We are a small London based start-up who make fountain pens. Writing tools that are functional and designed to be used. Not objects to just be kept and admired.
Flex nib fountain pens for calligraphy and illustration
At the heart of our design is an ink delivery system that allows for lovely line variation: Flex nibs and a feed system that keeps up. This allows you to vary line thickness from an ‘extra fine’ to a ‘double broad’ just by varying pressure when you write. It makes handwritten notes expressive, calligraphy beautiful and adds an organic dimension to illustration. Most importantly, it's fun.
My love for fountain pens started early
I grew up in an age when kids were given their first fountain pen as a reward when their handwriting reached acceptable standards. My first pen was a cheap and leaky plastic thing with a scratchy nib. Only ‘regulation’ black ink was allowed at school. But I loved my pen. And felt proud of having earned the right to use it. Albeit mostly on tedious copy books, endlessly writing lines about a quick brown fox.
Through school and university, I graduated all the way to the obligatory Lamy Safari and dabbled with Rotring’s steel point isographs for technical drawing. I even enjoyed green ink - only meant to be used by editors and eccentrics.
Discovering flex nib fountain pens
Last year, forced to slow down by the pandemic, I rediscovered some old fountain pens. I found amazing inks online. And started writing again. To slow down. For enjoyment.
Then I discovered flex nibs while geeking out over super slo-mo, tight-shot videos of people writing.
I quickly realised that good flex pens and flex nibs were very expensive, crafted objects, often hand-made and hand tuned. And they cost many multiples of what I was willing to spend on a pen or nib.
Designing the perfect Fountain Pen
I started experimenting with nibs and feeds to try and hack a solution that was affordable. The journey was amazing and rewarding.
I got better at calligraphy. I spoke to a British nib maker in Birmingham whose business was established in the 1790s! I met an amazing Indian family run business who started making fountain pens in the 1940s to reduce the country’s reliance on British made goods during the independence struggle.I obsessed over the subtle differences between German and Chinese made cartridge converters. And tangentially, developed a paper ‘habit’ that’s another story for a different time.
I soon realised that I had something special. An ink delivery system that produced amazing flex output. The next step was setting up a business. And the small matter of designing a pen.
A writing tool designed around this system. To be used everyday. Designed with form following function. Well made and affordable.
Prototyping and Production
I decided to use 3D printing and CNC machining to prototype and manufacturer The Good Blue pens. These technologies make it easy (and fun) to go from design concept to completed product. What’s more, they democratise the process. You don't have to invest large sums of money upfront to develop tooling and produce moulds or casts. And you can go from design to product in a matter of weeks rather than months or years. Perfect for a young and nimble brand like The Good Blue. And so, our first pen was designed, prototyped, tested, and ready to manufacture.
It’s been a labour of love, a passion project. A passion that comes through in our products. And a passion I hope I can share with you.