Mindful Design

Thinking about impact: Pencilcase

This project focuses on the design und build quality of a pencil-case that is made out of recycled materials. The goal was to create a product that is customizable and visibly ages with time in order to get character.

Currently it is very hard to find study equipment that is designed so simple and timeless that it actually suits for any age and for any state of study. We enter school with the age of 5 or 6 and, when seeking for a higher education, usually leave university in our twenties. In this very long time span we not just gain knowledge but develop most of our entire personality. And we buy stuff to achieve that - dozens of pencils, books, papers, using cases and bags to carry all our things around and having them with us. Often we replace what we have, guided by a changing mind that likes the color purple today but favors green tomorrow. This project, however, is based on a scenario in which we keep our pencil-case for a lifetime. In which one product resembles what we like, no matter how old we are or where we study. A case made out of recycled materials that resembles our individuality and that can be adapted if we decide one day to change our favorite color from purple to green.

Going back in time

Today's market offers three distinct forms for pencil cases: (1) Flat and book-shaped cases that are handled like briefcases and are often made out of leather or some sort of fabrics; (2) Bulky sized cases with a zipper on top that give room for quite a lot of pencils and are made out of leather or fabrics; (3) Small and rather flat cases for a few number of pencils, mostly made out of plastic or aluminum. All those cases often determine a color and personality at the time of purchase and are not aimed to change their appearance over time. However, when looking back one or two generations, there has been a specific kind of pencil case in nearly every class room: a small box with a lid that could be slid into the body to cover the content. Those cases were made out of wood and got their own sort of personality while being used over a lifetime. I decided to take these antique boxes as a source of inspiration. They become individual objects over time while still being timeless and simple.

Made from recycled materials

The pencil-case is made out of MDF residuals that are cut using a laser cutter. The thin sidewalls of the case allow using even small residual parts that can then be glued together.

Natural look and feel

The wood residuals provide a natural look and feel. The pencil-case intentionally darkens over time and ages in its appearance.


Inserted into the sidewalls of the case are little magnets that hold the lid when closed. The lid can be stored under the case, too. The lid also functions as a ruler.


The lid can be replaced: Different engravings allow for a new look of the entire case. MDF allows to be colored with standard pencils, if desired.
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