Though it's a staple of 80s culture, neon's history is much more colourful. The noble gas (and its vibrant elemental friends) have been illuminating shop windows since before the first World War, when French engineer Georges Claude lit up his barbershop signage way back in 1912.

Since then, neon signs have become a staple in the windows of small businesses all over the world. Even as cheap LEDs have become more common, it's hard to beat the warm glow of a neon light, and the nostalgic connection to a favourite record store, cafe or restaurant. With so many lights snuffed out by the pandemic, Volume 6 reminds us how important those dusty bookshops and corner stores are in giving our cities the unique character we might sometimes take for granted.

Blackwing's Volume 6 pencils in lurid orange and blue, loose on a dark surface around the box the pencils come in (also black, with Blackwing Volumes written on it in equally bright orange and blue lettering)

The Volume 6 pencils comes in a set of 12, including six dazzling orange pencils and six electric blue. Each pencil sports a glossy black ferrule, and a contrasting-colour eraser to make them really stand out. 

That colour scheme extends to the Slate Notebook, which sports dazzling accents in the same neon blue and orange beneath its understated black cover. And in a Blackwing first, Volume 6 features a button set that drives home the neon theme as well as the 'Shop Local' message that's at the core of the Volume 6 message.

Blackwing Volume 6 button set (a group of 3 small circular pin badges with black backgrounds and neon illustrations) laid on top of a black notebook cover with orange and blue Volume 6 pencils laid around

And as always, the number of this Volumes release isn't chosen at random. What we call neon is actually the work of elements known as the Noble Gases. The element neon gives off an orangey-red light when electricity is run through it; helium lights up pink, while krypton glows yellow-green when not stealing Superman's powers. Xenon gives off a lavender blue, and argon a lighter, brighter blue. And radon? Well, radon is just along for the ride. So even though neon gets all the credit, it's actually the six noble gases that light up the night in such glorious colours – hence, Volume 6.