Aah, you’ve finally cleared a slot in your schedule to sit at your desk and write.
You might be about to let rip in your latest journal entry, or write a heartfelt letter to a loved one. Perhaps you’ve decided to enter this year’s #NaNoWriMo and you just have to finish the latest chapter while the ideas are fresh in your mind. Whatever the reason, putting your favourite pen to paper feels good, doesn’t it?
At least it does until you realise that the paper you are using has a serious problem with your pen. Why can’t everyone just get along?
Your pen and paper will have a better chance of a long lasting happy relationship once you start paying attention to the GSM (grams per square metre). The higher the GSM, the thicker the paper, 70 gsm up to 100 gsm being the most popular for writing.
So which type of paper is likely to bring out the best in your pen? Let’s look at some pens and which paper they perform best on:
Ballpoint Pens: Best on 70, 75, 80, 90, 100 GSM
It’s hardly surprising that ballpoints are the most popular type of pen for everyday use. They are the fast food of the pen world: they’re far from perfect, but they’ll satisfy your needs at that moment in time. The thicker ink is quick to dry and is unlikely to soak through pages and cause problems, which means you can expect a ballpoint to work well on all of the most popular paper types without incident.
Rollerballs and Gel Pens: Best on 80, 90, 100 GSM
The ink in a rollerball is thinner so there is more chance of the ink being quickly absorbed by the paper, creating a feathering or fuzzy effect. It’s unpleasant to look at and can have you wondering how long it’s been since your last visit to the optician. When used on thicker paper (80gsm or above) feathering is less likely to become a problem, and the chances of heavy shadowing or bleed through are reduced so you can make full use of both sides of the paper.
Fountain Pens: Best on 90 & 100 GSM
Fountain pens are well-known for being temperamental on certain types of paper (although the type of ink can also be a contributing factor), with feathering and bleeding through the page, again, being the biggest annoyances. Some lower gsm papers are fine with the ink of a fountain pen, however the best results tend to come from 90 or 100 GSM papers. Ink drying times will be longer on these less absorbent papers, but the reward for your patience is beautiful, clean, crisp lines to be proud of.
It’s not an exact science, there will be slight differences with each brand of paper. Hopefully we’ve been able to help you narrow down your search for that match made in heaven, leaving you to enjoy writing the words instead of worrying about what they are being written on.
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