The folks at National Stationery Week sent me a bag of goodies, including brands like Bic and Staedtler, which I consider to be office supply/stationery cupboard staples (no pun intended). These aren’t my normal bag – I’m a bit picky about my stationery choices, I like items that have been thoughtfully designed and aren’t necessarily mass produced. I thought about not featuring them for these reasons, but then I thought that actually it’s important to look at these types of products. If they are most people’s reference points then they are the standard at which most other stuff is judged. So without further ado, I thought I’d do a couple of mini reviews.
Bic Cristal Multi Colour Set
There’s a box of Bic Cristal ballpoint pens in pretty much every office. They’re not the prettiest, or the best quality, but they’re always there. There must be a reason that they’re always there. Well designed and cheap to make, there’s no denying that they get the job done.
Testing all of these different colours out, there is a consistency in them all. When writing with them, you can see gaps in the lines – I’m not sure why – like they’re skipping a bit. It doesn’t create the strongest line. These 1.6mm ones are a bit thicker than I’d prefer. If I have to use a Bic Cristal, I’d go for a fine one.
It’s an iconic design, inexpensive and does the job. For a great writing experience, it’s not my pen of choice, but for a pen to keep on your desk or to throw in your bag without any worry, then it’s the one.
Staedtler Noris Pencils
The Staedtler Noris colouring pencils are pretty good. Again, another classic pencil case item, something you can pick up in most supermarkets. I think you can pick up a 12 pack for around £3 or £4.
These pencils are made from Wopex material. This means that the wood part of the pencil isn’t actually wood – it’s a wood-plastic composite so although it looks like a normal pencil, the writing/holding/sharpening experience is a little different. This has its advantages and disadvantages.
Disadvantage-wise, I think the biggest thing is that the ‘lead’ is very smooth, but almost too smooth which means it’s not very satisfying to draw with. I was testing it on one of And Smile Studio’s colouring prints which have really textured paper. Even with this the line draws quite lightly, it’s almost a plasticky texture. But I think the advantages outweigh this – because of this super smooth line, the point holds really well and wears down slowly, and the outside of the pencils have a really good grip, which I have imagine would be perfect for kids.
So, a couple of classic stationery items. There’s no denying that there are good reasons that they’re everywhere. They’re classic designs and decent quality. They’re not the most exciting and not the best performing, but for the price you can’t go too wrong.
These items were sent to me by Small Man Media in celebration of National Stationery Week, but all views are my own.