Writing

Slide Over With HMM

I spend most of my day working on a computer in programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, and Premier and on my iPad using apps like Art Rage, or Sketchbook. These tools allow me to create everything from illustrations to motion graphics and video. As great as all of these tools are, they can’t replace the tactile feeling of putting pen to paper and actually drawing.

As a designer, I am always looking for quality drafting tools and drawing implements. That pen or pencil with the right weight balance, and feel in the hand. While it seems like something that should be easy it’s not. The right tool makes all the difference and you can feel it as soon as you pick up a pen or pencil that has it.

Recently I discovered HMM, a Japanese company whose goal is to make “The Ordinary Classy”. The name stands for Human-Mechanic-Method and they specialize in the manufacture of finely crafted coffee ware and office accessories.

“We focus on polishing the details that make utensils unique and human. With selected materials and craftsmanship our products are classic and timeless. They are ready to embellish your daily life.” HMM

What I picked up from them is “Slide“. A winner of this year’s iF Design Award, Slide is a stylish and multi-functional ruler and pen in one. Finely crafted from milled aluminum, and coated in a matte black finish.

The sleek tool features a unique magnetic structure that allows the pen and ruler to be split up into two pieces, or be reassembled back into one with a feeling that is fluid, and smooth.

Slide has a triangular shape to the body with one side that is distinctively flat while the other two roll into a gently curved edge. It feels really comfortable in my hand. The pen writes and draws beautifully with smooth ink flow allowing for a lighter touch and more control. The pen can be used independently from the ruler or with it by simply pushing it forward to expose the tip. With the ruler attached to the pen, the back takes on the same gently curving arch with an almost indistinguishable seam between the pen and the ruler.

The ruler is all metric measurements. That makes sense since it is a Japanese product designed for the world market. That doesn’t bother me at all though. I’m not going to be using it for doing much measuring, I’ll be using it to help me draw straight lines when I need them.

The packaging is impressive as well. Well thought out and executed with sustainable materials. Slide comes in a matte black cardboard sleeve. Inside there is a stacked chipboard container that has been cut to hold the device in place. The container is wrapped in a black paper liner that contains simple instructions on how to refill the pen and use it.

Along with the packaging, there is a really well-designed catalog of HMM products. Minimal layout and simple type treatments really round out the emphasis on the quality HMM put into their product and package design.

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Putting Pen to Paper.

I have to admit I don’t write physical letters and notes anymore. Like so many people I have embraced the immediacy of digital correspondence with a vengeance. I still use pen and paper to sketch out ideas and jot things down, but really couldn’t tell you the last time I wrote a letter to someone. With that said, I still have a thing for finely crafted pens and pencils. There is something about the look, the weight, the way it sits in your hand.

Thankfully Ystudio feels the same way, and have released a new line of writing tools that are drool worthy. The new “stationary collection” is a finely crafted set of writing implements for the discerning author, doodler, or note taker. The set is constructed from pure copper and brass, with a minimalist elegant design combined with pristine materials. The model line includes two rollerball pens, a ballpoint pen, a mechanical pencil, a sketching pen, a pen container a pen case, and a notebook.

Pens

TENA Men are in Control.

Stellar writing, great visuals, nice VFX work, and a lot of humor make this ad forfor TENA Men work. This really is a funny spot that feels like some of the Old Spice ads from a few years back partly because of the delivery of the lines. I really like the fact that the product isn’t even mentioned until the end, and by that point they have you hooked, so the product stays with you. The Mill, Biscuit Films and director Jeff Low did a great job of putting this together for AMV BBDO and TENA Men.

Moleskine and Paper Make the Digital to Physical Transition.

If you are an iPad user, you are probably familiar with sketching and not taking apps like Paper and Taposé. Both apps allow you to sketch, write notes, and grab images in sketchbook form. Paper has teamed up with Moleskine to take the popular iOS app a step further.

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53 the Paper developer and Moleskine now offer the option to print your digital sketch book and have it mailed anywhere in the world. What a great idea. The accordion bound book is a physical extension of it’s digital counterpart. It is a memento. It is a hand crafted object that transitions the digital/physical divide, and from a business perspective it builds brand awareness for both companies.

Pencil Light, by Caroline Olsson.

Caroline Olsson’s Pencil Light is a lamp and a container. Something about it vaguely reminds me of the main character in Wall-e, or Luxo Jr. but that doesn’t bother me one bit. The purpose of the lamp is to ” accentuate your stationery, and has the desire to encourage you to write and draw more analog.” according to the designer. I can relate to this, since my day job is working as a designer for a company that produces ink on paper products.

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The lamp is made from birch wood, and features copper and brass screw mechanisms that allow the light to be adjusted to a variety of positions. The box below functions as a container for your writing and drawing implements of choice, and when not in use the light can be closed to hide everything.

Materials: birch, aluminium, steel, copper, copper and brass.
Light: LED bulb.

Photographer: Kaja Bruskeland

Creativity is Not Necessarily Pain Free.

Here is a two minute short film on creativity by Psychotherapist and founder of creativity coaching, Eric Maisel, PhD. While this little video focuses on the idea of writing a novel, the reasoning here applies to all creative activities. As Maisel says, “Creativity in our lives is the primary motivator, but not necessarily pain-free.”

Journal Bandolier.

I work on a computer every day of the week. I use it to create my design work, and even though I started my career before the Macintosh changed everything; I doubt I could go back to a non computer world. Now with that said, I still draw every single day. Putting pencil or pen to paper is an integral part of the creative experience. It keeps my creative juices flowing, and it keeps my eye fresh. I have a small sketch book in my camera/computer bag that I use frequently to jot down notes, sketch out ideas, and to simply draw in. For some reason one thing that happens is, the pens and pencils I use always end up on the bottom of the bag instead of in their respective pockets. Until now that is. This morning I found a journal binder, pencil holder on Etsy that might take care of the loose pencil problem.

Bandolier [jour.nal ban.do.lier n.] is a strap fitted with small loops for carrying pens, pencils, and other handy tools that can be wrapped around a journal, planner, or other book. Bandolier is handmade using reclaimed rubber and elastic. The strap is 2 inches wide and has 7 loops for pencils, and other writing implements. Because each Bandolier is handmade, you can request custom sizes and loop counts. Bandolier is designed to fit easily around books that run a little over 5 inches wide like the Moleskine 5.52×8.25 inch journal or a journal of a similar size.