In 1928 the Hungarian-born Eva Zeisel began working as a ceramic designer at the Schramberg Majolica Factory in Schramberg, Germany. She had previously worked in Hamburg, where the International Style architecture of many new buildings had a strong influence on her work. While in Hamburg, she became aware of the design principles of the Deutsche Werkbund and the Bauhaus, which emphasized stylistic purity and insisted that form be derived from function. The whimsical folk-art style that had characterized much of her early work was replaced in the late 1920s by a severe architectonic geometry.
Zeisels's glazed-earthenware inkwell, designed while she was at Schramberg, consists of two units: a combined ink pot–pen tray and a pencil tray. The composition resembles a tiny architectural model. The vibrant orange glaze boldly highlights the strong horizontal lines and undecorated surfaces; by using such saturated color Zeisel successfully transcended the cool "soulless" quality of modernist design principles.