Designers have different creative processes, which can further vary from one type of project to another. But most of our ideas start on paper. Whether it’s quick, rough sketches or more refined artwork, nothing beats the freedom and accessibility of a pen or pencil to record a stream of ideas.

Among the other analog tools we may have at our disposal is the humble ruler, for when we need precise measurements and clean lines. But as our skill sets expand to the digital realm, is it time for this basic tool to evolve? Swedish designers Axel Lindmarker and Jens Marklund believe so, and that’s why they created the Lindlund ruler (geddit?).

Introducing the Lindlund ruler

Introducing the Lindlund ruler

Successfully funded on Kickstarter, the Lindlund ruler is billed as the “gap between physical and digital”. In addition to the usual markings for centimetres and inches on its outer edges, the ruler features an inner window with markings for picas and pixels – purporting to double its usefulness.

The Lindlund ruler features four units of measurement

The Lindlund ruler features four units of measurement

So how would you use those extra scales? Well, with the pica edge, you could translate type sizes on screen to a physical size in the real world. Remember the last time you wanted to do that? The pixel edge seems even more daft; displays have all manner of pixel densities and you couldn’t “hard measure” the size of an on-screen element without some mental gymnastics. Then again, I’m not a digital designer, so maybe there’s something of value here.

The Lindlund ruler has markings for iPhone and iPad screen sizes

The Lindlund ruler has markings for iPhone and iPad screen sizes

Perhaps more practical are the added markings corresponding to the dimensions of iPhone and iPad screens, making it easier for designers to draw up digital apps to scale in the pages of a notebook, and minimising revisions on the computer later. But even then, screen sizes can vary between Apple’s mobile devices, let alone those of other phone and tablet manufacturers.

Something you can rely on with the ruler is its high quality production. It’s made from a lightweight, anodised aluminium for a premium look and feel, and is said to withstand cuts and light bending. It also has a rubber coating on the back to prevent slipping and comes in two colours – Midnight Black and Luxe Silver.

The back of the ruler has a non-slip rubber coating

The back of the ruler has a non-slip rubber coating

I’m not convinced the ruler is worth its price, given the use I’d get out of it. It’s definitely pretty though, and it would be nice to see a 15 cm/6 inch version for smaller pencil cases (which would still allow markings for phone screen dimensions).

Pick them up for about A$34 apiece on Kickstarter.