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Guide to Pens

We’ve all heard the saying, the pen is mightier than the sword. Arm yourself with a premium writing instrument because at Rustico, we carry some great ones that pair perfectly with our notebooks and journals. If you journal daily, author your own stories, or take down regular notes, you’re missing something special if you don’t have a quality pen. It’s time to discover (or rekindle) your love for writing, and we can help you decide on what will fit you best.



Factors to Consider:

Determine Your Writing Goals

Searching for a top productivity tool? Ballpoint pens help you quickly write things down. A nice rollerball pen gives your writing a smooth look, especially if you write in cursive. If you need something classy for the office and find yourself signing documents often, then a fountain pen will leave a sophisticated and bold look.

What Type of Paper Will You Be Using

Keep in mind the journal or notebook that you’ll use. Be sure that your pen doesn’t scratch the paper and that the ink doesn’t bleed through. The type of pen that you get will depend on the thickness and quality of the pages you’ll write on.

Choose Comfort

You need a pen that is comfortable to use. One that is functional. A pen that makes you look forward to journaling and gives you that “can’t wait to start (or continue) writing” feeling. Get one that you can use for long periods of time and feels good in your hand.

Try Before You Buy

If possible, test out a few different pens to see what type you like best (this could prove especially helpful if you’re a lefty). Make sure that the ink doesn’t smear and see how it writes in your notebook or journal. The story you’re writing might require a handsome fountain pen or maybe it's a charming rollerball pen for your daily journaling or the lists you are always making.

Just like choosing a new journal, you’ll discover that you prefer a certain style and your writing requires a specific type. The weight/balance of the barrel, smooth flow of the ink, and the type of paper you’ll use are all factors to consider.  

We have some striking pens of all styles and designs from manufacturers we’ve hand-picked because of the dedication they demonstrate towards their craft. Let’s go through the different types of pens we carry and the brands behind them.

 

Different Types of Pens

 

Ballpoint

Ballpoint pens typically have a long life and require very little maintenance. The ink dries quickly and is unlikely to smear. They are usually reliable and durable so they won’t easily break and there’s no nib to worry about. Ballpoint pens are good for everyday use.

However, they can feel a bit one dimensional and lack the smoothness and expression that a rollerball or fountain pen can give. They aren’t as stylish and don’t make a statement quite like other types.

Ballpoint pens are great for putting down sudden ideas and making study notes for school

 

Rollerball

A rollerball pen is great because of its undeniable ease of use and the pleasure of using liquid ink. There are many options out there for great rollerball pens and we carry some well-loved designs from top brands like Retro51 and others.

While this type has a richer ink flow than a ballpoint pen, it’s still not quite as expressive and smooth as a fountain pen. And like a fountain pen, a rollerball pen requires far less pressure to produce ink on a page.  The cartridges will also run out more quickly than ballpoint refills, so that could be something to consider.

Rollerball pens are great for everyday use and personal handwritten letters

 

Fountain

Without a doubt, our favorite type is a fountain pen. This pen provides the smoothest flow of ink and lets you carefully control the amount you receive. A flexible nib allows you to bring a more personal feel to your writing. We think part of the fun in owning a fountain pen is the regular care you can give it. Just as you’d regularly shine your favorite pair of dress shoes or regularly sharpen a fine knife, the art of maintaining a fountain pen is a practice to take pride in.

However, as with any fine writing instrument, there is a small learning curve for first-time users to get comfortable using a fountain pen. Besides being able to practice your penmanship, there are a few other cool reasons to use a fountain pen. It also takes regular care to make sure the ink flow is smooth and the nib and cartridge are clean.

The creativity that a fountain pen lets you express is just more tangible especially with items such as a converter and some bold ink colors that let you change the look of your writing. Fill your pen with a new shade for a fun new style.

To extend the life of your fountain pen there are a few things you can do:

  • Always store your pen vertically when not in use to prevent clogging the nib.
  • Regularly clean and wash it out with warm (not hot) water.
  • Avoid using on chemically treated paper as the ink won’t absorb well and leaves residue on the nib. Read more about proper care from the team at Retro51.

Fountain pens are great for work/business use and signing important documents, leaving an impression 

Still can’t decide? Take a look at some of our recommended picks for some great mid-range pens that we carry.

 

The Brands We Carry

Tactile Turn

From Glider Bolt Action, Movers, and Gist Fountains, there are some unique yet incredibly functional and premium pens that are designed by Tactile Turn. Based out of Garland, Texas, Tactile Turn is run by Will Hodges who, in 2012, started designing and building production runs of premium consumer products.

These pens are made from the finest materials and have the right balance of premium quality and tool that you’ll use often. We’re proud to offer some of the pens Will’s workshop creates and love how they complement the handmade journals we craft.



Retro51

Retro51 is all about making sure you have a pen that you can’t put down, and their motto is “Life’s too short to carry an ugly pen!” They are always introducing new designs to match the personality and passion of any of your friends or family members. Each of these pens comes in a differently designed graphic tube for gifting and storing. They are incredibly fun to use and become a “must-have” after trying them.

 

Ystudio

Ystudio creates fine writing instruments meticulously made and characterized by the masters’ hands with decades of experience. Crafted in local factories, each stationary is made using the finest materials and time tested methods. Ystudio believes that each object is tied to a deeper meaning and they value the simplicity of a design that performs exactly as needed.




Whatever type and brand you go with, you can store and protect your new pen with a great leather sleeve or pouch. We hope you elevate your writing and renew your desire to tell your story.

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Read next: The Journal Guide: Picking the Right Journal