Discover The Perfect Pen at Ryman®
There is no denying we live in a fast-paced world of digital communication, but the good old pen is still an essential part of work, education and home life for all of us.
From humble beginnings as a feather (quill) dipped into an inkpot to the modern-day biro that you simply can't live without; pens are still a writing instrument that many of us use quite literally every day! Knowing what kind of pen you need though, can be tricky.
Here at Ryman, we want to ensure that you have the information that you need to find the perfect pen.
Whether you are writing at work or note-taking at university, creating arts and crafts projects at home or simply need a pen for shopping lists, handwriting practice after school or hand lettering your scrapbook; we have got you covered.
Nib & Ink Types
The nib of a pen is the part that comes into contact with the writing surface. Nibs vary in terms of their shape, material and size in order to create different types of line. Incredibly fine lines are needed for technical drawing so a thin metal nib would be required. Nibs designed for when you are in a rush include a small ball at the tip to prevent any smudging.
As for ink, paper options are usually washable water-based inks included within the barrel of the pen in a reservoir which then feeds the nib. Fountain pens such as Parker feature reservoirs which are disposable or refillable in the form of an ink cartridge.
There are plenty of pen inks that are oil and alcohol-based making them permanent, ideal for use on plastic, metal and glass such as POSCA markers or Sharpies.
To help you understand the differences and to make the right choice for you and your writing needs, we have included details within each pen type below.
Find Your Perfect Pen
The Fountain Pen
Perfect for signatures and famous for quality, performance and style!
Nib Type: Made from Steel or Metal available in a variety of sizes; M (medium) being the most commonly used to give a line width of around 0.8mm
Ink Type: Permanent or washable inks available in cartridges or traditional bottles
Writing Function: Handwriting, signatures, Italic flair for thank you cards or wedding invitations, the perfect gift.
Top Brands: Parker, Lamy, Cross,
The Ballpoint Pen
Perfect for fast writing and jotting. Revolutionary in the stationery world, designed to eliminate smudges!
Nib Type: Small brass on steel ball at the tip
Ink Type: Usually oil-based
Writing Function: Note-taking, everyday use such as list-making and doodling
Top Brands: BiC, Paper Mate, Zebra
The Rollerball Pen
Perfect for smooth comfortable writing over long periods as the ink flow is so smooth.
Nib Type: Small brass or steel ball at the tip (The same as Ballpoint pens)
Ink Type: Usually water-based
Writing Function: Long periods of writing or revision
Top Brands: Pilot, uni-ball, Parker
The Fineliner Pen
Perfect for drawing and sketching as the nib type allows for fine, controlled line work.
Nib Type: Narrow felt or plastic fibre nib
Ink Type: Ink reservoir made from polyester
Writing Function: Hand lettering, technical drawing and sketching
Top Brands: Staedtler, uni-ball, Stabilo
The Handwriting Pen
Perfect for learning how to write, the tip has a resistance to paper making letter formation easier.
Nib Type: Usually round with a 0.6mm nib point
Ink Type: Washable ink in black or blue
Writing Function: Learning to write at home or at school
Top Brands: Berol, Stabilo, uni-ball
The Brush Pen
Perfect for scriptwriting, hand lettering, adult colouring and card making as the nib is almost like a paintbrush in its design.
Nib Type: Mimics brush-like quality of a paintbrush combined with a felt tip
Ink Type: Generally water-based ink
Writing Function: Drawing, colouring, crafts, hand lettering and getting super creative
Top Brands: Spectrum Noir, Tombow, POSCA
The Marker Pen
Perfect for crafts, art & design and colouring on all kinds of materials. Check out our 21 Ways To Use A Sharpie Marker for inspo!
Nib Type: Hard felt tip in a variety of sizes and shapes such a bullet, chisel and fine
Ink Type: Alcohol-based permanent or semi-permanent ink
Writing Function: Various surfaces can be written on including glass, plastic, wood, metal, and stone
Top Brands: Sharpie, POSCA, Edding
The Whiteboard Pen (Dry-erase Marker Pen)
Perfect for whiteboards and glass, a teacher's best friend!
Nib Type: Hard felt tip in a variety of sizes and shapes such as a bullet, chisel and fine
Ink Type: Erasable ink, simply wipe off and write again
Writing Function: Presentations on whiteboards, overhead projectors and classroom use
Top Brands: Staedtler, Helix, Pentel
The Gel Pen
Perfect for card writing and illustration as the gel ink leaves a strong colour on paper and card.
Nib Type: Typically ballpoint or felt tip
Ink Type: Water-based gel with a range of vibrant colours available
Writing Function: Cards, crafts, invitations, fine colouring and lettering
Top Brands: Scentos, Ryman, Paper Mate
The Highlighter Pen
Perfect for revision and making areas of text stand out from a page.
Nib Type: Felt tip with a chisel-shaped nib
Ink Type: Water-based liquid ink often fluorescent in colour, with pastels shades now on trend
Writing Function: Highlight notes, highlight keywords in the text, colour coding
Top Brands: Stabilo, Staedtler, Edding
The Calligraphy Pen
Perfect for creating precise styles of script, usually italic in design, how you hold the pen will determine the type of line created.
Nib Type: Some feature interchangeable nibs while others use a broad nib
Ink Type: Most calligraphy inks are shellac-based which is very black in colour
Writing Function: Wedding and event invitations, graphic design, art & crafts such as scrapbooking and journaling
Top Brands: Manuscript
The Colouring Pen
Perfect for colouring in and getting creative! Whether you are buying felt tip colouring pens for an adult or a child, colouring is a proven stress reliever and is great for dexterity.
Nib Type: The felt tip is made from highly compressed synthetic fibres
Ink Type: Can be a washable water-based ink (ideal for children) or oil and alcohol-based permanent inks
Writing Function: Add colour to all of your projects, colour in, draw or blend water-based felt tips with water for a great effect
Top Brands: Paper Mate, BiC Kids, Staedtler
The Multifunction Pen
Perfect for when you need 4 different ink colours all in one handy pen! A must-have for your school pencil case or office desk.
Nib Type: Ballpoint or rollerball nib types
Ink Type: Various ink colours all in one handy barrel
Writing Function: Access various colours quickly, ideal for note-taking and revision
Top Brands: BiC
The Left Handed
Left handed pens have been specially designed for lefties, giving a more comfortable writing experience.
Nib Type: Generally ballpoint or rollerball
Ink Type: Water-based or erasable
Writing Function: Left handed writers
Top Brands: Stabilo