Malden 2014.3: Yet Another Malden Update

Surprise! Less than a month after my last Malden update and here I am with yet another update. Though with my track record on pen changes, maybe it won’t be all too surprising…

After starting off with an array of pens, I quickly switched to the FriXion pens everyone knows and loves. I was happy with them for almost a year, but their ability to erase (even when I didn’t want them to) eventually led me to leave them for the Pilot V5 series. Then I ditched the V5s for the Staedtler Triplus Fineliner. Not too long after that, I was done with the fineliners and in love with the Coleto. Somewhere along the line, I got rid of the Coleto and switched to the amazingly archival Sakura Pigma Micron.

For a long time, I was happy. I didn’t have to worry about fading or erasing ink, and since I’d eliminated my color code system all together I didn’t have to worry about carrying more than one pen. I simply used black and crossed off tasks with a highlighter.

While the system worked, there were a couple flaws: 1. I felt like the highlighter made my pages look messy and too bright, and I worried about their archival quality. 2. While I LOVE the Microns, the nibs are fairly delicate. I nearly died when a co-worker borrowed one once and bent the nib to 90 degrees. Not to mention that the Micron 005 (with it’s .2mm nib) is my size of choice, making the nib even more prone to fast wear and damage. 

Enter the Uni-ball Signo Ultra Micro (.38mm) retractable. I saw these on sale while browsing Staples one day, and for $5 for a four pack figured I couldn’t go wrong. For reference, a single Micron pen runs $2.99 USD at my local Michaels. According to Uni-ball, the pens have Super Ink that helps prevent against check and document fraud. That should be good enough for my use!

I love how the pen writes, and even though it is .18mm wider than my favorite Micron, I feel like it is barely noticeable. Maybe it is because the Signo writes with a dark, clear line. As you can see in the photo above, I’ve also eliminated the use of the highlighter, instead I just use a typical line to cross off tasks. Anything that isn’t completed gets circled with an arrow indicating that the task needs to be pushed forward. 

I’m also using washi tape to highlight important items, and the Martha Stewart dew drops to note reoccurring tasks like trash and packing my lunch. Another bonus is that the Signo seems to be writing well on most of my washi tape - something that was always a challenge with the Microns. I actually had to keep a separate pen in my case just for use on washi, so I’m glad I don’t need to worry about that anymore if I’m out and about. I’ve actually noticed that I’m using my pen and Filofax a lot more, especially for capturing details. I think a big part of it is not having to worry about a delicate pen.

The only downside so far is that the rubberized grip on the Signo makes it impossible to fit into the Malden’s pen loop or the elasticated stick on pen loops. Fortunately, I remember someone mentioning using a binder clip as a pen holder, and that has worked as a pretty good hack so far!

I keep my mechanical pencil (a Uni-ball Kuru Toga) in the pen loop, and even with that and the Signo clipped to the front the binder still closes perfectly.

I have no idea how long this pen affair will last, since it’s no secret they always seem fleeting. How I’ve been in the same binder for nearly three years but can’t seem to keep a darn pen choice nailed down is beyond me. Oh well. Fortunately, I still use the Microns for journaling, so they definitely won’t go to waste.

What’s your favorite pen these days? Does it seem to change by the minute?

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