warrior.jpgHerman Miller's Lifework blog today turns the company's impeccable eye to a design object most of us take for granted: The lowly pencil. Blogger Brian Greene highlights five models, from the Mirado Black Warrior (probably the closest pencil in the bunch to the iconic, schoolbus-yellow Ticonderoga #2) to the exotic mechanical Kuru Toga, which "has a tiny clutch mechanism built into the point, and as you write, the pressure from writing and then lifting the pencil off the paper engages the clutch mechanism that rotates the lead for you. This auto-rotating mechanism not only ensures a constantly sharp point, but it also results in far fewer broken points." The rarest is probably the Eberhard Faber Blackwing (out of production, but available on eBay and elsewhere at prices approaching $40 per). The most delicious is certainly the $1.20 Smencil, which is fabricated from newspaper and scented with essences of root beer, watermelon, cinnamon and black cherry — although Greene, who also blogs at OfficeSupplyGeek, does request that readers don't chew pencils, because "I don't want to get sued." Fair enough. (Illustration by Jordan Awan for Lifework.)