Category Archives: Art & Design

Staedtler Drawing Materials – 50 years of excellence in the UK

In 2016, Staedtler celebrated 50 years of excellence in the UK, so we taking a few moments to recap on what an excellent brand of drawing materials it is and what makes them so special.

It is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of writing, colouring and drawing instruments and one of the oldest industrial companies in Germany. They are a clear favourite in the writing instrument world and are always a step ahead with their innovative and quality products.

  • Their philosophy is INSPIRATION ……every idea starts with a pencil!
  • International Company – STAEDTLER has representatives on every single continent and in 150 countries.
  • Europe’s largest manufacturer of blacklead and coloured pencils.
  • Are PEFC & FSC accredited.
  • Popular classics in the range include Noris HB Pencil, the mars plastic eraser, the lumocolour markers and Carpenters Oval

We are proud to be a long-standing UK distributor of Staedtler products. Browse our range of technical pens, compasses, pencils, and other drawing materials and you will find many Staedtler products in our offering, along with other key brands such as Rotring and Linex.

Also, make sure you check out our clearance section also where you will find some excellent savings to be made on many of these products!

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Student Equipment Kits

If you are a student undertaking an Art, Design, Engineering, or other Technical Drawing related course, finding all the equipment you need to complete your course can be time consuming, confusing and expensive.

Likewise, if you are a tutor or technician running an Art, Design or Engineering course at a college or university, buying all the equipment and materials for your students can be a big task, and expensive too – especially with budgets that only seem to get smaller every year!

The solution? – Student Equipment Kits.

Kit No2

Student Equipment Kits allow you to buy all the essentials you’ll need for your course in one practical kit, at a discounted price compared to purchasing all the items separately.

At DesignDirect, we offer a range of ‘off-the-shelf’ kits for a variety of courses such as Architecture, Garden Design and Construction. These kits are made of the most popular items used by students doing these courses.

However, if these don’t contain the items you’re looking for, you can go for a Bespoke Student Kit containing the specific items that you require for your course.

If you are ordering for a college or university, we can upload your Bespoke Kit as a product on our website so that your students can purchase it directly from our website. Alternatively, we can process as a bulk order and deliver all kits directly to the address of your choice. Bulk discounts are available – please contact us.

If you are interested in a Bespoke Student Equipment Kit, get in touch today to request a quote! Just list the items that you would like in your kit and please remember to give us a note of the quantity that you require.

Special offer on the Xyron Pro1255 Machine and Cartridges

XRN 2500 Machine 1XRN 1255 Machine 2

XyronPro is a cold (pressure sensitive) lamination and adhesive application system that allows you to instantly apply laminate or adhesive to items without heat, odour or waiting for it to warm up!

  • Ideal for advertising agencies, design studios, photographers, printers, colleges & other creative professionals
  • No heat or electricity required – instantly ready for use
  • Perfect edge-to-edge dry adhesive transfer – no messy or flammable spray!
  • Simply insert your artwork, turn the handle and trim!
  • No smell, no mess, no waste – safe for users and the environment

There are 2 models of machine available – the Pro1255 machine is the smaller machine which takes items up to 11.75” wide. The Pro2500 machine for larger items up to 25” wide.

There are also 2 different refill cartridges available for both machines – the permanent adhesive cartridge, and the repositionable adhesive cartridge.

The permanent adhesive refill cartridge applies an extremely aggressive, high tack, acid-free adhesive from edge-to-edge, instantly creating a permanent bond. The repositionable adhesive refill cartridge applies edge-to-edge acid-free adhesive which can be removed easily from glass, walls, paper and most other surfaces*, allowing items to be repositioned over and over again. Both are great for mock-ups, storyboards, presentations and more.

At Design Direct we currently have an offer on the Pro1255 system, whereby you get a free Pro1255 machine when you order 5 of the A3/A4 size cartridges for this machine!*

Click here for the A3/A4 size permanent adhesive refill cartridge for use in the Pro1255 machine.

Click here for the A3/A4 size repositionable adhesive refill cartridge for use in the Pro1255 machine.

Click here for the Pro1255 machine.

For further details or assistance please call our team on 0800 013 2514 or email!

*While stocks last.

Presentation Portfolios & Cases

Welcome to 2016!

And what a start to the year with our fantastic offers on Diploma Presentation Portfolios! Manufactured in the UK, these Portfolios are high quality and excellent value for money – the perfect choice for artists, designers or students.

Whether you’re starting a new college course, a new project, or simply looking to present your latest designs to potential clients, we’re sure to have the perfect solution.

Click here to shop our range of Presentation Portfolios, Art Cases and other Document Protection and Display products.

If you’re a College or University looking to purchase Portfolios for your students, contact us on 0800 013 2514 to discuss bulk discounts, or email your enquiry to

Mapac Quartz Portfolio Open15420011

The Art Student Essentials

GCSE Art Equipment – What are Your Options?

Art sounds like an easy option when deciding what GCSE options to take, but now is the time to remove those rose-tinted spectacles.

The contributors of lament over the realisation that taking Art as a GCSE IS a serious option! They talk of sleepless nights . . . sons & daughters disappearing under copious amounts of course work . . . endless deadlines to meet.


The two main points for both parents and students are:

  • Be Organised – get going on your projects as soon as you get them. Get your parents on board – no, really, they can help with remembering your deadlines and providing your kit . . .
  • Have a good quality kit – check the contents every half term

Oh, and a couple of unofficial ones . . . art is subjective, not everyone will like what you produce – Don’t worry about it, but take constructive criticism on board.

Don’t be a perfectionist! If you are, you’ll struggle; art encompasses lots of ideas, but especially in developing your unique interpretation and expression along with recognised techniques.

For additional advice and samples of student work at GCSE level, visit: You’ll find some inspiring ideas here.

The first place to go to when working out what your son or daughter needs is the school or academy itself. They should be able to provide a list for you to follow.

Before you race down to a discount/99p store – please remember that you really do get what you pay for! As a parent myself (whose son is just about to take GCSE Art) I have made this mistake once, but never again.

For example: There is nothing more frustrating than using a flimsy plastic sharpener that takes chunks out of a cheap pencil with an eternally breaking ‘lead’.  What an utter waste of time!

At DesignDirect we can supply and deliver much of what your child needs, from recognised brands that you can rely on.

Here’s a suggested list for you:

As the coursework progresses additional items will need to be purchased along the way, but these items provide a really good base kit to work from.

Best wishes to all of you taking your options and commiserations to all affected parents!