Exercise five: An object I love, an object I hate

I love my Copic markers – particularly the type I have. Copic markers (from what I’ve seen) come in 4 types of marker shafts: ciao, original, sketch and wide. In terms of affordance, the ‘sketch’ type markers are in my opinion the best, hence why I prefer to buy those now. Not only does the oval shape of the shaft prevent the marker from falling off your work surface, I find that it is also the most comfortable fit for my hand while drawing. This may be a subjective factor, however I find that the ‘original’ shaft is too bulky and awkward to be comfortable for extended drawing.

The inside of the cap is constrained with a sloped surface to guide the tip of the marker as you cap it, it’s nice if you’re the type to quickly mash a cap on without thinking. This prevents the nib from wearing out quickly due to being crushed against the walls of the cap. The sound and feeling of a click indicates the pen is capped securely.

While mapping isn’t applicable to this object, the visibility of it is great. There are icons printed on the shaft to indicate which end is the brush and broad tip for first time users. But for users who are familiar with the object, there is a dark grey band to indicate the brush end for those who are glancing quickly. The colour of the marker is indicated at each end of the cap, and the specific number is also printed on it. There’s no possibility of picking up the wrong colour or even recapping the wrong marker, because those colour numbers are printed on the shaft as well.

An object I hate is my set of Staedtler Triplus fineliners. The supposedly ergonomic triangular shape of the shaft affects the affordance of capping the pen. Generally I have to stop and rotate the cap to match up the triangular shape of the shaft and cap before I can fully press the cap on. Little pauses like this add up to an annoying interruption while drawing. Though the triangular shaft, as well as the clip on the cap, prevents the pen from rolling around, I would much prefer a pen that is more efficiently capped.

Again, as with most, if not all, pens, the sound and feeling of a click indicates that the pen is capped securely. My set of pens came with a plastic case. The case is molded to constrain how the pens are placed into the case; there are rounded shafts to fit the pen. However, there is also an indent to fit the pen clip. So again, I have to rotate the pens to match the pen clip and shaft shape to the casing, making cleaning up a bit of a puzzle game. (You know that game from the 90s where you’re timed and you have to match up these little geometric shapes to holes in a board? Once the time limit is up, it pops all the pieces up at you.)

There is no mapping needed for this object, the order in which you put the pens in the case makes little difference (besides the purely aesthetic).

Visibility is good; the pen colour is indicated both on the cap and the end of the pen. There is even a little sticker to show that the case can be manipulated to make a stand, and the user gets feedback by the click of the casing.