by Jincy IypeJul 26, 2022
Seemingly mundane yet vastly influential, pencils have remained the most beloved tool of communication for creators of any kind, to put ideas to paper, in coherence – from architects to composers and carpenters, the modest, wood-crafted object with a graphite core can be historically termed one of the earliest and most prominent forms of self-expression and perhaps, still remains so. One of its most unanimously cherished qualities, apart from being cheap and readily accessible, is how mistakes can be erased and ideas revisited almost instantaneously. As one of the most mass-produced yet underrated objects of today, is it time that the traditional pencil entails, or rather, deserves, a radical makeover?
"It’s a Pencil Revolution!” claims the Kickstarter page for the Stilform Aeon Pencil, which is designed to last forever, sketching big on the legacy of the object to fit itself better to the 21st century. Developed by Germany-based design studio Stilform, Aeon sports a clever tip made of a natural and non-toxic alloy of tin and bismuth, that creates "pencil-like" marks and hardly wears itself over time, essentially functioning as an “eternal” tip.
Creating slightly fainter imprints than that of an HB pencil, the switchable neodymium magnet tips by Stilform can also be switched with graphite ones, for the more conventional writing experience, where the pencil's strokes are darker but easily erasable.
What's more, the all-metal design also ensures that users won’t ever have to worry about sharpening them, and instead, just switch tips that will be made available on the Stilform web shop.
The unique Aeon pencil relishes in its weight, and almost works like magic, where its metal tip, its foremost area of evolvement, lays visible strokes on paper. What’s actually happening, is that the metal tip oxidises the paper’s surface, leaving behind streaks akin to a traditional graphite pencil, promising years of dependable usage.
Writing with Metal
With a sleek body realised across high-grade aluminium, magnesium, brass as well as titanium DLC (diamond-like coating), each Aeon is characterised by a thin piece of meticulously selected veneer, made of walnut, ebony or maple, adding to its credentials in the sustainability wave taking over the design industry, by forgoing a full plastic or wooden frame, reducing pollution and felling of trees in the long run.
“It not only guarantees a more comfortable holding position, but also reminds you of a nostalgic old-school pencil,” says the design studio based in Hamburg, Germany, explaining Aeon’s shape, a minimal, pared-back, and more refined take on the traditional wooden pencil.
The sustainable design's tip stays neat and “smudge-free” for writing and drawings, apart from being waterproof. When your work is complete, fingers and sleeves remain smudge-less too. “As neat as its strokes are, they are still erasable like a 2H-pencil,” the product designers add.
The chosen metal materiality for the immortal pencil tips as well as the barrels also relinquishes the usage of harmful lead, which has proven to be harmful to humans. Proclaiming cycles of reusability and recyclability, the metal components are an essentially long-lasting, environmental and eco-friendly design, that can be passed on for generations, adding another film of excellence to its carefully crafted, minimal design.
Billions of plastic pens aren’t getting recycled annually which end up in landfills and as litter. If you have had enough of consuming plastic pens and turning forests into pencils like us, it’s time to get a hand on a metal pencil! – Christoph Bohrer and Martin Wagner, Founders, Stilform
Elegant and modern, the product design also boasts of Stilform’s pure, sleek and functional design of minimalist “anti-roll” chamfers, where the distinctive flat sides along the pencil, decorated with tasteful veneers, stop pen-rolling effectually.
Owing to an adroit magnetic mechanism employed across most Stilform products, the pencil’s tips are also easy to install, remove, and snap back into position within milliseconds.
“It is an amazing piece of engineering that is stunningly beautiful – heavy in your hand, which I particularly like – and it is as much a piece of sculpture for your desk as it is a writing implement," shares Wayne Barlowe, American science fiction and fantasy writer, painter, and concept artist, and one of the many fans of the Stilform Aeon pencil, that has already won a Red Dot Design Award 2022, even before its final production.
Creativity begins with a Pen informs the ethos of the German designer duo Christoph Bohrer (industrial designer and self-proclaimed workaholic) and Martin Wagner (production engineer and tea enthusiast) who founded Stilform in 2013, creating high-end office products, pens and contemporary designs.
All parts for their products, stationery designs and industrial designs are made from high-grade titanium or aluminium, materials well known for their extremely high durability and exceptional light weight. "Always with the focus on creating visually appealing products with clear lines and aesthetic form language, attributes like emotions, function and innovation are of utmost importance in the design process," Bohrer and Wagner explain.
Straddling the disciplines of design and engineering, this self-effacing object has manifested Goliathan concepts in fullness and reality, with its unassuming, Davidian form, since centuries. The pronounced simplicity in manufacturing, and the diligent, creative thought process behind the Stilform Aeon pencil is what makes it timeless, sophisticated, exciting and compelling, radicalising one of the most used objects of all time.