Nendo has teamed up with Japanese stationery brand Zebra to create bLen, a ballpoint pen that focuses on how smoothly they can draw straight lines. However, the motion of writing requires numerous subtle movements, such as small curves and breaks of the text, not just the creation of straight lines. The approach of the project can be compared to designing a practical “compact car” that fulfills small needs of our daily lives, rather than designing an aerodynamic “sports car” that is best for fast and linear drives.
Firstly, in order to stabilize the position of the pen, a lower center of gravity was established by placing a brass weight at the tip of the pen. This weight allows for a smooth and gentle touch on the paper, while significantly reducing unexpected movements of pen due to the centripetal force created while writing.
Secondly, to eliminate noises that can occur on rapid movement, a fixing element was added between the cartridge and the exterior, which keeps the parts in correct positions and reduces unnecessary movements of internal parts. An additional spring was also added to the retractable button system which functions as a suspension to reduce the rattling and noises on writing. Smooth writing experience was further enhanced with special ink cartridges that were designed to be 0.4mm bolder than normal ones for minimal bending, providing thick and smooth emulsion ink.
Lastly, matching to the interior, the pen’s body has a chunky, easy-to-hold shape that can be used comfortably for long hours. The pen’s clip was designed to be flat for seamless match with the product shape and stable balance on writing, while the button was made flat and wide for easy push. Similar to professional drawing tools, the pen displays its technical information, such as ink color and line thickness, on the top of its clickable button rather than on the side surface of its cover, allowing for easier and faster identification even when placed in a pen holder. Selling price of the product has been set at 150JPY (excl. tax) with 3 color variations (black, red, blue) and 2 types of pen tips (0.5mm, 0.7mm).