Although simple in functionality, few writing or desk tools have been reimagined quite as much as the humble pencil sharpener. Whether your Prismacolor-sharpening technique consists of microwaving the pencil for 8-seconds before hand sharpening to avoid lead breakage, or if you prefer chiseling away at an old carpenter’s pencil with a gardener’s knife, there really is no wrong method so long as it results in a sharp lead point.

More recently, this was the topic of a design school project at the Design and Art of the Free University of Bolzano, where faculty members Claudio Larcher, Eugenia Morpurgo, and Alvise Mattozzi put 20 young designers up to the challenge of reinterpreting the pencil sharpener.

With the simple goal of getting the lead to a sharpened point, the group of design students developed some relatively unique new interpretations of how one can achieve the perfect point.

Here’s a few of our favorites:






You can check out all 21 of the La Matita Rossa designs here. If reading this made you want to put the stylus down and pick up a pencil again, check these out.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.