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Important Note:

This page deals with products exclusively from the morons at Staedtler Inc., USA.  The real Staedtler of Germany is impeccable and I regret that web searches will find the name Staedtler on a page containing many harsh words. 

Many harsh words indeed.  I have attempted to edit the page for style on several occasions, but every time I conclude that the vulgaraties are perfectly appropriate given the context.

Staedtler 980 (type 1)

Staedtler 980 &
Staedtler 980 SBKV “Technical Pencil Value Pack”

(type 1)

Staedtler Inc., Chatsworth, California, USA; Mississauga, Ontario, Canada (divisions of the German company)

lead diameter
mechanism
composition
variations
production date
origin
2 mm
pushbutton incremental advance clutch
all metal except for the clutch of all things
none
2000 to 2004
Taiwan
  Staedtler 980

above Lead pointer/eraser from the 980 SBKV set.

below Lead box from the same set.

Note the typeface used for “Sharpener” above and “m/m” below. I’ve coined the term Chinese Default Roman Distorted to describe the peculiarly horrible typefaces that appear on all manner of products made in China. On the bottom of toys and electronics especially, you can find the most horrendous typography. I would expect most businesses that farm out their manufacturing to countries with slave “cheap” labor to take some care to insure that the labels and prominent graphics on the products are done in accordance with the company style guide, but the styling of the little notes that tell you how to put the batteries in and whatnot is apparently left to the discretion of the manufacturer. In China, (and apparently Taiwan) the type invariably chosen for this purpose is a Roman serif type similar to the familiar Times Roman that looks as though it might have been the default font shipped with AutoCAD in 1987 and has been vertically distorted in a clumsy attempt at forming a condensed face.
special features pointer in removable pushbutton
see also Alvin “Ben”
ATI Technical Pencil 1200
Staedtler 980


Let me apologize in advance, dear reader, for the content of the letter which follows. If you are easily offended by strong language or references to deviant sexual practices involving stationery products then you might want to fuck off now rather than wait until after the gratuitous vulgarities start flying.

2007 May 3

Dear Mr. or Ms. Person-at-Staedtler-U.S.A-with-authority, and/or Person-who-opens-unsolicited-mail-and-hopefully-forwards-it-to-person-with-some-authority,

Your parent company, Staedtler, Germany, has been a leader in pencil manufacturing for hundreds of years. They have a long tradition of tasteful and thoughtful design of their products and the newest iteration of the Lumograph pencil is no exception. It is beautiful and my favorite wood pencil to actually use. Recently the Staedtler identity has been updated and the revised logo, with minor differences, is actually a reversion to that used in the 1960s and 70s. A very clean, and tasteful, um... Mars the Roman God of War’s head, I guess it is. I was very impressed to see that. It took courage and farsightedness to admit that the logo they had been using for 30 years was an amorphous turd and that no one could tell what the hell it was. Someone in the company has been showing a deep commitment to design issues that is often sorely lacking in corporate management today. It is easy to imagine an entirely new logo with color gradients and drop shadows and all manner of graphic offenses, but the leaders of Staedtler looked to the past to find the future and have moved forward because of it.

That said, I must myself move forward and come to the purpose of this letter. Attached, I have included an image of one of your more recent products, the Staedtler, U. S. A. 980 SBKV Technical Value Pack.  What the fuck?  It would seem to be an inevitable consequence of the long trend toward economic globalization that you outsource manufacturing to countries with slave wages, but to purchase a pre-designed piece of garbage like the 980, manufactured by malnourished, underpaid, indentured serfs in some “developing country” is a disgraceful practice.

Did you even consider at least having someone from corporate sign-off on the packaging?  Surely there must be some manner of oversight in place to prevent the placement of Chinese Default Roman Distorted type next to your corporate logo on the sharpener and lead box?

Goddamn it, Staedtler U.S.A., have some respect for yourself! 

Look, what the hell is the unit “m/m” on the lead box? I’ll tell you what it is, it’s a ratio!  Two meters / one meter = Two.  Two what?  Two nothings.  Just two.  That’s what it says on the box, you sloppy fucks!  I have half a mind to come right over there and insert two Staedtler 980 SBKV Technical Value Packs up your ass, Mr. or Ms. God-how-I-wish-person-who-opens-unsolicited-mail-would-have-forwarded-this-letter-to-someone-else!

Regretfully,
Dennis B. Smith
Leadholder.com
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

Staedtler 980Staedtler 980
Staedtler 980 (type 2)

Staedtler 980 &
Staedtler 980 SBKV “Technical Pencil Value Pack”

(type 2)

Staedtler Inc., Chatsworth, California, USA; Mississauga, Ontario, Canada (divisions of the German company)

lead diameter
mechanism
composition
variations
production date
origin
2 mm
pushbutton spring clutch
plastic barrel, metal fittings
none
2005 to (present, 2007)
China
  Staedtler 980
above Lead pointer/eraser from the 980 SBKV set.

below Lead box from the same set.
special features lead pointer in removable pushbutton
see also Staedtler Mars 780 (short grip) drafting leadholder
Staedtler 980

Everybody laugh. Ha ha ha ha!  Oh, and point your fingers too at the moron responsible for the mess that is the Staedtler 980 SBKV Technical Pencil Value Pack.  Ha ha (point) ha ha ha!  Good, now everybody say “what a dumbass,” and point and laugh.  Ha ha (point) “what a fucking dumbass!”  Ha ha ha!  Oh, that was great.  Nice use of “fucking” to emphasize what a dumbass this person is.

I had told myself I would tone down the crude language used in some of my comments on Leadholder and try to be a touch more scholarly.  Then I got this “Value Pack” at Staples.

Where to begin?  The logo.  Un-fucking-believable!  Below on the left is the new (2005) Staedtler logo as designed by Staedtler Germany.  On the right is the logo as it appears on the contents of the 980 SBKV package.  Good.  God.  All.  Mighty.  The “artwork” apparently had to be recreated from a fax of a photocopy of a discarded letterhead retrieved from the trash bin to be in a format suitable for use in the state-of-the-art crooked imprinting machine at the factory in China.

Staedtler 980 Staedtler 980

But, I don’t think the blame for this debacle lies with those on the manufacturing end.  Being a designer, I’ve encountered many situations in which the client has failed to provide suitable materials for the job at hand.  Under such conditions the designer must work with what he has.   No, the fault here lies squarely on the moron that we laughed so heartily at earlier in this writeup.  The one who works at Staedtler USA. He obviously couldn’t be bothered to send suitable artwork to the manufacturer.  Nor could he waste his time actually doing his job and examining the samples sent for approval by the manufacturer.   He was apparently too busy failing to notice that the instructions for opening the lead box printed on the back of the package refer to an entirely different product to be bothered with such trifles.

 
Staedtler 980 Staedtler 980

Now, about the products contained in the fucked-up package.

Staedtler 980 (type 2)A 1980s example with simplified pocket clip.
Staedter Mars 780