In progress: designing a pen

In progress: designing a pen

Here we are for the second instalment in our pen design journey. Progress has been made and here's what I can share about the design of our first pen concept - so far!

1. My first port of call is to weigh up options for the material of the pen body itself. Aluminium, plastic, natural wood? 

2. Let's talk about the point. I've been exploring all of the options, from the conventional conical rollerball tip to an ultra fine needle-point. What do you look for in a pen tip? 

3. Our pens will be manufactured in Japan, the birthplace of the rollerball pen. They'll be made by a factory that's been creating pens for over 70 years, so we’re in good hands.

4. What good is a beautiful pen body if it can’t do the job of actually writing? Our factory just so happen to be experts in ink manufacturing with over one hundred years of ink-making under their belt. I've been testing out various oil viscosities on my quest to find the ideal ink. Low viscosity results in free flowing ink whereas high viscosity has more resistance and is what you'll find in your standard ballpoint. I'm also paying attention to the density of the ink. Can I draw with it as well as write? Does it scan well? Does it show through your typical paper sheet? How much pressure is required to make a mark?

5. Once the functionality is nailed, I can start to think about the aesthetic of the pen. I'm comparing finishes for the casing. Once I've chosen the colours (this part requires a completely separate blog post!) I'll need to decide whether to opt for a coating. Should the finish be matt or glossy?

6. Choosing how to close the pen is another important consideration. Should I pick a totally removable cap or a retractable mechanism? Did you know that the push button found at the end of a pen is known as a 'knock' or 'knock button'? Right now I'm swooning over the effect of a brass knock with matching brass taper and how good this would look alongside all of the brass accessories at Papersmiths.

7. I'm exploring options for branding the pen without making this part of the design ostentatious. I have a collection of old books, cards and pencils that feature foil stamping. It's subtle but special and I think it could work beautifully with brass hardware.

The next step will be choosing the colours and then sending my spec off to the factory for sampling. Stay tuned for more news and sign up to our newsletter here to be the first to know the latest. Thanks for following along!

Sid x


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