It's time again for an Archer release from Baron Fig and this time we are graced with the presence of Elements. This design is a collaboration between Caroline Weaver and Baron Fig. Quite frankly I was waiting for this to happen and while the design is great, there are a few misses. In addition to my review, I sat down with Caroline to discuss a few things. Let's get to that first:
Me: What made you want to collaborate with Baron Fig?
Caroline: BF actually approached me about doing a pencil! I've known Joey and Adam since I first opened the shop since they're also in NYC and I love the products that they make. When they asked me to do a pencil with them I didn't think twice about it.
Me: Tell me a little bit about that process (designing, how much input you had, etc.)
Caroline: I worked through the concept with Baron Fig, they designed it and I approved it--it was all very easy because they did a great job capturing what I was going for. A big part of what I do in my job is educate people about pencils, so I thought this was a good opportunity to throw a little lesson into the actual design of the pencil. It was all collaborative, but I'm grateful that they trusted my opinion and my ideas. I can't really take any credit for the actual design--that's all them!
Me: What would be your dream pencil? Graphite, wood, finish, ferrule, eraser choices?
Caroline: Oh man! I don't even know. For years I was saying it was a double ended graphite/red pencil but then we made the Editor, so that exists now. BUT if I could really have anything, it would probably be Try-Rex shaped, with a good cedar barrel, the core of Mono 100 in F, an elaborate early 1900s-esque brass ferrule, a Matomaru-Kun eraser on the end and vertical stripes in burgundy and a nice red-orange.
Me: Are there any other CW collaborations in the works?
Caroline: Yes! Before the end of the year we'll release 3 more new products that we've been working on making with three different brands.
I want to thank Caroline for her time and willingness to participate. Also-- it's super exciting to know that there are not one, not two, but THREE CW collaborations coming soon! Now let's get to the meat and potatoes-- the review.
As a fan of bright colors, I wasn't wowed by the Elements Archer at first. That's my own subjective bias, so it's not a fault with the pencil, but muted colors are not for me. What I DID love were the symbols for each element of what goes into your average pencil. What was weird though is one of those symbols is for foil and this pencil has none. I get why that was used-- most pencils have foil imprinting, but this one doesn't and to the uninitiated pencil fanatic, they might be left feeling confused. One final aesthetic observation was the consistency of the finish on the pencils. This is not a problem with Baron Fig, but more of a problem with Viarco's quality control. When evenly lined up, some pencils either had a "wavy" transition between two colors or were dipped higher or lower (see picture below). I feel like I'm being a bit nitpicky here, but it's not fair to Baron Fig for Viarco to have so many issues with delivering a perfect product.
The way the Elements pencil writes is consistent with the other limited edition Archers I have reviewed in the past. The graphite is a bit harder than I like, but it seems to me like this batch has less imperfections re: grittiness than other Archers I have used. I sharpened up three different pencils and they all performed the same. I will say that a toothier paper is better to use with these pencils since the harder graphite feels as though it is "biting" into smoother paper at times. With all of this being said, I still like the Element. I'm a big fan of minimalist design and while the color scheme is not my cup of tea, the muted pink and slate gray work well together. Also, the iconography is brilliant and really like how it tells the complete story of how a pencil is constructed. One thing Baron Fig really has going for them is design and I have yet to encounter a product that is way off the mark from them (Okay, the mousepad was bit off there. Haha). You can pick them up here while they last!
***I received these pencils free of charge in exchange for a review. My opinions are mine and have not been influenced at all by free stuff.***