Like most designers, we have our preferences when it comes to our tools. We tend to favor the tried-and-true, but sometimes you've gotta go for something a bit more exceptional. So let's start with that one first.
The Best Color Pencil Set
Felissimo's gigantic color pencil set for Social Designer is our favorite new monthly subscription. That's rightaside from boasting a spectrum of 500 colors, the set is available by the month: 25 pencils for 20 months. Felissimo goes the extra mile to make this service even more appealing, offering unique display hardware highlighting the color gradient, from a wall-mounted vitrine to a snap-together, tabletop color wave.
The Best Rubber Band
It's hard to beat a regular rubber band in terms of functionality and versatility, but the Anchor Band comes pretty close. It has a small hook, or anchor, on one end, extending its application as a bundling devices to things like computer cords, plant stems, and earbud wires. Surprisingly difficult to find, these rubber bands can be purchased from All Stake Supply in Australia, where they are marketed as a gardening product. But almost nowhere else. Runner up? The equally evasive and compelling reinterpretation of an X-band allegedly spotted in New York at Muji, though we've see no sign of it in the catalog.
The Best Paper Clip
Naoto Fukasawa and Jasper Morrison included the Paper Clip in their exhibition of exceptional everyday objects, Super Normal, and this version, the Gem Ball-End Paper Clip, has some nicely resolved ends indeed. But there have been all sorts of other iterations, and luckily the Office Museum has painstakingly catalogued all the forms temporary paper fasteners have taken throughout history. Maybe it's time for some enterprising designer to help some of these make a comeback?
The Best Pen
Some people are slave to one, but there are just so many great pens out there it's hard to be prescriptive here. Certainly stock up on designer-fave Pilot Razors, but we also love the unassuming Bic Biro and the precise, 0.2mm Hi-Tec-C's (which must be specially ordered from Japan). So much of this is based on feel, but if you're curious about the visual results, be sure to check out MTBooks' expansive catalogue of pen writing samples on Flickr.
The Best Desk Set
We love the Anything Desk Set designed by Michael Sodeau for Suikosha, for its utility as much as its playfulness. The bright colors and simple forms allude to Olivetti adding machines, safety scissors and standard issue office supplies, but with a contemporary feel and a nice reconsideration of each object's placement on the desk's landscape. Available in orange, yellow, white and black from Unica Home.
The Best #2 Pencil: The Dixon Ticonderoga Classic
And, of course, we can't leave out the Dixon Ticonderoga Classic #2 Pencil, which loudly proclaims its status as "World's Best Pencil" right on the packaging. But not without reason: this pencil is one of the most widely favored and distributed pencils in the United States. Pencil aficionados love its fragrant woodiness (real cedar), iconic green foil graphics, and dark grey line, but some question Dixon's recent decision to manufacture the pencil in China in addition to the USA. In any case, take a minute to read Tom Leininger's review of this classic for Pencil Revolution and be sure to browse through the comments. Our favorite:
I'm working on an adaptor that will convert right-handed pencils (and possibly pens) for left hand use, but currently the prototype is a tad unwieldy as it is constructed of schedule 40 PVC pipe and diamond plate sheetmetal. I'll post here when I have a more workable solution.
Straight to our designer hearts.
Lisa Smith is production editor for Core77. When not working on the site, she spends time teaching and practicing design in Chicago, IL.