Wearing In/Wearing Out || An Ode to my Pencil Case

For last weeks class we watched the documentary Objectified. In an interview with Bill Moggridge, co-founder of IDEO and inventor of the first laptop (the GRiD Compass laptop), the idea of wearing a product in rather than wearing it out came up. I have mixed feelings on this. The example he used himself was of the GRiD Compass, that the spots where the magnesium shows through the paint make it feel “better”. I love my laptop, a Dell Inspiron Duo.


It has an incredible ability to still amaze people despite the fact the technology is at least 18 months old (I think it was around for about 6 before I got my hands on one November 2011). Even though it’s forced me to buy a second computer to run Adobe CS and SolidWorks, it’s very good at what it does and I wouldn’t swap it for any other. I would, however, swap it for a brand new one of the same. The “dings” Bill Moggridge felt improved the machine, bother me no end. The peeling on the casing, the scratches on the screen, the two missing rubber feet and the lumps missing from that time I dropped it. I hate them.

I’m not totally opposed to the idea of wearing in though, people of the internet allow me to introduce you to my pencil case.


I bought this case in September 2005, on my first day of secondary school, I’ve never been far from it since. I bought it because I needed a pencil case and this was the one in the shop that didn’t have a football printed on it, I didn’t ache for it for months, weeks or even days like I have done with many things I’ve bought, and I remember thinking at the time that it would do until I found a better one (better meaning blue). Now, nearly 8 years later, it’s stained with years of pens, pencils, and highlighters, stabbed with compasses and screwdrivers and with me at all times (and I mean it’s in my handbag on a night out). It’s seen me through every exam I’ve ever taken, got me into my college of choice and won me an art competition or two to boot. It houses the pens and pencils used in any of the drawings on this site. I am more attached to this battered piece of fluff than I am to most people. When it comes to it’s annual trip to the washing machine, I spend a couple of agonizing hours wondering whether I’ve finally outlived it, whether this will be the time it comes back to me in pieces. But it always survives, and long may it.

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