Pen Guide

Pen preferences are a highly personal matter. For such a small object, there can be a great deal of variation between writing mechanisms, design elements, and small details that make the difference between a joyful writing experience and a hard slog. So we’ve created some resources to help you find your way around the wonderful world of pens.

Pen Types

There are a few different categories of pens to be aware of:

Fountain pens have a nib that uses capillary action to draw down ink to write with. They use a water-based ink that flows out very smoothly.
Ballpoint pens have a small ball bearing in the tip that turns and draws ink out of the cartridge. They use an oil-based ink that doesn't smudge.
Rollerball pens have the same mechanism as ballpoint pens, but similar to a fountain pen, they use a smooth-flowing water-based ink.
Gel pens also use a ballpoint mechanism, but they use a gel-based ink that is known for being very vibrant and smooth. Gel ink takes longer to dry and can smudge more easily.
Felt tip pens and brush pens have porous fibers that draw down ink to write with. Unlike other pens, felt tip pens may use a variety of different ink types.
Pointed pens are used for calligraphy or drawing and feature a metal nib that is dipped in a bottle of ink.


Pen Guides

Looking for a great pen to give as a gift, or for an affordable pen you won't be afraid of losing? Our pen guides help you navigate the options.

A Brief Explanation of Bottled Inks
Visitors to our shop often gravitate toward the ink section, with rows of little glass bottles full of enticing colors. But the next question is usually “What do I do with these?” The vast array of ink options can be...
Fountain Pen Basics Explained
The fountain pen is a writing tool that’s never gone out of style. While ballpoint pens may be more widespread nowadays, plenty of people still prefer the ultra-smooth feeling of fountain pens and the choice of ink colors they allow. ...
Caring for your Fountain Pen
Fountain pens are beloved for the smooth way they write. A good fountain pen will work beautifully for decades, but like all worthy instruments, it requires a little bit of love and care. Luckily, maintaining a fountain pen is easy...
The Modern Fountain Pen
When the ballpoint pen became popular in the mid-1900s, the once-ubiquitous fountain pen began to seem like a relic from the past or a serious tool to be reserved for weighty occasions. For years it’s been passed over for its...
Our Favorite Gift Pens
A pen is a classic and timeless gift. Traditional for a graduation or academic achievement, it's also a mark of respect for someone's creativity or intellect. It's a gift that can express style and playfulness as well as gravity and...
Affordable Everyday Pens
If you write every day, you need a great everyday pen - one that's comfortable and pleasant to write with, one you can carry with you everywhere you go, one you won't worry too much about losing. The good news is:...
Out-of-the-Ordinary Pens
“Different strokes for different folks” surely applies to pen strokes - we all have our special preferences when it comes to pens. If you’re looking for a pen that’s a little different, these ones have some noteworthy features.   Minimo...
Choosing Calligraphy Tools
A lot of people are becoming interested in calligraphy these days, and no wonder! It’s a beautiful art form that anyone can learn and improve at. But getting started can be a little intimidating when there are so many pens,...