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The stationery item that will change your life

Every now and again, a design pops up that has the potential to reinvent its predecessor by solving an (in this case super) annoying problem. Today's offering is a ruler with cascading millimetre lines, which takes the fiddly hassle out of the technical drawing process. Or any measuring-based process, really. 

The problem with millimetres is that they are just so darn small. But what's the big deal, these rulers are a standard design and easy to come by, right? Wrong. Most standard rulers are not equipped with cascading millimetre lines, which often makes measuring a much more time-consuming process. And, let's face it, that's time and headspace that could be better spent elsewhere doing, well, anything else. 

For more great resources, see our pick of the best tools for graphic designers.

This ruler has cascading millimeter mark that makes it easier to read. from r/mildlyinteresting

This ruler design is so simple yet so effective, it's hard to believe it isn't more common. The cascading lines are quicker and clearer to read along the top of the ruler, and the clear plastic means you can easily see what's underneath, too, so measurements can also be taken from the bottom of the scale.

Shared on Reddit by kim123h, designers are gushing over its usability on Reddit, with almost all the comments singing its praises and wondering what it's called, where it's from and how it can be purchased. 

Kim123h comments: "This ruler was something my mother picked up at a dollar store in South Korea. pretty cool". So, do designers need to flock to South Korea to find it?

Perhaps not. User orionblueyarm speculates: "Maybe it’s an ANZ thing. I’m Aussie, and every ruler I owned at school had this." However, a fellow Australian user indicates that it isn't that simple: "I'm Aussie. Am engineer. I've had many rulers in my life, scale, mm/inch, set squares etc. Never seen them with graduating mark sizing, just the standard separate tick size for half cm and cm marks."

Other sightings include the Netherlands and Germany. So it seems it does exist elsewhere, if it can be tracked down.

ruler

Graduated rulers are available but cascading designs are hard to come by (Image credit: Starrett)

But track it down you must. In our (what turned into extensive) search, we came across the Starrett C637E-150 (opens in new tab) (above), which does have graduated mm lines, but they aren't cascading like the ones in the Reddit post. This model definitely makes measuring clearer than usual, although it's steel so isn't see-through. 

Do you know where to get a ruler with cascading markings? Let us know on Twitter (opens in new tab) or Facebook (opens in new tab).

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Georgia Coggan is a regular freelance contributor for Creative Bloq, who has also worked on T3 and Top Ten Reviews. With a particular interest in branding and retro design, Georgia writes about everything from logo design to creative technology, enjoys hunting down genuinely good deals and has even used her knowledge as an ex-teacher to create buying guides on products including children's books and bookcases. Tying these design interests together is an obsession with London Underground posters from the last century.