Kickstarter | Penxo by john cheng

Recently I've returned to using 2mm mechanical pencils to get a more organic feel in my sketches. I love the sharp point of a 0.5 mm pencil, but it was just too rigid for me.

But me being me, I search near and far for the writing utensil best suited for me. This also means that form and function must be on the same level. In the case of my everyday carry pen, I searched for about 2 years before landing happily on the Karas Kustoms Retrakt with a Parker Pen fine ball point tip refill. The aesthetics of the pen are beautiful and the function of the Parker refill suit my writing and sketching needs perfectly.

I'm undergoing the same process at the moment with my pencil. Currently I'm using a Staedtler 2mm pencil and functionality wise, it works fine. The aesthetics portion however, are just so so in my opinion. But as always, Kickstarter seems to save the day. I discovered the Penxo today and immediately backed the project! It is such a beautiful and simple writing utensil an the perfect mix of beauty and utility. I just hope that when I receive my very own Penxo, it will hold up to it's presumed glory.

Sekinoichi Coffee Beer Bottle design by Nendo by john cheng

7-sekinoichi-coffee-beer-bottle-design-by-nendo This is some genius packaging by Nendo. They have really taken the needs of their client into consideration and molded it into their favor. Often times when approached by clients with a big ask and little to no budget, we as designers get discouraged or pass on the project, but here is an excellent example of what can come about from restrictions.

Anchor Coffee, a coffee business in Kesennuma, a small city in northern Japan, and a Japanese sake and beer brewery Sekinoichi of Ichinoseki, another small city in the same region – both areas were devastated by the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011, so the beer is a charity project to fundraise for disaster relief – have created a coffee beer drink, inviting Nendo to create the packaging for the new product.


For this collaboration they wanted to keep the costs down, so they ended up using existing bottles that they already had and using what I see as an iconic coffee bean illustration as labels that are hand placed. This type of attention to detail really says a lot about Nendo's design thinking process. Their ability to re-purpose what they already have as well as figure out a unique way to cut down on printing but at the same time give a unique twist on things, really encourages me to think in a way where not everything needs to be brand spanking new. We don't need to always design from the ground up, we can take what we already have and remodel/re-purpose it. Agree or disagree?