Prismacolor Writing Instruments

Sustaining Growth in a Digital Future

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Client Newell Brands
Work Strategy
Industrial Design
User Experience
User Interface

This project was a Newell brands sponsored project through ArtCenter College of Design. Newell Brand’s Prismacolor business produces high-quality writing products reaching both to professional and to artists. With many professional artists and designers moving from traditional mediums like paper to screens, it is vital to envision how Prismacolor, the biggest color pencils, and makers brand, can translate its core brand value into a digital future.

The two objectives of the project were to evolve the Prismacolor Premier product line to become the preferred choice for professional artist & designers, and to create a 10-year strategic roadmap for Prismacolor

Prismacolors visual brand language and industrial design needed to reflect the core values the brand felt its consumer wanted from their creative tools. They felt their consumer wanted their tools to have high perceived value, a sense of elegance and finishes that reflected a luxury experience. Prismacolors competitors were doing well in the marker segment of the market with their modern, simple brand language.


“I hate when my tools break my flow. I just want to throw it in the trash if it takes me away from my work.”


Early user interviews and user testing of study models led me to two key insights. People wanted to remain in a flow state. They didn’t want their creative tools to hinder their focus. The other was that after testing many shapes and sizes of markers and pencils, I  found that cylinder-shaped drawing tools work best. The round shape lets you roll the instrument in your hand and position it in whatever way the user see fit. There were also different grips to gain certain effects that were more difficult with non-cylindrical shapes.

I sketched a variety of concepts exploring packaging, a point of sale, graphic applications, and color material finishes considerations.


The use of third spaces for creative people is increasing. These spaces inspire their work and provide them new places to think and create. Using the Prismacolor packaging as a mobile workstation and easy way to transport, protect and contain creative tools helped keep people in their flow state.


The overall design language of the markers, pencils, and packaging is consistent throughout each object. The repetition of shape, full color, and metal detailing make up the overall look. The packaging contains an entire color hue family.

The packaging can be converted into a mobile workstation for use at third spaces, and in home studios. The rounded ends make packing easy. The packaging also contains any leaking markers or pencil shavings.


The elegant and simple design focuses on the color as the defining element of the design which is core to Prismacolor’s core values. The rounded caps reflect light and catch purchasers attention on the shelf. The metal band wrapping the marker indicates the chisel tip end and gives that marker a more luxurious and premium feel. Its shape conveys a feeling of an expensive cigar or cosmetic case while also adding ease while storing.

The casing of the marker is designed with a small counterweight to prevent rolling. This counterweight always rotates the brand logo and color identification to the top, which makes tool selection remain in flow and promotes brand awareness.


Prismacolor’s strategy for sustaining growth in a digital future

Prismacolor’s Lightbox is the first move toward their digital future


Prismacolor’s bridge product Lightbox helps them become a top name in interactive online art education, a powerful online art retailer with in-app purchases, and an innovator in digital creativity tools. Lightbox can be used to convert the large number on new user focused on adult coloring convert to long-term art supply customers. Kids can also learn in a safe app environment to learn drawing skills. The online tutorials, in-app direct purchasing, and paper for lightbox are all new forms of revenue for Prismacolor.

This is how Lightbox works

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