Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cup 'o Pens

What do you use when you write your greeting cards and invitation? A ballpoint pen? A felt-tip? A roller ball? Or maybe, even – a fountain pen? I have to admit to a penchant (get it?) for the Uni-ball Rollerball, as I do love the liquid ink. I just checked out Uni-ball’s website, and it said “Rollers are for consumers who demand the smoothest writing.” Actually, I like to think it brings me closer to a fountain pen experience, but then again, there’s nothing like that, either! Fountain pen enthusiasts will tell you how personal using such a pen can be. First of all, there’s that whole thing with the nib – the pressure a person exerts on the pen while writing shapes the nib, which is sort of like someone wearing in a new pair of shoes. No one else can really wear them, and no one else will really be able to use the fountain pen with your nib intact!

I have to say that over the years, I have gotten quite a collection of pens going. It’s nothing like what real collectors have, I just mean how many I have in my pen cup (I have more than one) and in my desk drawers. Absolutely no one will dispute this!
Here’s a photo of my pen cup.

That big flower pen is from Pen-damonium. It came with a really cute cube of note squares, but I’ve gone through those already! Aside from the cute “from the desk of stamp from PSA Essentials,” do you recognize any of the other pens in there? I have an ergonomic pen from Yoropen, a ball point from Visconti (it’s orange and has my initials on the top), another pretty ballpoint from MonteVerde (it’s black and red), a turquoise and silver number from Xonex, a Fisher Space pen – great for taking with me to trade shows, a pen that was part of a gift set from Lady Jayne (that’s the black & white polka-dot one), a felt tip and some highlighters, along with the tools of our trade, a couple of regular pencils (including a really cool one from Faber Castel that has grips on it), a blue pencil, a red pencil and a green pencil (all used for marking floorplans – yes, the old-fashioned way!) Can you believe there are so many choices out there?!

Whatever kind of pen you use, I wonder - do you use a special ink color? Sometimes I try to match a color in a card, and I’ll choose a pen with a specific color of ink. I remember when I was in grade school I used to write out my Christmas cards making every other letter in green and red. Honestly, I may have also done this in college, right about when I was supposed to be studying for finals. Oh, but that was so long ago. When those silver and gold ink pens came out, I was in heaven. I bought fancy Christmas cards (from Caspari, I remember) with beautiful museum-type prints and foils – and the envelopes had silver or gold linings! Of course I used the gold and silver pens for my messages. This was well before I joined the National Stationery Show team, but I was clearly showing an interest in cards and finishes!

This past May at the National Stationery Show, our team left a personally signed welcome note in every exhibitors’ booth. We really wanted to convey to each exhibitor that we were excited for the Show, and that they were there. We also wanted them to know that we each personally signed (not scanned a signature, but really signed) the letter that they received. To do that we decided to use different ink colors. I signed on for the purple. Patti got orange, Arque had green, Rosanne used blue and Jess got the pink (she really wanted the pink!) Coincidentally, these pens were from Uni-ball, but were their Gelsticks. Since then, I have really been into the purple pen and having been using it and a purple Papermate around the office.

I think it is important to show a bit of your personality, not just with the card you chose, but with the ink and/or pen you sign with! It doesn’t have to be the same every time, but it’s fun to have the ink color match the message (a color in the card, or the mood of the message). I wonder how much importance our retailer friends give to writing instruments in their stores – be it fine writing instruments such as fountain pens and the like, or all the way down the line to the fun stuff – decorated pens, like some of the cute pens from Inoxcrom – like this one, featuring a design by Jordi Labanda -
or foufy pens like that one with the flower on the top. I could while away as much time in a store making my pen choices as I spend making my greeting card choices (and we all know how long that can take!)

I also really like pencils (it’s all in how the lead feels as I write), but that’s a different story!

It would be fun to hear from you about your favorite ink colors, or if you have a favorite pen, or even how you incorporate pens into your merchandise mix, if you have a store.


  1. i love pens... especially this one called the hi-tec-c by pilot. unfortunately, they don't sell it in the us.. it's from japan. but some japanese bookstores do carry it. here's a website with some details on them.

    the finest point is 0.3 mm and it is like no other! if you would like thicker points, the 0.5 mm works well too. but i've actually become a pen snob... i will only use these pens. i carry them around and if i loan them out, i make sure to get them back! :)

    they come in a variety of different colors. (these pens come in almost every color under the sun from turquoise to brown)

    i wish the us stores would carry it. maybe next year someone will bring some samples to the show?

  2. Hi Cindy! Thanks for the link! I love the size of the .5mm and all those great colors! Wow! The International Pen Association takes a Pavilion space from us at the NSS - and they will be back next year with some 30 exhibitors, but Pilot wasn't among them. Perhaps one of the pen distributors in the group will have these pens. I'll ask them! - Kelly