Get your Erasable stickers!

The Erasable Podcast now has stickersUpdate 08/20/14: We are now sold out. Let me know with this form if you’d be interested in being notified when/if we stock more!

Besides customized pencils, this is the most requested piece of swag we’ve gotten, and it’s really cool. Celebrate your love of woodcase pencils:

The Erasable Podcast Sticker

Each sticker is 2.5″, (slightly bigger than, say, the Apple logo on the front of a MacBook), and features four pencils from the Woodclinched Vector Pack (although the yellow-and-green faux Ticonderoga was customized specifically for this sticker).

Slap it on your pencil case, your tabletop pencil sharpener, your car window, or heck, put it with the other stickers on the back of your laptop like me!

Erasable Sticker on Andy's Laptop

We’re selling them for $2 each, or $5 for three (plus $1 for shipping) over here.

If you live outside the US, you may notice that it doesn’t give an option to ship internationally, which I didn’t realize before I set up this shop. So, if you aren’t in the US of A, and you want to get ahold of some of these stickers, email me. We can bypass this whole thing and go straight to PayPal.

The Woodclinched Pencil Vector Pack

My friend Tony Headrick is a super talented designer. His studio, Neno Design, has won design awards and he’s created some of the coolest logos and websites around Fort Wayne (including my blog’s logo!).

We decided we wanted to work on something together. Trouble is, I’m not a designer, and he’s not a writer. Luckily, we figured it out.

Presenting: the Woodclinched Pencil Vector Pack!

Woodclinched Vector Pencil Pack

It contains 14 pencils from my collection, some vintage, and some new. I tried to include a variety — including an old bullet pencil and a fancy antique mechanical pencil — in addition to straight-up wood cased pencils.

Roughly, here’s what real-life pencils the designs were inspired by, from left to right:

  • Faber Castell Grip 2001
  • Yikes! triangular color pencil
  • Field Notes pencil
  • Goldfish Special Drawing 5002
  • iTO Premium
  • Golden Bear
  • Eagle Flash 66
  • Orange Palomino (the old-style — the announcement of the redesign was announced while Tony was designing!)
  • Antique brass mechanical pencil
  • Eberhard Faber Blackwing
  • Antique bullet pencil
  • Yikes! Gripz
  • Blue eraser-tipped Palomino
  • Draplin Design Company carpenter pencil

It was fun hearing Tony talk about creating these:

To me, pencils are one of the most accessible and basic art tools. Working with Andy Welfle, a professional pencil collector, made the experience so worthwhile. Andy provided some of his favorite pencils, the history behind the design and it was a real privilege to be trusted with such unique, vintage and storied pencils. It was a real challenge to try and keep the design minimal. The colors, materials and textures were what really stood out.

Just look at the detail between various lengths o points, and of the sharpening of the barrel between round and hex pencils.

Just look at the detail between various lengths o points, and of the sharpening of the barrel between round and hex pencils.

He did an amazing job, too. As someone who doesn’t normally spend a good portion of his day thinking about wooden pencils, he caught a lot of detail: how a hex pencil differs from a round pencil where the tip meets the paint; how the shape and tip of a carpenter pencil differs from, say, a regular round pencil; the shine pattern on a ferrule or a tipped end. From a design perspective, I love how he managed to keep the design pretty flat and basic, but was able to incorporate a lot of detail, still, like the woodgrain and that shine on the barrel.

What is a “Vector Pack”?

What does one do with a vector pack, all you non-designers may want to know? If you’re a designer, or find yourself in a situation where you may want to use a pencil like this in a design, then this might appeal to you. Rather than a raster like a JPEG or a PNG, a vector file allows you to scale an image up or down infinitely, keeping its shape and integrity all the while. Plus, you can easily change color, add text, or otherwise manipulate your image to fit the needs of your project.

This pack exists in a few different forms:

Free Vector Pack

Sample pencil pack on Dribbble.

Sample pencil pack on Dribbble. Click the image to view

Check out Tony’s Dribbble page for a sampler of six pencil vectors. Some of my favorites aren’t in this package, but if you want those, check out the…

Full Vector Pack

Click the image to go see the full vector pack at The Creative Market, and purchase for only $5!

Click the image to go see the full vector pack at The Creative Market, and purchase for only $5!

This includes all 14 pencils and is for sale for $5 on the Creative Market!

T-Shirt

Woodclinched Pencil Vector Pack on a t-shirtThis is coming soon. I’ll definitely have more information when we get this up and going. We’re going to submit it to The Cotton Bureau to crowd fund the printing of these t-shirts.

Start with a pencil

I don’t care what they say; I still love Medium. Despite all the spammy, markety, Seth Godin-ish posts filling it up, and the hushed, opaque ways they recommend artricles to the reader, I still stumble across some gems. Like this post, “Start with a pencil“.

I’ve linked a similar article here before, and this is a great, natural follow up to it. If you work in a creative agency setting, and you’re in charge of concepting a product, start with a pencil. Don’t be afraid if it’s a little messy or unrefined.

Start with a pencil Continue reading

Is it just me, or does the new Field Notes “Cold Horizon” color remind you of something…

Cold Horizon iOS 7?

 

Not that I’m complaining! I’m a big fan of both this new Field Notes edition, and of Apple’s iOS 7 design.

“Cold Horizon” is literally a very flat design—with that glossy cover, there’s really no toothy texture to it. And while that gorgeous Futura doesn’t really compare to an equally gorgeous Helvetica Neue, still.

It’s interesting because iOS 7 was a departure from the “skeuomorphic” look of the previous design, to get away from making it look like it’s a physical environment.  In a funny turn of events, the physical environment is redesigned to look like it!

What do you think? Do you see it?

The Pencil Ruler: a Kickstarter project founded by an 11 year-old

I love Kickstarter. So many amazing ideas and innovations have come to fruition because of the social funding tool, from an iPod Nano watch to a de-centralized social media tool. I’ve talked about a pen-related venture on here before, but I am lucky enough to be featuring a pencil project today!

I got an email earlier today from Nate at Brand New Box, a web development firm in San Diego. They are helping to create the Rule Pencil, dreamed up by an 11-year old kid.

Nate said,

Last week my business partner, Matt, helped an 11-year-old friend of ours launch a Kickstarter project for a Ruler Pencil.  The response has been amazing, to say the least.

5 days in and the project is 500%+ funded. Folks like the idea, and they love Nathan.  As you can imagine, our little buddy is flipping out.

Their Kickstarter project is innovative, and it’s a relatively simple idea — put a ruler on a pencil. I know, I know, it’s been done before, but perhaps not with this level of simplicity, and with such… well, heart. I know that I could have used a ruler pencil many times when I was eleven. Nathan, this kid, had the gumption to make it happen.

The Kickstarter video:

As of today, the project was very close to getting a $2,000 total in pledges. It only needed $350 to cover a minimum order.

The original point of the email to me was to brainstorm some ideas for a quality pencil. These guys are art-minded, and appreciate a good pencil. I suggested talking with CalCedar about their private label pencil program, but don’t know enough of the details to tell if that’ll work for their needs or not.

I suggested a triangular pencil which would accomodate three different units of measurement: imperial (inches), metric (centimeters), and point (picas). After all, I imagine this will appeal to a lots of graphic designers who sketch their designs longhand, and might be replacing (or complementing) their trusty pica rulers.

Anyone have any further ideas? Leave them in the comments below.

And to all you pencilnalia enthusiasts out there: Hop on by the Kickstarter page and pledge! Help make sure this eleven year old entrepreneur grows up loving wooden pencils — someday he might owe his fortune to his love for them. There are some great perks to the different pledge levels, according to the project page:

  • For $5, he’ll mail you a package of 5 Ruler Pencils.
  • For $20, he’ll mail you a special package of 10 Ruler Pencils, and list your name on the ‘Special Founders’ list mailed out with each package of Ruler Pencils .
  • For $50, he’ll mail you a special package of 20 pencils, put you on the founders list, plus send you a custom drawing (he’s pretty good).

I’ll be pledging as soon as I can — I want my name on that Founders list.

Ruler Pencils: a brilliant idea, invented by a kid. | Kickstarter Project Page

UPDATE: This kid’s got spunk. Check out his update video to his backers!

A clever ad campaign for Dixon Ticonderoga

I got an email the other day from Justin Oberman, a creative ad guy who conceived of an ad campaign for Dixon Ticonderoga, maker of the ubiquitous yellow-pencils-with-green-ferrules (via a class on advertising). His angle is that there isn’t much Dixon doesn’t know about making pencils, and features informative posters with the tagline, “We make the World’s Best Pencil. We should know.”

This poster reminds me a lot of Henry Petrosky’s book The Pencil: a History of Design and Circumstance about how wooden pencils are a perfect example of thousands of years of design and engineering, and I, Pencil, about how modern pencils are an achievement of globalization and the distribution of expertise and labor.

This is my favorite, and one I want desperately to be true. Gary Hustwit, creator of the documentaries Helvetica and Objectified (both of which I am a huge fan), would be perfect for a documentary about pencils. Perfect! Alas, upon asking Justin more about it, I discovered it’s purely a concept. As Justin said, however, “maybe he’ll see the poster and get the idea.”

Here’s hoping.

Justin gave me a lengthy and highly fascinating story about creating this campaign. While I won’t share it all here in its entirety, here are some highlights.

In the end the campaign aims to tell you more about pencils then you ever wanted to know. (Unless you’re a pencil blogger — ASW) By doing this, Ticonderoga not only shows that they are very serious about pencils, but by getting really emotional about it they show that they are not just a pencil company but in far the world’s best pencil company. And by re-educating everyone about pencils they can remind everyone of that. Why? Not because people will actually read all the dizzying pencil knowledge they throw at them… people will get the point (pun intended). It’s simply that bad pencils give all pencils a bad name. In fact, the campaign reminds you that undoing the competition is not the same as undergoing it.

And something I’ve been saying for years:

Bringing to light the novelty of the pencil has the opportunity to make them en vogue.The pencil can benefit from its sense of nostalgia.  If this campaign was successful one can imagine a hipster telling his wannabe hipster friends at a cocktail party that, yes, that is a pencil behind my ear and by the way I only use pencils. Pencils are cool etc etc etc….  and then I realized that this could be the voice of the campaign, turning Dixon’s “We Make The World’s Best Pencil” into the guy at the party who only talks about pencils.

As someone who is often that guy at the party who only talks about pencils, telling his hipster friends why the pencil is making a comeback, I can appreciate this ad campaign. They turn pencil trivia into an art, thereby making someone who is educated about it a connoisseur.

Thank you, Justin, for sharing this! Check out this ad campaign on Justin’s website, OberCreative, or on the AdWeek Talent Gallery. And check out a couple more of his posters in the gallery, below.

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