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In the world of handwriting, there’s no circle of hell quite as low as getting to the bottom of a letter, a page of notes or even an address—only to realize that the entire thing has ended up on your hand. Pen people will know exactly what I’m talking about—and non-pen people, I’m not really sure what you’re doing here, but welcome. Every person I know who’s into cute ink pens has extremely specific preferences for brands and models. And that’s because they don’t just want cute ink pens—they want cute ink pens that don’t smudge. (Let’s be real, nobody wants to roll the dice on a new pen, no matter how fancy or cool, in case it turns out to be a big smudgy menace.)
And there are so many cool, fancy pens out there in the world! Too many, I would argue, to continue letting smudge anxiety get between us and them. So I went out and tested some of the fanciest, coolest pens I could find to guarantee that, not only do they make an impression and write great, but they also won’t smudge all over your hands, clothes, desk and face. (Just me on the face thing? OK then.)
Finding a pen with a great aesthetic, good ink quality and solid weight (that actually looks cute) can be a hard bead to draw, and I’m here to help you draw that bead. I’ve done the absolutely grueling work of testing out a bunch of kickass, top-of-the-line pens, and I’m here with cold, hard results. Get ready for a long summer full of pens that do exactly what you want without getting all inky three quarters through your sixth attempt at a bullet journal.
This is, without being too dramatic, the heftiest pen I’ve ever wielded—in the best possible way. Every time I whip out this pen to jot anything down, it feels extra official. I’ve even tried out walking around the office, pen in hand, hoping that someone will notice how serious the pen looks and ask me about it (this is sure to pan out soon).
Can I just say my favorite thing about ordering a Special Pen is that they always arrive in the most interesting thin and tiny boxes? Two tiny tubes in two different shades of purple arrived for me from Baron Fig, and I was entranced. Their color selection is to die for, and Baron Fig sent me two of the Squire Rollerball in fig wine and rose quartz. They’re both gorgeous, bright and elegant—and small enough to stash in whatever small bag or pocket I have available when I’m chasing scoops (by which I mean interviewing famous cats, or whatever my job around here is).
Here’s the thing. I love gel pens. But I haven’t picked up or purchased a gel pen for about 10 years, because the thing about gel pens is you can never trust them not to smudge all over whatever important business you’re trying to get done. So when I broke open OOLY’s pack of radiant writers, I didn’t know what to expect. I was nervous when the ink still looked wet minutes after use, so I wiped the page—it was completely dry, and didn’t smudge at all. These pens retain that perfect shiny look without trying to sabotage your entire writing day.
Not only do I love the metallic color scheme of OOLY’s Modern Script Fountain Pens, but I also love how extremely smooth they are to write with. They hit the perfect sweet-spot between elegant and practical, and I plan on stocking them for a long time.
I’m a writer, which means that a good deal of the time I spend writing things down is enjoyable! But there also are those times I have to make grocery lists or write down contact information—these are decidedly less enjoyable. When my brain is BEGGING to escape from the task at hand, I treat it to some colorful pens. This brilliant bright pack of markers definitely succeeds at staving off the weekday scaries. Plus, the fine sides all write as thin as any ballpoint, and the thick side is begging you to take a break and do some doodling in the margins. Perfect! Combo!
I don’t know how the majority of the population feels about pen width, but I like my pens almost unreasonably fine. I want to be able to make the smallest marks possible—and don’t ask me about what the psychology behind that might be, because I don’t know! This MONO pen from TomBow scratches that itch—impossibly fine without ever drying out. (A veritable dream-come-true.)
This pen looks like something James Bond, or the eponymous Mad Man from Mad Men (I never saw it), would use to jot down important memos. Formidable, shiny and sleek, this pretty ballpoint pen never fails to make an impression. It also never fails to leave only perfect, non-smudged markings in its wake!
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