Magno is an all new magnetically controlled pencil. Created by UWE graduate Ashley Hribar-Green and his colleague Matthew Aston Cain, this invention promises to dispel all your lead-adjusting difficulties you may have with retracting pencils.

“We came up with a magnetic mechanism that gives you absolute control over the lead in the pencil”


The innovative product has triumphed in its Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign, raising an astonishing £80,000. The idea is a simple to use yet an extremely useful solution to one of the frustrations that arise from mechanical pencils. You can see how it works in the Magno crowd-funding campaign video below:

We caught up with Ashley to talk more about the product. He tells us, “We came up with a magnetic mechanism that gives you absolute control over the lead in the pencil. To adjust the lead you have to release the collet at the end, by twisting it a quarter turn, which enables you to move the sleeve up and down. The sleeve moves a magnet concealed within the aluminium body which is attached to the lead itself, which means you can change the length of the lead very quickly.”

Erasing problems

magno-collageAshley and Matthew came up with Magno when experiencing mishaps using standard mechanical pencils: “We’re both design engineers and we use mechanical pencils every day. One thing we realised was you get two types of pencils with 2mm lead, either incremental action, where you press a button on the top and the lead only comes out a very small portion at a time; often you have to adjust it manually to the correct length.

“We wanted something that nobody had seen before”


“Or, you get a full release system where you press the button and the lead drops out, meaning you have to adjust it on the page. In design very often if you’re shading or if you’re doing illustration you’ll want to change the length of the lead quite frequently and so this can be quite time-consuming.” Magno overcomes these issues through relinquishing the power to you.

Success with the masses

The two have created a company called HribarCain to sell the pencil. Impressively, Magno, which comes in a selection of colours: silver, rose gold, gunmetal and strawberry gold, was able to raise over £80,000 in 60 days on Kickstarter. Ashley explains how the precision pencil got such a welcoming reception: “in terms of the campaign itself we were very thorough in the design and the idea we were trying to get across.”

“We just wanted to have one key feature to differentiate ourselves from the competition; we wanted something that nobody had seen before.”

“Bristol is such a pioneering city”



From its own research, HribarCain found that Magno is very popular amongst engineers, illustrators and designers in general. However, the team emphasise that there’s not just one specific target audience, “It’s even useful to different professions who use pencils on a daily basis, such as chartered surveyors. It’s quite versatile; a lot of people have been buying them for Christmas presents because they know someone who’s quite artistic and likes something different.”

Drawing on inspiration

HribarCain hopes to get a few more products in the pipeline, and in Ashley’s words, “it’s exciting, very exciting.” He adds that the natural progression from the magnetic pencil is to develop a pen: “It just kind of makes sense as it’ll go with the set.”

magno-slate-grey-lifestyle-17HribarCain is currently at the culmination stage of manufacturing Magno, but the focus is still very much on the pencil for now. It’s all looking very promising for HribarCain. Ashley tells us, “my business partner Matt has just got back from China today, and has been speaking very closely with the engineers there. We have all the manufacturers signed up, quality control is full proof now so were starting manufacturing with 5000 units!”

Ashley also comments on how Bristol is a fantastic city to be developing a product in, “Bristol is such a pioneering city. You have a lot of big names come out of it, like Brunel, and its diversity means you get a lot of designers in the city itself, so we purposely made a point of being from Bristol.”

You can buy Magno from HribarCain or Indiegogo now, and find out more about the product while you’re there. You can also give them a follow on Twitter to find out about future products: @hribarcain