The Pen: Functional Object, Cool Accessory or Status Symbol?

For centuries, writing instruments have, of course, played an important role in society. From early Egyptian scribes to the #2 pencil you yourself used in elementary school, knowledge has always been passed down through the written word. That is, of course, until the advent of the digital age. With technology being able to pass information at lightning-speed, the pen has become less at the forefront of innovation and, in some ways, taken a back seat – or pocket.

We at Inkstable are advocates not only of writing instruments but also of the act of handwriting. We see value in their use and think that pens and technology can coincide in today’s world. But, the question is still posed from time to time – what is the function of a pen anymore? Is it an object to use? An accessory for your desk? Or, quite simply, a status symbol? 

We’ll try to dissect that here, one by one.

Is a pen an object that’s for use? Why – of course it is! While design elements play a large role in pens on the market today, the main functionality always goes back to how it feels to use the pen. Even a Porsche’s main function is to get you from Point A to Point B and a pen is no different in terms of being built for use. With that said, there are many benefits to writing your notes by hand and, even in today’s world, typing on a keyboard doesn’t have the same effects for our brain and even emotional wellbeing. So, of course, a pen is an object that’s practically begging for use.

But is it an accessory, too?

Of course, there are many types of pen users. Go to any pen show and you will see for yourself how varied the community is. But for those who enjoy the physical beauty of the pens, I believe that they can be seen as an accessory as well. Considering the images that many in the pen community share on Instagram – beautiful photos of pens matching leather journals and tucked into bespoke suits – and we don’t think we’re alone in saying that a pen can be a more powerful accessory than, say, a tie or pocket square, in the right situation.

And finally, it’s an open secret that we love luxury pens here. It would be hard for us to deny that the right pen is a status symbol, too. There is a certain panache about having a Montblanc in your hand when you’re in a meeting or displaying your Montegrappa for others to see that is hard to replicate with more economical pen options (which, of course, have their place in the community too!). Like any industry, certain brands rise up above the competition, given their brand equity and name recognition which has an almost totemic effect on the owner of the pen, too. 

It’s hard to put the usefulness of a pen into a box, and that’s why we, instead, believe that, to fully answer this question, we should instead look at the reason you’re using a pen or other writing instrument or what pen you’re buying. Each pen has a different connection to its owner and one pen can tick all three boxes. It’s how you choose to use it that matters. And that you have a bit of fun while doing it.

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