CW&T: Engineering the Perfect Pen

Che-Wei Wang and Taylor Levy, the duo behind art and design practice CW&T, have a simple philosophy for deciding what to pursue: "We make stuff we want for ourselves. It might sound indulgent, but it's really the only way we've ever worked."

That stuff includes quite an array of projects they’ve brought to Kickstarter over the years, including generative 3D-printed lamps, sleek steel key rings, and a poster that lays out a system for turning your body into a measuring tool. But they first found success on the platform with campaigns for Pen Type-A and Pen Type-B, two minimalistic, precisely engineered metal writing implements intended to last for generations.

“Our first campaign was a surprise hit,” they recall. “At the time, it was in the top ten most funded campaigns on Kickstarter. That felt scary and we were dumbfounded, but it also gave us the freedom to cut our umbilical cord from client work and focus on projects that bring us the most joy.”

They decided to revisit these designs for Kickstarter Gold, creating an American-made edition of Pen Type-A and a titanium version of Pen Type-B’s original brass sleeve. These may seem like minor changes, but they require entirely different manufacturing processes — and the designers are eager to give their backer community a behind-the-scenes look.

We tend to get really excited about the nitty-gritty details in our work, whether it's a specialized machining process, a tiny design decision, or some weird detail that made something (or everything) not work. You might think no one cares, but people do! So we like to be as thorough as possible with all that stuff.”

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