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Essential Objects: For Students (Both in School & in Life)

Tools that make us want to get to work.

From old-school gear to new-school gadgets, we round up our favorite dorky, cool, awesome work objects for Spring.


Rubber Band Clipboard 

Nothing makes you look and feel like you’re in charge more than a clipboard. They’re also handy for marking things up while lounging away from your desk. This clever rubber-banded model comes in sleek beech plywood.


“How Are You Feeling” by David Shrigley 

When your workday has you over-crazed, dip into the weirdo gallows humor of British artist David Shrigley’s new book for a laugh. A great sendup of self-help b.s.


Palomino Blackwing 602 Pencils 

Remember the olden days before we had “undo,” back when we used pencils and erased stuff? These Blackwing pencils write like a graphite dream and boast an industrial-sized eraser for when you’re thinking (and rethinking) on paper.




Want to make a hook on your computer to hang your headphones? Need to hack your digital camera so it will bounce, not break? This magical, moldable, self-setting rubber lets you tweak anything to make it fit your needs.



If a Swiss Army knife and an iPhone case had a one-night stand, the result would be this wildly useful object: A rugged phone case that includes screwdrivers, scissors, pens, a nail file, tweezers, and a kickstand.


Kone Brewing System

When it comes to daily creativity, great coffee is a truly essential object. Kone Brewing offers a sleek nested system for making 32 ounces of pour-over coffee in a beautiful ceramic carafe that keeps it nice and warm. Advance warning: It ain’t cheap.



Wooden Letter Opener

Beautiful desk objects just make work nicer. And paper cuts suck. Add these two statements up, and the solution is Jonathan O’Connor’s gorgeous hand-planed letter opener.


Dart Strip 

A cross between scotch tape and a bulletin board, Dart Strip gives you 8 feet of stainless steel that you can slap up anywhere, and then affix things to it with the 16 magnets enclosed. Handy!


Balancing Blocks

Sometimes when you get stuck, you just need to do something physical to reboot your brain. These balancing blocks are perfecting for tinkering in those in-between moments, and they make for pretty nice art objects, too.


Burning Love Desk Pad 

High-polish desk finishes may look nice, but they act like krypronite for wireless mice. And mouse pads are so 2002. Cozy up your desk and mouse away with ease using this lovely felt desk pad.

More Posts by Jocelyn K. Glei

A writer and the founding editor of 99U, Jocelyn K. Glei is obsessed with how to make great creative work in the Age of Distraction. Her latest book is Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distraction, and Get Real Work Done. Her previous works include the 99U’s own bestselling book series: Manage Your Day-to-Day, Maximize Your Potential, and Make Your Mark. Follow her @jkglei.

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