Monday, 16 November 2009

Opinion Poll: Which is your favourite make of artist grade coloured pencil?

This is an update on one of the polls on Coloured Pencils - Resources for Artists - my coloured pencils information site - as at November 2009. Click the image to see a larger version of the results or visit the information site.

718 responses in total have been received to date. That's a very big increase since July 2008 when I first reviewed this poll when only 177 responses have been received. Back in April of this year it had attracted some 509 responses.

So far as I am aware that makes this the largest online poll about brands of coloured pencils that has ever been conducted.

It's not foolproof. It's entirely possible that the marketing people at Faber Castell and Sanford have it bookmarked and continue to vote for their own brands! ;)

What the poll indicates
  • The poll indicates that the market for coloured pencils is an oligopoly. Some might call it a duopoly. Two firms, two brands and two pencils alone account for very nearly 60% of the market - in terms of brand preference.
  • Faber Castell Polychromos and Sanford Prismacolor continue to fight it out for top spot of most popular brand of coloured pencil with each having just under 30% of the responses. I review the poll on a regular basis and the positions do change on a regular basis and they are almost always with 1% of one another.
  • Derwent has about 20% of the responses with Derwent Artists (c. 10%) and Derwent Coloursoft (c. 10%). This mimics the fight for the top spot as the two pencils resemble Polychromos and Prismacolor respectively in terms of the way they work
  • Caran d'Ache Pablo share 3rd place with Derwent Coloursoft with just over 10%. What's missing is artists who prefer the new Luminance pencil - which ill be addressed by the new poll in 2010 - see below.
  • Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor have dropped back in terms of popularity to 6th place and just over 7% of responses. I suspect this may well be to do with distribution as the pencils work well with Polychromos and most shades do pretty well on the lightfastness tests. It's a brand which certainly will always find a home in my pencil tub.
  • Talens Van Gogh pencils continue to attracted few votes despite being predominatly lightfast and an excellent pencil to use. Again I think the issue relates to availability.
I've included links to past reviews at the end of this post.

A new poll for 2010

This is to announce that a new poll about artists' coloured pencils will be launched in January 2010
. Back in April I speculated about doing an Annual Poll and that's what I've decided to do. That way both you and I can track how preferences change over time.

The current poll about artists' coloured pencils will be "retired" although its results will be maintained as an image on Coloured Pencils - Resources for Artists

The main reason for starting a new poll is because there have been a lot of advances since the original poll was started:
  • CPSA has now published more data about the resusts of its lightfast testing of different brands of pencils
  • there are now more lightfast pencils, more people are aware of the lightfastness issues and people's preferences may well have shifted
  • new brands have been created eg Caran d'Ache Luminance pencils
  • people will have experimented with more brands and new brands and may well have changed their preferences!
Hopefully by providing feedback to the manufacturers about preferences there will be some incentive to continue with a good selection in the marketplace and products which improve over time.

If any of the marketing people from the different pencil manufacturers are reading this and want to make sure that any new brands in the pipeline are included please contact me with the date your product is due to be in the marketplace.


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