Today is Fountain Pen Day—an odd "holiday" for some, but for me, it now makes total sense. Over the last eighteen months, I've found myself spiraling down the stationery rabbit hole, with fountain pens in particular.
In May 2021, I hit a wall. I was frustrated with constantly switching apps, reading tech blogs, staring at my Apple Watch, and wondering if there was a better app or piece of software that I could use to make my work more efficient. After endless optimizing and tuning all the digital bits of my life, I became acutely aware of how intertwined my life had become with technology. This feeling of being chained to technology led me to press pause and go back to basics—in my case, pen and paper.
I had heard about fountain pens and their better writing experience from, oddly enough, a productivity podcast. I did research into beginner fountain pens and ended up purchasing a Pilot Kakuno. Writing with a fountain pen is a uniquely different experience; it feels like using a metal paintbrush. You are applying the ink to paper using tines, which act like metal brushes. This Pilot Kakuno was unlike any Bic I had ever used—it was smooth and, dare I say, fun to use.
I had a Moleskine notebook laying around, but had read that they weren't the best notebooks to use with fountain pen ink. This led me to find a notebook that worked well with fountain pen ink, so I purchased a Leuchturm 1917 notebook. As I took my written notes and kept track of my to-do lists on paper, my mind began to slow down. Slowing down created space in my thoughts to move on to other places, like thinking about drawing and painting—something I had stopped doing as I lived my life inside of a computer. I started a morning journal where I penned all the trivial or interesting bits of my life.
There are many things that keep me actively collecting and using stationery, and in particular, fountain pens. Fountain pens have pulled me back into drawing and illustration—something I had stopped doing altogether as an adult. The stationery community is diverse and global, spanning all genders, ages, and areas of the world. I greatly appreciate this. There is a long history with fountain pens that tends to begin at the turn of the twentieth century. If you're into history and vintage collecting, there is a world here waiting for you.
If you have never used a fountain pen before and are even mildly curious, I would encourage you to pick one up and see what you think. I'm happy that I chased my curiosity and I'm building my home in the rabbit hole for now.
A multidisciplinary designer based in Nashville who is passionate about solving hard problems with human centered design. Read more.