How soon do you think pencils will become completely redundant?

Obviously, everyone here is either a fan, collector or user of relatively high-end pencils. However, whenever I buy high-end pencils, I have a slight fear in the back of my head about the eventual phase-out of paper. Obviously, this is very far into the future, as I don’t feel anything is currently threatening an imminent end of paper products, but I do feel like it will happen eventually.

This fear is usually pushed back due to the whistle-blower nature of it, but it does still leave me questioning: How soon do you all think that pens, paper, and pencils will all be deemed redundant by the expansion of computer technology?


Never. There will never be a day where everyone has good access to computers that is good enough to turn paper and pen redundant. The use in professional works (drafting, art, writing, …) may be dying out but I can see it surviving strongly as a traditional thing.

I think of it the same way one can think about letters, it may not be necessary anymore and “better ways” may appear but there will still be a passion for it.


Knockology is a no-lasers-in-MPs zone.


When I was a child I worried that one day the graphite would run out and lead production would stop.

I do not think that paper, pencils, mechanical pencils, and other stationery items will stop produced because they have been replaced by digital technology. What I do see in the mechanical pencil industry is a standardization of models for mass consumption, cheap plastic bodies, rubber grips and few bold design models.


It’s a great question.

Many thought the ballpoint pen would eliminate the fountain pen. And not only did sales drop, but people couldn’t even give them away, except for the luxury end like Montblanc and Pelikan. Same could be said of mechanical watches, displaced by quartz accuracy. In both cases, there were adept companies who made bold moves and reestablished markets for these items.

The cheap mechanical pencil has always been around and will continue to be. The higher end ones dropped off down to something like less than 1% of all pencils made. Manual drafting was hurt so badly by CAD. Certainly outside of luxury brand companion mechanical pencils to fountain and ballpoint pens, great quality mechanical pencils have seen a rebirth. I think part of that is relative cost. ¥3000 back in the 1970’s/1980’s was a lot of money! Ignoring the enormous price jumps of various coveted vintage pencils, todays ¥3000 yen buys a lot more pencil.

Anyway, as long as paper is manufactured? There will be mechanical pencils made. Perhaps in some very distant future when paper is supremely expensive and technology so advanced that you can write with a digital stylus so precise and microscopically accurate that it’s capable of switching between writing modes (fountain pen, ballpoint, rollerball, felt tip, brush, calligraphy nib, mechanical pencil) that not only look the part but feel it as well (attenuating friction and texture)… we’ll still have mechanical pencils. Certainly they’ll remain around in our lifetimes.


Coming from industrial design background and currently working for a Japanese OEM, I have seen only a small percentage of designers along with myself still using pencils and paper to sketch. The younger generation prefers only wacom. It was a total shock to me as I thought with so many local legendary mp manufacturers people would atleast consider it as a valid tool but nope. I got greedy once and asked my boss to order few Rotrings and prismacolors and they turned down my request. So the end could be nearer than I expected atleast in my field of work.


“I’m trying to send this design to the 3D printer but I can’t find the `import from paper sketch’ option, what should I do?”

High end drafting pencils have become completely unnecessary already. CAD killed the mechanical pencil just like quartz killed the mechanical watch. Now they are enthusiast tools, and that’s perfectly fine. That’s precisely the reason they’re rising in price, just like mechanical watches. We spend money on things we like and enjoy.