The wonderful folks over at Baron Fig have provided me with a sample of their new pencil subscription offering the Prismatic. The following opinions are my own and are in no way influenced by any items that have been given to me. Baron Fig is a designer stationery company based out of New York City. Some of you may know them from their extremely successful Kickstarter for the Confidant journal which raised $156k in 30 days. Baron Fig first started offering pencils with the Archer and now have a subscription service that provides a quarterly delivery of limited edition pencils. So. Enough of this history lesson-- how do the Prismatics perform??
When I first opened the package I was immediately pleased. I love the design of the cardboard tube these pencils come in. The bold colored 3D geometric shapes that wrapped around the tube reminded me of the 1980s and 90s-- a time I miss dearly. According to the print on the tube, these pencils are made in Portugal, so they are made by Viarco, a company that has been making pencils in Portugal for the past 110 years. After removing the pencils from the cardboard tube, I did what I always do-- check the cores. Each and every core on these pencils is centered. The finish on the pencils is great, but I do have one gripe. The yellow pencil has a bit of an issue with its coverage on the barrel. I am sure this is because yellow is a lighter color and they didn't want to overcoat the pencil, but in some spots you can see the wood through the paint underneath. Also, the white printing on the side of the yellow pencil, while perfectly executed, is hard to see since its backdrop is a bright yellow. Again, not a deal breaker, but there are just little aesthetic things I like to look out for. Yellow is my favorite color, so I am just glad they made a yellow pencil. Once I sharpened a few of these up, I immediately noticed that there was not crumbling or lead breakage like the Snakes and Ladders edition.
The Prismatic performed wonderfully in all tests thrown at it. Unless I put tremendous pressure on the tip of the pencil, there was not one breakage. As far as how the graphite from the Prismatic performed on paper, I'd have to say this: it depends. Full disclosure: I do not like Viarco pencils. There is nothing inherently wrong with the company or anything, I just don't like the tactile experience they provide. The best way to describe it is that their pencils offer a lot of feedback when writing. They are noisy and a bit scratchy feeling. When I tested this pencil out, I wrote on my standard review paper the Campus Kokuyo paper which is a smooth toothless paper. When I switched over to writing in a Confidant from Baron Fig, this pencil performed beautifully. So, if Baron Fig is going for a product line where each product compliments the other, they have nailed it. When I compared the Prismatic to the regular Archer offering, there was no discernible difference between the two pencils. This leads me to believe that the issues with the Snakes and Ladders pencils were an anomaly and not at all what Baron Fig usually sells. The fault there is not on Baron Fig, but on the manufacturer. Point retention is great and the marks the Prismatic puts down erase cleanly and easily.
I am glad to see those issues resolved in this edition. Finally, I like that Baron Fig is branching out regarding colors. I initially did not care much for Baron Fig products because they exuded a certain masculinity about them (I'm not necessarily gendering stationery here, but initially I felt that the promotion and style of their products were especially marketed for men. This is a tricky situation, so I'll leave it at that.). I am glad to see that Baron Fig has shed that and is producing a wider range of products and colors/styles. Overall, I think that the Prismatic is a pencil that is not only great looking, but performs as it is intended to. I suggest that to get the most enjoyment out of the pencil, you should use it on Baron Fig paper, but it is not necessary. Just be aware of the scratchiness that may happen with using a less toothy paper. If you are a fan of bright colors and want a pencil that write like it is supposed to, I see no reason why you shouldn't pick up a dozen (or more) of the Prismatics..