The Pen… Mightier

January 18, 2017

There are a handful of products that most of us use every day without taking the time to consider the impact that they have on our state of mind. As a graphic designer, I need to consider composition and hierarchy in my work every day to successfully craft a thoughtful user experience. This year, I’m using that same mindset to take a hard look at the basic objects that compose my everyday and address how my engagement with those forms can become a little less casual and (hopefully) a lot more meaningful, starting with writing instruments.

I use a pen or pencil at some point throughout the day, every day, and most of you likely do as well. It’s easy to overlook this interaction, reach for the closest Bic or Pilot pen and begin scrawling away. In most cases, that pen will get the job done just fine, but the longer you use it the more you’ll likely notice the more subtle qualities of your writing experience. Maybe the pen tip drags on a heavier paper stock, maybe the ink pools if you rest your hand for a moment while composing your thoughts, or maybe it simply doesn’t sit well in your hand. If you find yourself looking for an alternative to your standard writing or drawing experience (and who wouldn’t be?!) here are several options to elevate your handiwork.

The Rule One by the HMM Project. This pen is by far the most technical of the bunch, operating as both a measured rule and a pen. The two elements are joined by a two magnetic fields sunk seamlessly within the body of the rule, making for a very satisfying user experience. The Rule One also comes with a stylus head attachment that you can use to customize your experience and make it more digitally relevant. Also, it just looks pretty.


The Rule One from the HMM Project makes for a clean line and is tremendously pleasing to look at and engage with.

The Midori Brass Bullet Pen is a bit more simple in design but by no means any less elegant. Similar to the Rule One, the Midori has two separate parts that join to make for a lovely presentation. Between the brass housing, the stainless treatment to the joint and tip and the wood of the pen body, this pen makes for a very textural experience. It also gives you an extra breath between separating and joining the forms to collect your thoughts.


The Midori Bullet Pen, manufactured in Japan, combines different surface treatments to create a completely uniform whole.

The Autopoint mechanical pencil is the simplest of the bunch, but it is equally satisfying to use. It’s very minimally branded (a hallmark of all three options) and the combination of angled and curved forms rests quite easily in the hand. A simple twist of the pencil advances the lead, eliminating the need for endless click-click-clicking.autopoint_mechanicalpencil_01If you spend your days writing or drawing, then perhaps the options above will provide you with enough inspiration to elevate your everyday experience! If not, who am I to say what’s write or wrong.