Design Instruct Basics: The 8 Things We Love Right Now

Sure, these are just things. They won’t give you magical powers or instantly make you better at your jobs. However, everything in this list is a pleasure to use. And sometimes, that’s all the motivation we need to get our work done. Palomino Blackwing 602

You’ve probably heard of this pencil. Many writers have sworn by it and it has quite the cult following. The original Blackwing 602, produced by Eberhard-Faber, was discontinued in 1998 and due to their popularity with writers and artists, immediately became highly sought-after objects (reputedly costing as much as $40 USD per pencil after their discontinuation). I’ve personally never had the pleasure of using the original Blackwing 602’s. However, from what I’ve been able to learn about these newer Palomino Blackwing 602 pencils, they are a worthy reincarnation of the original. $22.49 on

Zebra F-301

It may not be the fanciest or the most innovative pen on the market right now but the Zebra F-301 holds a special place in my heart. This pen has been around for a long time and with good reason. Just look at it! It has that classic handsome look, it feels great to write with, and even better still, they’re very affordable. As a lefty with a fairly heavy hand, I find it difficult to find pens that I really like but the Zebra F-301 will always have a place on my desk. $4.37 on

Baron Fig Notebooks

Sometimes notebooks are just notebooks. Other times, they become essential tools for the people who use them. The folks at Baron Fig are aiming for the latter. The dimensions of their notebook make you feel like you want to write on them all day, they look great, and it opens flat which makes it a great choice for left-handed people, like myself. I first heard about Baron Fig from the early days of their Kickstarter campaign and I remember thinking that if they got their books funded, they will definitely make a lot of people happy. Judging by their recent success, it seems a lot of people thought the same. Moleskine Notebooks

Surely, you’ve come across Moleskine notebooks. I have a tall stack of them in my office drawer and I carry a small, black pocket-sized Moleskine when I know I’ll be out and about the whole day. Moleskines are somewhat expensive (as notebooks go) but there is something about their classic, understated nature and beautiful writing surfaces that makes owning one (or several) a real treat. $14.85 on


Sugru is the Irish word for “play” but this is truly serious stuff. Sugru is a pliable rubber substance used to fix or improve everyday items. It sticks to almost any surface and cures to form any shape you mold it into. Best of all, it’s completely removable. You can add a customized grip to your favorite pen or fix a broken charging cable or maybe you want to add a grippy surface to your camera. The possibilities are endless. Check out Sugru’s guides to see what people have been doing with Sugru. Nerdwax

Glasses are great. That is, if they stay manage to stay in place. Unfortunately, sometimes glasses have a bad habit of sliding down our noses and we have to constantly push them back up. Nerdwax may be the answer we’ve all been waiting for. It looks like lip balm but this stuff actually goes on the nose pads of your glasses to help them stick to your face a little better. Nerdwax is also made of organic and natural ingredients to avoid irritating your skin. It is currently available only through their Kickstarter campaign. SteelSeries Sensei (Raw Edition)

For digital creatives and professionals who work on a computer all day, your choice in computer mice can make a big difference in the way you work. The Steelseries Sensei is technically a gaming mouse which basically means that it is highly accurate while tracking your hand’s movement and your clicks. The Raw Edition of this Sensei Mouse features a rubberized coating on its surfaces perfect for keeping your grip during marathon sessions on your computer. This is a personal favorite of Design Instruct’s Managing Editor, Jacob Gube. $47.16 on

Western Digital My Passport Ultra 2TB

Another favorite of Jacob, this 2 terabyte portable external hard drive is a godsend when he’s away from the office. It is small with a sleek design and a large capacity making it a great choice for keeping files handy during travel. $116.39 on

Tell us about some of your favorite items in the comments section below.