For someone who grew up in the ‘90s, the term ‘gel pen’ brings back memories of colourful, metallic and even scented pens. A good collection could easily make you the envy of your peers. But today, gel pens aren’t just for children or for colouring – they have their place in the office, too.
Wendy Vickery, Marketing Manager at Pentel, says: “The gel pen market reached an all-time high in the mid to late 1990s when wide colour ranges were first introduced. These became extremely fashionable and highly collectible – especially for teenagers. After this trend peaked, sales stabilised as the technology established itself in the office.”
Today, gel pens are so prevalent in the workplace that Pukka Pads sees them as a ‘natural extension’ to its range of notebooks.
It’s easy to see why children are attracted to bright, colourful gel pens, but what is it about them that appeals so much to office workers?
For Aimee Owen, Marketing Executive at Pilot Pen, the secret lies in the smooth, consistent writing experience. Unlike ballpoint pens, which use a viscous oil-based ink that requires a hard ballpoint to activate, gel pen ink is made from pigment suspended in a water- based gel and is much more free-flowing.
“A gel or liquid ink pen will distribute, on average, four times as much ink as a ballpoint, so the write-out distance will be shorter, but the overall comfort of the delivery will be much smoother, consistent and provide a more even coverage without scratching, skipping or blobbing, which is often attributed more to ballpoint pens,” she explains.
Pentel’s Wendy Vickery points out that because they require very little pressure to write with gel pens are particularly good for those who suffer from writing fatigue, adding that the wide choice of colours and ink types has value for a range of business applications.
“Sales of different colours are growing steadily. Colour coding, underlining and highlighting important text are some of the key uses. Within the education sector, teachers often use violet or green ink to mark homework and other colours to write key guidance notes to students,” she explains.
Diversity is not limited to colour options. As well as being a great choice for everyday writing in the workplace, gel pens feature a variety of ink types for more specialist applications, from erasability at one end of the spectrum to permanent, archive-quality durability at the other.