Product Spotlight

Learn More About the Different Types of Pencils Your Customers Use

Many companies use pencils in their promotional giveaways, but do you know how many pencil types there are? The truth is, there are hundreds of different pencil types used in all sorts of different industries. Artists, carpenters, students, accountants and more use different types of pencils every day. Read on and learn more about the different types of pencils that your customers may be using. 

What Is a Pencil?

A pencil is any writing instrument that uses a long stick of graphite or similar material to make markings. Pencils come in all sorts of sizes, shapes and materials for different uses. For example, a carpenter’s pencil has a rectangular or elliptical shape to make sure it doesn’t roll away. A golf pencil, on the other hand, is typically about 7.62 cm long and used for marking scores for sports.  

Mechanical Pencils

Mechanical pencils are becoming more and more popular. Wooden pencils can be messy because of the shavings that are made whenever they are sharpened. To resolve this, mechanical pencils don’t need to be shaved and instead push the graphite core up past the tip when you press a button or plunger. The core is refillable and has different levels of thickness available for different uses. The standard thickness is 0.7 mm and can be used in place of a pencil in most situations. 

Graphite Pencils

One of the most common pencil types is the graphite pencil, which is a pencil made with wood or a similar soft material around a graphite core. These pencils are used in schools and hospitals, for promotions and so much more. These pencils previously had lead cores, but when lead was discovered to be a health hazard, graphite became the new standard. Some people will still refer to the core of a pencil as the ‘pencil lead’ even though the pencil uses graphite. 

Solid Graphite Pencils

Also called ‘woodless pencils’, these pencils are entirely made of graphite without the wooden exterior. These pencils are often used by artists for sketches and drawings. Because they have more writing surface area, they are excellent for shading in pencil drawings. 

Liquid Pencils

Liquid pencils are traditionally not a pencil at all, but rather liquid graphite which is used in a similar way to watercolour paints. Liquid graphite is typically packaged in a jar or tube and applied with a paint brush. You can lighten the colour by adding water, and even erase to a certain extent with water or a rubber eraser. Some companies are now also offering that same liquid graphite inside a pen to be used just like a pencil. 

Charcoal Pencils

Charcoal pencils are another pencil type used by artists. They are just like traditional pencils in shape, but use charcoal in the core instead of graphite. Artists can also purchase them in a form much like the solid graphite pencil, where the charcoal is shaped like a pencil but doesn’t have the same wooden exterior coating. 

Carbon Pencils

Carbon pencils are a type of charcoal pencil where the charcoal has been treated to be harder and less dusty. Also used by artists, this pencil is popular for producing less mess when sketching and for having a strong core. Whether or not this is better for the artist depends on their art style and use preferences. 

Coloured Pencils

Coloured pencils are another great tool for artists, but can be used in the office as well. These are traditional pencils with coloured cores that can be used for art or organising handwritten notes. Coloured pencils are often given as promotional gifts with custom branding alongside colouring books or gifts for children. 

Grease Pencils

Grease or wax pencils are another artistic pencil type. They contain a soft core of coloured wax that can be used to write on glass, ceramic, metal, paper and more. While some may compare them to crayons, these pencils are stronger and their markings last longer than many crayons and are popular for decorating crafts. 

Watercolour Pencils

Watercolour pencils are a great alternative to watercolour paints for artists who want to minimise mess while painting. These are traditional pencil shapes with a core made from dry watercolour, which artists can draw with just as they would with a coloured pencil. After marking the paper, artists then can create watercolour effects and blend colours together by using water on a paint brush to blur the markings made by the pencil.  

Pencil types by HB scale

This scale is based on letters (three of them) and numbers between 2 and 9. ‘H’ stands for ‘hard’ and produces a lighter, thinner line. ‘B’ stands for ‘bold/black’ and produces a darker, denser line. The numbers indicate the degree of hardness or blackness. The higher the number, the bolder/blacker (in the case of B pencils) or harder (in the case of H pencils) the lead is going to be. There’s also an ‘F’, which stands for ‘fine’ and stays sharp much longer than a B or even an H pencil. There’s only one type of F pencil so no number gradations are necessary to indicate degrees of ‘fineness’. One of the most standard pencils is an HB (both hard and bold). 

Whether they’re watercolour, wax, or even liquid, there are all sorts of types of pencils that your customers may be using at work and for their art. This is by no means a comprehensive list of pencil types, and there are many different pencils that you can give your customers as promotional products. No matter what your industry, you’re guaranteed to be able to find a pencil type that works for your company, your brand and your style. 

If you would like to discover more about pencils check out our blog post ‘Solving the Graphite Pencil Mystery: What Is Pencil Lead Made Of?’ 


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