Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Too Good to Keep to Myself :: Prang Ticonderoga Product Review

Disclosure: Compensation was provided Dixon Ticonderoga company
Opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative 
of the opinions or positions of Dixon Ticonderoga.

Dixon Ticonderoga sent me the Prang Marker set alongside a competing set by Crayola.

One thing I noticed almost immediately was the fact that the Prang set included (2) more colors beyond what could be a standard 10-color set in addition to the fact that the Prang set had both French and Spanish translations on their packaging. Crayola's only notes that they are preferred by teachers which I cannot lie that I know quite a few art teachers (me included) who swear by Crayola brand anything.

At the top of the packaging you see a little bit more detailed information about what is contained within each of the boxes and you can see that the tips of both sets are broad rather than fine. I would have liked to try out some fine tipped markers because for my own purposes they are a little bit more useful but beggars can't be choosers, right?

When you turn over the packs of markers you see this. I can appreciate the spectrum that Prang shows of the markers and palette that are contained within versus the marketing jargon that hypes them up as being so very "green" in what they are doing. I mean, I am all for saving the environment but I don't feel it's necessary to devote so much of your packaging heralding how awesome you are at doing it. Get over yourself, Crayola! That said? Prang's focus is on a different kind of "green" and that is the type that helps you to save a little money. See down at the corner of the Prang box? That proof of purchase that you can clip helps you to earn "Prang Power" which is allows and encourages brand loyalism to Prang and what we can now say are pretty awesome products. Crayola on the other hand? There is NO brand loyal reward system that exists to my knowledge. Hmmm...

I was able to open the boxes of markers and look at the contents a little closer and this is what I found. I selected the color green to focus in on (So much green! So little time!)...

Something that is worth noting that is the most obvious and immediate difference is the fact that the caps of barrel color of the markers both indicate the color of the marker but one is more obviously indicative than the other - the Prang green marker. This is because the Prang one is all one color (green) while the Crayola one is more white than it is green in order to showcase the visual brand design that is so recognizable of Crayola. Something else that is important to note? There's the fact that the cap of the Prang is all white but the Crayola one is the color of the marker. I didn't think this was that remarkable or a big deal but another blogger noted that it having the white cap was a really good thing since it made it easier to locate caps because they are all white and if a student artist is sitting there just taking the caps off and leaving them in a pile? Just grab any cap when it's time to clean up! It's no big deal! Clean up is that much faster!

I got to thinking about this whole business of the color of the cap making all the difference in making for faster and more efficient clean up and because I am kind of a freak, I decided to put this whole thing to the test. I took all of the caps off of the markers (both brands) and then I timed myself as I tried to recap them all with the correct caps. Times are indicated beneath each picture of marker sets.

Prang => 24.01 seconds

Crayola => 29.83 seconds

Obviously, Prang won this showdown but Crayola's capping was a whole five seconds slower? Wow! I mean, there might be all sorts of issues with the way I did this trial because this was very informal but I promise you that I did not try and give Prang any one-up or head start and I earnestly tried to get all of the caps on the markers as fast as I could. Who would have thought that white caps (instead of ones with individual colors) would make all the difference in the world. Way to go Prang for figuring this out and employing it within your product design! Good design is my favorite thing in the world and you are already selling me with this and I haven't even put marker to paper yet. Let's get to that now.

Crayola is on the left, Prang is on the right. Sorry - I left out brown on both of them!
Above you will see the layout of colors as they stand up to one another. The Crayola had an open palette of colors in the entire spectrum as much as Prang did but Prang had (2) more colors than Crayola and the way they used that was to add in a different green and blue in addition to what was already there. While this might seem a minor thing? I appreciated this because this means that there is a cool and a warm version of each green and blue.

Having warm and cool colors of any color is huge to me and definitely helps to strengthen Prang's game against Crayola's. Just by comparing the colors though, they both look just about the same. The grey on Prang's side is a little bit less saturated than Crayola's grey and that's the same for the pink too. Prang's black is also a color that is a little bit less strong than the Crayola version. All of this stuff though? I don't think it's that big of a deal. Something that IS a big deal though? Check this out!

Some of Prang's claim of why their markers are so superior compared to others is the fact that you can leave them uncapped and they will not dry out or fade. This claim made me raise my eyebrows because seriously? That's quite a thing to claim as truth for a product like markers. I mean, even just using markers to color - whether water-based or solvent-based - the ink flow in order to show continuous and full coverage always seems to be an issue. How in the world could and WOULD Prang do if really put to the test. So... I tested Prang's claim and you can see above that Prang's marker (the red at least but probably others would do this too for the most part) held up WITHOUT A CAP for almost a full week of school!!! Isn't that amazing?

Prang even claimed that they would last a day or two but four days? I think that's really quite impressive. That means that even if you lost one of those nifty white caps, you could leave the marker for almost a full week of school and when you eventually found it, the capless marker would still be good!!! And looking at the rundown with Crayola, well, Crayola (without the cap) made it until about day two +8 hours and it immediately showed signs of slowing down and being dry. Prang really brought the game and won it though. Way to go Prang!!!!!!!

Here's one last look at both of the markers side by side.

Kind of crazy to me to see them like this because while Crayola's claim (on the box) that it is preferred by teachers might have been true before this review, I gotta say that they lost this (Visual Art Education) teacher now that this review is over. Prang just has so much more going for itself than Crayola does and it's hard to argue that it doesn't. A recap of Prang's awesomeness is below... even though Prang doesn't need to recap seeing as how those things don't seem to dry out for anything! (Hahah!)

Winner Winner, Chicken dinner!!!! Congrats to Prang for SCHOOLING Crayola and its lack of brand loyalism opportunities. 
(+) Prang gives you TWO more colors in the given palette which offers you a warm and cool version of two colors
(+) Prang gives you "Prang Power" points for being brand loyal to them - which, as we continue to see in these reviews is an awesome brand to be loyal to
(+) Prang's marker barrels are all one color which makes it a lot easier to tell what colors they will color/draw in
(+) Prang's caps are all white which makes clean up so much more efficient and fast
(+) Prang's colors are nicely saturated on paper
(+) Prang does not dry out for as many as four days WITHOUT being capped => I feel like this is one of the best things about them

And that wraps it up for my review of Prang's broad tip markers. Hope you enjoyed it! Before week's end I will have one more review of Prang vs. Crayola and hope you join me to see how Prang does and what makes them more unique than the allegedly "preferred by teachers" Crayola brand. At this point, I am pulling for PRANG all the way especially after this review. Also, don't forget that at the end of the week (Friday) I will be doing a giveaway of the one Prang product that I fell in love with more than all of the rest! 

Disclosure: Compensation was provided Dixon Ticonderoga company
Opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative 
of the opinions or positions of Dixon Ticonderoga.

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