Here are two small pencil design elements that I like.
The scannable barcode seems to have become a required retail practice. For small objects like pens and pencils, there seem to be two approaches – place them in a cardboard and plastic package with the barcode, or directly imprint them.
For a nice looking pencil, the retailer’s step forward is the purchaser’s step backward. A pencil just doesn’t need a barcode. For some, using this simple and useful writing implement is a step away from rampant digitization. In any case, I think classic pencil finishes like Faber-Castell’s forest green, Staedtler’s blue, and Towbow’s glosssy black have been diminished by the addition of barcodes.
There does seem to be an innovative workaround. Caran d’Ache places a small perforated plastic wrapper around the pencil’s tip. The wrapper has the scannable barcode imprinted. After purchase, you remove the small wrapper, and you have a clean looking pencil. Well done!
Grade on cap
The caps of pencils may have an eraser, be unfinished, or as with most premium pencils, be eraserless with a finished cap. For pencils that might be offered in many grades, I like the imprinting of the grade on the cap. It really makes it easy to find the right pencil for a task. Maybe it would detract from a high-end pencil, but it seems like a good idea based on the few I have seen.
In response to a request, here are some more photos of the Mitsubishi Hi-Uni pencils and their packaging.
It’s a lot of packaging for a dozen pencils. The good thing is that this box seems to actually protect (as opposed to just house or congregate) the pencils. Even with several pencils removed, the remaining ones don’t roll about, due to an insert that separates the pencils. It seems much more useful for travel than just a loose pencil case.
Okay, on with the show.
Here is the green sleeve alongside the pencil box:
The green sleeve has a cutout that corresponds to a degree marking on the box:
The box is black plastic with a clear one-third length lid that flips open:
They’re a nice set of pencils:
Here is Hi-Uni next to a Tombow Mono 100. Two great pencils.
Here are two really fun pencils that I found at a local art supply store.
The first is the Lyra Ferby Graphit 97100. It is a natural finish oversize triangular pencil. The length of the pencil is less than a standard pencil. The lead is also oversize.
This pencil is pure fun. The lead is very dark and smooth, of the same calibre as premium standard sized pencils. Although the pencil might be aimed at children, it makes sense that an art supply store (and a selective one compared to most in these parts) would stock this implement. You can’t help but start drawing or doodling with it.
It lets you do serious things with it, but if you don’t, that’s also fine.
The second pencil is also from Lyra, and it’s actually a pure stick or crayon of graphite with a paper wrapping. It’s identified as the Lyra 1772. This thing can draw some incredible lines. In 9B, it owns any page it touches, with it’s smooth dark markings.
But the fun doesn’t end there – there is a water-soluble variant, the Lyra 1773. Wrapped in blue paper (the 1772 has a black wrapper) , it’s slightly smaller in diameter.
You can dip it in water and start sketching – it creates an amazing silvery metallic finish. Or if your brush skills are up to the task, you can sketch first, and apply a brush with water. My attempts just smeared whatever I drew, but I’m sure a more skilled hand would succeed.
For a buck or two, I think these are a lot of fun.