Brilliant pencil poster is one of the sharpest print ads we've seen

Staedtler print ad showing buildings carved into pencil lead
(Image credit: Staedtler)

We see plenty of print ads here at Creative Bloq, and the best examples are always worthy of a double-take. But this campaign from a German pencil brand might just have left the sharpest impression yet.

The poster for Staedtler pencils shows what looks, at first glance, like a bunch of bizarrely sharpened pencils. But look a little closer, and it becomes clear that you're looking at a series of impossibly intricate buildings carved into the lead. It's definitely up there with the best print ads we've seen lately.

staedtler_pencils_ad_its_crisp_clean_creative_and from r/DesignPorn

The line 'Where it all begins' brings home the message – that even the most impressive architectural feats probably began with a simple sketch. And the delightful simplicity of the ad is proving a hit online, with Reddit users gushing over the design. 

"I feel like this actually belongs in this sub," says one member of the Design Porn channel. "Great concept". "As someone with shaky hands, it’s hard to imagine someone working with that much precision," one user comments, while another adds, "I’m a civil engineering technologist and this is pure art to me. Very creative ad."

Many have speculated that the ad is the work of Salavat Fidai, whose miniature pencil carvings have become a social media sensation in recent years. Indeed, Fidai's Instagram is filled with even more mind-boggling pencil art, including sculptures of everything from Spider-Man to King Kong.  

But according to Ads of the World, the Staedtler campaign was created by ad agency Leo Burnett Hong Kong in 2012, with no mention of Fidai. It's possible that Fidai did indeed work with the agency, or perhaps Leo Burnett was heavily inspired by his incredible pencil sculptures.

From this brilliant (and all-too-familiar) Kit-Kat ad to this ingenious Norwegian Airlines ad, we've seen no shortage of brilliant posters over the last few months. We've also seen our fair share of designs that have gone down like a lead balloon – but the same certainly can't be said for Staedtler's pencil masterpiece. Inspired to create your own design? Check out today's best Adobe Creative Cloud deals below.

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.