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A different pen for a different task?

I love spending time with my Mum and my sister – we’re a close family and spend a lot of time together – which can often bring up interesting topics of conversation. Just before Christmas, we had a conversation about our favourite pens (I know, rock and roll!) and how my Mum has a favourite pen that she uses to complete her crosswords – but that is a different pen to the one that she uses to write letters and cards.

As I am a bit of geek with stuff like this, it really made me think about the pens that I use – and whether this phenomenon is unique to my family, or more general. In my job, I see so many different types of pens – from very cheap to very expensive, with branding, without (I know, why would you?!), all different colours and styles from fun and funky to traditional and stylish. (I even saw one recently that was made from recycled parts of guns!)

But here is the thing – if we have favourite pens for particular tasks, does that affect the way that we perceive the business that we got the pen from? If the pen you always choose to use for your crossword is a promotional pen – how would that make you feel about the company who’s branding is on it? If you always choose your favourite pen for writing your Birthday cards, does that mean that you’re more likely to recommend that company to others? If a pen is particularly weighty, or feels like a quality pen, do we assign more value to that company than another, cheaper feeling or lightweight pen?

Going further than that – would you want your promotional pen to be the one someone always uses? Of course you would! Therefore when selecting the best pen for your business, you need to think about when you want your customers to be using the pen… are you targeting the more mature sections of society? In which case a fine tipped ballpen could be perfect – as these are ideal for crosswords (I’m reliably informed) as you can write clearly in the small letter boxes, and the ink doesn’t seep through the newspaper pages. If you’re targeting architects, then the Rotring Rapid Pro Ballpen is really popular. People writing lovely letters / signing important documents often still love a fountain pen and with high quality corporate gifts from Parker, Waterman, Shaeffer and Cross to name a few, there is no reason that your brand can’t be in the right hands.

What about coloured ink? I was always told that it was bad manners to write someone’s name in red ink (because of its similarity to blood!), but is all this superstitious nonsense? What do you think if someone writes in blue, green, purple, red ink instead of black? Do you even notice? I spent years at school writing only writing with a coloured fountain pen – I loved the light blue and pink inks – not sure my teachers did! I still love coloured inks now – I find it helps me see different things, and was told that using coloured inks helps revising as it triggers different parts of your brain! If the people that you are giving the pens to are likely to be completing forms or legal documents, then black ink would be the preference – as always, you need to keep your audience in mind when making these sorts of decisions.

At this point, I do wonder if I’m overthinking it – but I’d love to know your thoughts – is there something in the pens that we love (even if it’s for doing a job that we hate?). Do we all love the same pens or are we all as different as my crazy family?

What would make a pen your favourite?

Rubber Grip – yes or no?
Thin or Chunky Barrel?
Lid/Cap Click or Twist action?
Straight barrel, or curvy?
Shaped barrel – e.g triangle?
Soft touch or shiny?
Metal or Plastic?
Rollerball/Ballpen or a Fountain Pen?

What really does make the perfect pen?

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