When everything always seems to be available in limitless quantities, there is an increasing desire for special things with a unique aura. This is where limited edition product lines are the perfect answer – just as the limited editions of our Art & Graphic range show.
The Italian designer-duo Dolce & Gabbana is selling limited edition sneakers with neon highlights and a skateboard in leopard print, while the cult cosmetics brand Mac is reserving beauty kits in rosé for the first customers to place an order, and the British brand Burberry is now selling its Lola handbags right off the runway in the very exclusive number of 100 examples for each design. These latest examples from the lifestyle cosmos represent a trend that holds its own despite (or because of) general mass production and consumption. In short, limited editions are in demand. Customers want more individuality, and companies want to make an impact, whether it’s with elaborate art books or exquisite watches, luxury cars or everyday objects. This is exactly how Zippo lighters were made into collectors’ items with an edition limited to 500.
Resonance that extends to all brand segments
Limited editions can become cherished collectors’ items, creating far more resonance than simply generating a short moment of attention. Since limited editions are distinguished by a lovingly devised twist in the way they are made – which is defined in business terms as “atypicality” – limited editions ideally represent the values and spirit of the company. The kind of appeal that is evoked by a successful limited edition generates positive appeal for all of the brand’s other segments. A study on the subject that was conducted by the retail magazine retail.at concluded that this effect can play a decisive role in the premium positioning of the entire brand – provided the limited editions really do perfectly fit both the product and the brand.
So too, with Faber Castell’s Art & Graphic limited editions: the beautifully made boxes radiate a best-of-class quality standard in the most beautiful and colourful way. Along with the products for children that have pedagogical value and promote creativity, sustainable growth is, above all, expected from the segment of fine writing instruments and accessories. This is where the Art & Graphic range really has an image-building impact. With its extensive and vivid colour range, the product range extends from polychromos artists’ pens and pencils to the Pitt Graphite series. These pencils and pens appeal through their brilliant colours and their specially crafted ability to resist fading from sunlight. These drawing and painting instruments for artists also appeal to everyone who wants to celebrate the use of pens and pencils on paper.
Historical boxes as inspiration
The best raw materials, the most modern production methods, and first-class craftmanship: with these quality criteria, Lothar von Faber created a range of high-quality products in the middle of the 19th century that are still exemplary to this day. The entrepreneurial pioneer also set new standards in presentation. He would travel to meet customers personally and supported these engagements with artistically crafted, carefully arranged sample boxes. One such display box from the year 1880 was made with embossed metal and cast figures in Greek style. The box was a mobile treasure trove for presenting Faber’s writing and drawing instruments to his customers like pieces of jewellery that were selected especially for them. This kind of display delighted viewers at once. Customers nowadays enjoy the same kind of delight with historical boxes and limited editions with contemporary artists’ materials.
The Anniversary Case
With a special display case, the first sense of delight is immediately followed by further joy that comes with the desire to have and hold these beautiful instruments. The limited edition Art & Graphic wood case that Faber-Castell presented in 2011 for its 250th company birthday tantalises the senses with this testament to the company’s constantly refining craftsmanship. “The best of a quarter of a millennium of experience in the development and production of exclusive artists’ products,” reads the brochure for this limited edition wenge-wood-stained cassette box. The brochure explains the contents and their backgrounds as if it were a program booklet for an opera. The anniversary case contains 120 Polychromos artists' colour pencils and 120 Albrecht Dürer watercolour pencils, as well as 120 Polychromos artists' pastels, 60 individual colours of Pitt pastels and 15 Castell 9000 pencils in various degrees of hardness. Individually removable, hinged drawers present multi-faceted colour nuances with characteristic Faber-Castell aesthetics. Watercolour brushes, water bowls, erasers and other high-quality accessories complete the product. For this limited edition, exactly 1761 anniversary cases were produced to commemorate the year the company was founded. Each case comes with an individual plate embossed with its own serial number making each one unmistakably unique. This gives the case the twofold effect of individually acknowledging each case owner with their own serial number, as well as being more firmly bound to the company history with the same number of boxes made as the year of the company’s foundation.
The next highlight in the company’s more recent history has been enriching the cosmos of creatives and artists since 2016. The KARLBOX was designed by the celebrated fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. Collaborations with famous designers from other fields are often undertaken for limited editions, as is currently the case with numerous exclusive fashion labels that are collaborating with creatives from the worlds of pop music and streetwear. But the KARLBOX is far more than a short-lived fashionable object and rather more of a crowning glory of an intense, long-term working relationship. Over the course of his career, this celebrated designer (1933-2019) created countless illustrations, design sketches and book projects with products from Faber-Castell. These include the design for Countess Mary von Faber-Castell’s wedding dress in 1987. For the KARLBOX, Lagerfeld created something like Haute Couture for artists’ drawing instruments. The glossy pitch-black box, in the style of a Chinese marriage box, contains 350 exquisite drawing and painting instruments that are sorted in drawers according to their colour tone, from soft pastel colours to bright, rich tones. The order of the colours was determined by Lagerfeld himself, as was the choice of pens, pencils, and pastels. Karl Lagerfeld preferred to use Albrecht Dürer watercolour pencils, so it's no surprise that this edition, limited to 2,500 KARBOXs contained all 120 colours from this palette.
Anniversary Edition 111 Years of Polychromos
Among Lagerfeld's other Faber-Castell favourites were the colour pencils that celebrated an extraordinary birthday in 2018. Polychromos colour pencils were always famous for their unsurpassed quality, colour brilliance and their resistance to fading from light and had been on the market for exactly 111 years. This anniversary was the inspiration for an edition that recalls the historic beginnings whereby four exquisite metal cases in different sizes were chosen to house the drawing instruments, all decorated with the original motif of yesteryear of a spectacular sunrise. Three of these cases contain 12, 24 and 36 Polychromos pencils in the standard length of 17.5 centimetres, respectively, and the fourth contains 12 shorter pieces. The colour palette ranges from opaque white to mountain blue and Saturn red to Van Dyck brown. One lovely detail is that each pen features the stamp design of the time. The launch was accompanied by the statement that "all four cases are limited editions and therefore already collectors' items" to highlight the important characteristic that rare product lines are highly sought after on relevant platforms. This applies just as much to writing instrument collections as it does with designer handbags.
Limited Edition wood case
These limited editions show that Faber-Castell really understands the needs and wishes of discerning artists with these selections of the best and most beautiful instruments. So too is the Limited Edition wood case in the finest artist’s quality, launched in the summer of 2022. With its purist design, the box itself is already a highlight, made of wood, stainless steel and acrylic glass. Around 400 selected creative tools are housed in five removable draws that contain a selection of instruments, including Polychromos and Albrecht Dürer colour pencils, Pitt Artist Pens, Albrecht Dürer Watercolour Markers, as well as a selection of Pitt Monochrome pencils. The number of these limited-edition cases was again based on Faber-Castell’s founding year so that exactly 1,761 copies were made.
Limited editions? We like!
Limited edition, millions of views: The appeal of these special product ranges resonate on social media. On the Faber-Castell TikTok channel, a six-second unboxing video in which we unpacked wood boxes from the Art & Graphic series garnered 1.6 million views and 135 thousand likes within a single day. This was our first viral video on this platform and a lasting success. In the meantime, the video has gained many more views, and Faber-Castell has hit the magic mark of 150,000 followers, so the account is now verified, which just goes to show: Limited editions, unlimited potential.