Graphics professionals know the name Pantone. And the Pantone accessory they will soon be wanting is the Pantone Universe Graphite pencil.
The pencil is part of the Pantone Universe consumer product line, which includes notebooks and business accessories. The line launched in 2005, and is still introducing products.
The pencils are made for Pantone in Japan (manufacturer unknown).
There are several striking aspects to the pencil. The first is that the pencil comes in a range of grades, with each pencil painted with a correspondingly dark swatch of graphite grey. The overall look is amazing – it is just like a professional colour swatch, in graphite shades, but presented on pencils.
I predict these will become very popular when they receive broader distribution.
The pencils are black and grey on white. A great scheme and idea that emphasizes the pencil’s core function, they do look fantastic.
The shape is a rounded square. This makes me fear that these may be a type of novelty or promotional pencil. Yet there is a corresponding colour pencil set, and they come in a wide range of grades, which is not the norm for a novelty item. It’s also a commercial product, and I doubt that even with the great graphics, Pantone would release a non-functioning pencil.
They require a different sort of grip, and I can’t say that I found them comfortable after brief use, nor would I want to put too much effort into adaptation. Yet, depending on what you’re doing and how you like to hold a pencil, they may be fine.
They are a real joy. Pantone should consider giving these away as a bonus with their more expensive products. What a collector’s item they would become!
8 Replies to “Pantone Universe Graphite pencils”
Wow, what a neat looking pencil! The finish looks absolutely superb! Is it smooth down the whole length of the pencil? I really like how the leads are centered too. It indicates a very accurate cut down the wood. Seeing the grain from both halves of the wood is neat too. How does it feel to hold a square pencil? I wonder why they chose that particular shape? To prevent rolling? To differentiate it from other pencils?
Does anyone know a source for these pencils? I can’t seem to find them anywhere online?
My question/comment is the same as Bob’s: Anyone out there know of a source for these? The only online mention of them keeps referring back to this story/blog.
Thanks in advance, etc.,etc.
Mr. Everitt, I truly appreciate the supportive comments that you have regularly made here (now over a period of years).
I wish I had more information about these pencils for you – they were received as a gift, so I don’t know many details about them.
They were made in Japan. I don’t know the manufacturer, but I can confirm that Tombow in particular makes other pencils in this shape. I will soon feature some other “rounded square” pencils here.
Most Japanese pencil items “trickle out” to the broader marketplace over time, and I am surprised that this pencil has not. There are other Pantone stationery items (e.g. notebooks) that are much more widely available.
Maybe some knowledgeable person out there knows more about where they can be purchased?
I have bought the Pantone Graphite pencils at Format, a store in Darmstadt, Germany. They specialize in material for artists and architects and have included these pencils into their range about three months ago. Currently, they seem to encounter supply problems – pencils ordered a few weeks ago haven’t arrived yet. Besides the Graphite pencils there is also a colour variant in a similar design as well as a super-fat graphite pencil with the same shape but with a much thicker barrel and lead.
Hi Gunther, thank you for this information.
Charles, there is at least one store with them – so there must be some sort of retail channel.
Since I was doing research into this 2mm lead stuff I picked up, I discovered that it’s the same company that produces the Pantone Universe pencils under license. The company is called Sun-Star, and seems to do products on several quality/price strata.
The Pantone Universe products are pretty common at upscale bookstores in my part of Asia, but I haven’t really bothered to make much use of them. I’ve picked them up in the store a few times and never committed to buy.
As for purchasing in other regions…I’ve no clue.