a creative team behind the hues working on the colors more than a year in advance, Benevides said.

“You have to be a good trend-spotter,” she said. “It’s a skill to understand what someone might want in a year.”

The fall catalog has everything from long sheets for dorm rooms to furniture and accessories.

“It’s important to get the color and the product just right, like a recipe,” Benevides said. “So with that, you might need a blue that’s 30 percent darker than this one for that specific project. You might want a different blue for a sheet than you want for your quilt, and you want a different blue for the cushion of the couch than you do for your clock. The differences in colors are what makes a home or even an outfit beautiful; it’s the range. We don’t want to be like Garanimals.” 

Brian Keegan, a research fellow in computational social science at Northeastern University in Boston, decided to embrace the blues and the Root Beer, Honey Maple, Americana and plain White.

Keegan studies social networks — how people are intertwined or how much they’re separated. For fun, after coming home to the new Home catalog in his mail, he made a scientific network of L.L.Bean’s Home colors.

It’s a swirly web that looks like something found under a microscope. Most of the lines connect back to White and Natural with outliers such as Muted Aqua and Flamingo. It, too, got passed around online this week.

“This isn’t a simple, trivial network,” Keegan said. “It has a lot of interesting features about it.” He visited Bean’s flagship store last summer. “I am laughing with them, not at them,” he said.

He titled it: “What network scientists do when they’re bored.”

For the curious, Marine Blue is matter-of-fact with slate undertones. Slate Blue is darker, even more slate-y.

Collegiate Blue is striped, ditto for Ash Blue.

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: