(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter. And check out her first novel, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, now available where books are sold!)
I've often thought of gel pens in terms of nostalgia. They're the tools of my school days past. The Uni-ball Signo DX (also known as the UM-151) forces me to reassess that. Because these are also tools of my present and future. That's not nostalgia I'm feeling--it's a lifelong commitment. And with a pen this well built (that's also refillable), that's not much of an exaggeration.
Signos are well constructed pens. The plastic is durable, the clip is sturdy, and the conical metal tip is made to resist breaking. There's also a comfortable rubber grip. I love that these pens have a snap cap instead of a click. The interior of the cap has a wee hat for the point and I wonder if it plays a role in keeping the ink flowing so well. If it's not the inner lid, it's Uni-ball's secret ink recipe. Or both!
Of all the gel inks I've tried (that's a lot, folks), Signo is the best. Occasionally there's a slight skip, but only very rarely, and usually because I was moving too fast. I am particularly impressed with this pastel ink. A lot of pastel inks I've tried end up clumpy and clog the tip or get stuck high up in the cartridge and it stops flowing down to the tip.
This pigment-based ink flows as smooth as milk from the pen, but turns viscous once it hits the paper, so there's no feathering or bleeding. The lines stay crisp and clean. The ink is waterproof, fade-resistant, archival, and acid-free, and the opaque pastel colors work on white, black, or colorful papers. They'll even write on top of other media, so they're wonderful for art.
These pastel versions come with an 0.7 mm tip and cost $2.85 apiece or $21 for the set of all eight colors: blue, pink, orange, red, green, yellow, violet, and white. It's not too bad--especially considering you can refill them, though the pastel refills are a bit tricky to find. They're certainly worth the cost, either way.
These are great tools--as fun as they are useful. I'd say they bring out my inner child, but adult me likes them just as much.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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