What would you do with the paint used on yellow pencils?

Musgrave Pencil Co posted this stunning photo of their pencil manufacturing facilities.

The contrast of the bright yellow happy paint against the industrial machine is quite the contrast! It would be fun to have the same yellow paint used to paint pencils.

What would you do with this yellow paint?

A few starting ideas:

  • Paint a canvas all yellow, then draw on it with a pencil
  • Paint a box all yellow, and store your pencils in it.
  • Paint a pen to look like a pencil.
  • Paint an Optimus Prime toy to look like Bumblebee.

Why are pencils yellow?

Artsy.net explains The Little-Known Reason Pencils Are Yellow

A number of pencil manufacturers, including Hardtmuth, now sourced their graphite from Siberia—the vast Russian province which shares borderland with China. That geographic proximity was key for Hardtmuth as it devised its marketing scheme.

In China, yellow had long been tied to royalty. The legendary ruler considered the progenitor of Chinese civilization was known as the Yellow Emperor; thus, centuries later in Imperial China only the royal family was allowed to wear yellow. Eventually, the shade came to represent happiness, glory, and wisdom.

Hardtmuth settled on yellow to communicate the graphite’s geographical origins, while also linking its product to the long-held Chinese associations of royalty, and therefore superiority.

All along the Autobot Bumblebee was an imperial color? He’s more a side-kick character, not a royal leader… Although, in the 1980s comics, Bumblebee was the Autobot leader after Optimus Prime died. Hmmm, maybe his yellow color helped convince his fellow Autobots to make him leader.

What else uses this imperial yellow?

Nikon uses this yellow.

Nikon is indeed a premium photography brand. Plus, Nikon comes from Japan, so maybe there is some intentional use with yellow in the Nikon logo.

Nikon’s current branding page says:

The current brand symbol was created in 2003 to help foster an image for the Nikon brand that matched the needs of the time. The graphic’s sequential rays represent future possibilities while the yellow symbolizes expansion and passion, and the black portrays reliability and quality.

(Bolding mine)

Expansion and passion? Not quite the royal meaning. What does “expansion” even mean in the context of Nikon. The market for Nikon is expanding? The product demand is growing? I guess? If we view expansion through the imperial lens, there is kind of a connection. All of that is what Nikon said in 2003 after the fact that they have been using yellow for years. What about the origins of yellow and Nikon?

Interestingly enough, Nikon has an official page for the history of their branding. Yusaku Kamekura first designed the Nikon logo in 1956. No image appears on this page for 1956. But they do have a 1968 logo, stating “the design was improved by Kamekura in 1968 and then officially adopted.”

No mention of yellow or the intended meaning in 1956/1968.

As a side-note, here’s Nikon’s logo in 1949. It totally looks like something designed in the 2020s.

Before today I never connected yellow pencils with Nikon cameras. But I love both pencils and my Nikon, so that’s kinda cool, I guess.

Mcdonald’s also uses yellow

Although McDonald’s yellow is most likely to mimic the color of their fries. But it’s fun to think of McDonald’s having the same imperialist expansion desires of Nikon. Maybe. Maybe.

What would you paint with the yellow pencil paint?

Let me know in the comments.

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Ewok Lumat
Ewok Lumat
1 year ago

I’d coat Stormtroopers with the yellow paint, and call them ‘Pencilheads’

Atour Riten
Atour Riten
1 year ago

I would paint the edges of the stairs by the Death Star library, so P-RC-3 would stop tripping on them.

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