Posts filed under Craft Design Technology

Craft Design Technology A5 Notepad Review

It’s a rare day when I miss a cool Japanese stationery product, but the Craft Design Technology A5 Notepad escaped my field of view until Caroline Weaver of C.W. Pencil Enterprises mentioned it to Myke and I on Episode 252 of The Pen Addict Podcast.

I’ve reviewed other Craft Design Technology (CDT for short) products in the past, and I refer to them as a design firm in the stationery business. They don’t manufacture their own goods, but partner with existing brands to reimagine products with the CDT aesthetic. Most of that aesthetic involves mint green.

For this notepad, CDT partnered with Life Notebooks. It is a desk pad with top-perforated sheets in an A5 size. The paper is Life’s standard cream colored offering with a mint green grid - aka the CDT touch.

The quality of this notepad - as expected - is top notch. The construction is solid, and the paper performance with nearly any pen and pencil is perfect. The grid pattern is even printed on both sides, which is not something you always see when a plain border is used around the edge of the page.

What surprised me the most about the paper was how it handled pencil. With a cream colored background I thought graphite would blend in and be hard to see, but the opposite took place. It practically jumps off the page with HB and 2B grades and looks great. I see why Caroline likes this pad so much.

If you are waiting for the hammer to drop on this product, here it is. It’s $12 for a 50 page notepad. This is Craft Design’s modus operandi. They collaborate with other brands and put the CDT twist on existing products. That comes at a cost. A simple example is the Camel HB pencil. The standard model from Camel is $1.50. The CDT Camel HB is $2.00. The internals are the same, only the color and stamping on the pencil are different.

A 50 cent increase on a pencil isn’t a large sum of money, but you see where this is headed as you climb the ladder. I’m not opposed to this business model by any stretch - I own several CDT products that I enjoy. I just want you to be aware that you are paying for minty freshness, not added performance. But sometimes all it takes is a fresh coat of paint for me to open my wallet.

(I paid full price for these goods with my own money.)


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Posted on August 14, 2017 and filed under Craft Design Technology, Notebook Reviews.

Craft Design Technology Chrome Ball Point Pen Review

Craft Design Technology is a unique Japanese stationery brand whose mission statement is to marry "modern design with Japanese heritage of traditional craft and technology innovation." Their beautiful green packaging has been on my radar for a while and when Rikumo reached out to me offering a couple of products for review I was excited to take a look.

The first item I chose from Rikumo was the Craft Design Technology Chrome Ball Point Pen - Item 22, CDT's take on the classic business ballpoint. This is the type of pen I picture in my grandfather's shirt pocket, on my dad's office desk, or in a Mad Men client meeting. It exudes style and class.

Most pen companies in the 1950's through 1970's leaned heavy on this design and CDT has done their best to refine it. The chrome barrel is a stunner. It is so shiny it is hard to photograph for a hack like me, but in person it makes a statement. I could do without the CDT branding - just their logo would have been nicer - but I would be lying if I said I didn't like the whole "Item 22" thing. Something about that cracks me up. It is so Japanese, and I love it.

As with all writing products in this line, the chrome ball point is built in conjunction with Pentel and therefore uses Pentel refills. The 0.8 mm ballpoint is average at best. The darkness of the ink is excellent, but it is prone to being messy and there is even some spidering (a string of ink between letters/words when lifting the pen of the page.) In the abstract it looks fine, but on closer inspection I expect more.

Getting down to brass tacks, the Craft Design Technology Chrome Ball Point Pen is a value proposition. At $65, this is not a cheap pen, so are the benefits worth the price? I don't think so. The design is excellent and CDT's goals are admirable, but the value isn't there. There is a long list of pens that I would choose over Item 22.

There are Craft Design Technology items that look like they would suit my writing needs better and I hope to try out more soon. This is a company that is well worth keeping an eye on. Big thanks to Rikumo for sending me this pen for review. Be sure to check out their online shop for more wonderful Japanse imports or drop in to their brick and mortar store if you are in Philadelphia area.

Posted on June 9, 2014 and filed under Ballpoint, Pen Reviews, Craft Design Technology.