shop :: Meet Your Perfect Fine Pen

I (Gillian) have a love affair with office accessories, particularly paper goods and writing utensils. I always wondered if there is a process behind buying a fine pen, or if you can pick any one that looks good. I turned to the experts at Notables to get the scoop. I was only half right...

What makes a pen fine, you ask? It’s the distinct materials and processes that go into making it, including higher quality ink resins. They are all refillable and sturdy so they're built to last a lifetime. 

Fine pens can range from around $100 to over $1000 and beyond. Notables offers what I call “intro fine pens” starting as low as $18 – you’ll notice a difference in the feel and writing of the pen but the materials aren’t as superior as you’d find in a true fine pen.

How do you know which pen is for you? When it's right, you'll just feel it (how romantic!). Test out different weights (with and without the cap) and barrel widths to see what feels best. The type of ink you choose will really change the experience:

This is great for someone who can’t put a lot of pressure on their hands (arthritis, injuries, etc) because it has an easy flow of ink. Inks are water-based so you’ll always want to recap it when not in use. Most brands work with universal refills.

This is the least expensive type of fine pen. It uses oil-based ink (so it doesn’t need a cap) and it works best for note taking. It is easy to manage but requires more pressure than a rollerball does. Refills are available in a wide variety of colours and widths.

Fountain Pen
Yes, it’s the kind you use for beautiful calligraphy (gaining popularity again)! There are different nib options available other than calligraphy – extra fine, fine, medium, and broad. These require a higher level of care than rollerball or ballpoint – they need a cartridge or converter and a pot of ink to refill the pen – but they can make writing very smooth and luxurious.

Whether you find yourself jotting down notes throughout the day, or you sign million dollar contracts on the regular, a fine pen is worth treating yourself to. If quality writing tools gets you as excited as me, Notables can set you up with some high end note cards and stationery (that can all be personalized) to go with your new fine pen, too! 

Notables Stationers (12543-102 Ave, 780.488.4625,

Personal note: Someone special (cough, Kendall, cough) got me started on fine pens. She gave one to me for the purpose of writing down all my great ideas and turning them into reality. It was a really meaningful gift and now it’s more than just a pen – it’s the key to my productivity in 2013!