The world is more digital than ever but physical writing tools are still expected to rake in over $20 billion by 2019. There's just no substitute for the feeling of doodling with a real pen. The best gel pens on the market take that feeling to the next level.
But with so many to choose from how can you find the best gel pen to suit your needs? Here's a gel pen primer and a rundown of what you should look for when shopping.
Gel pens are named for the thick fluid that makes up their ink. They're favored for their ability to write, draw, and color extremely smoothly. The trade-off for that smoothness is that the ink dries slower than other pen types.
The smoothness of the ink and the variety of colors make gel pens ideal for creative uses.
There are many gel pens on the market and not all of them are pleasant to work with. To avoid buyers remorse you should try before you buy.
You should assess each pen based on:
Gel pens come in a variety of thicknesses, called the point size. How thick or fine you'd like your pen to be will depend on what you intend to use it for.
Thicker pens are suited to coloring pages while thinner point sizes work well when note-taking.
A quality gel pen shouldn't bleed meaning the ink shouldn't spread beyond its intended point size. Pens that bleed often result in imperfect lines. This is not only dissatisfying to work with it can lead to messy work.
Skipping means the flow of ink is interrupted causing a "skip" in your line. If you're testing a pen and it skips, do yourself a favor and skip the purchase.
Good quality gel ink has staying power. It shouldn't fade over time. If you're testing a prospective pen in-store, do a quick flip through the notepaper to see how previous test scrawls look.
The viscosity of gel pen ink differs from brand to brand which means some pens dry faster than others. A slow-drying pen isn't necessarily a bad pen but you should be mindful of what you intend to use it for when buying.
If you're needing to take quick notes and flip pages on the fly, you'll want to favor ink that dries quickly. There's nothing worse than a smudged bullet journal!
Many pens are true to their case color but some might surprise you. Testing the color of any prospective pen will ensure that surprise doesn't bite you in the wallet.
Many gel pens are refillable which is great for the planet and for your wallet. When choosing gel pens, take note of whether they're refillable and where you can source extra ink.
The best gel pens are fun, useful, and satisfying to use. So the next time you're in your local stationery shop take some time to test out their gel pens. Take care that your purchases don't bleed, skip, fade, or smear and your next project will be as satisfying as your purchase.