Pens of Kickstarter

Thanks to Kickstarter, putting pen to paper is hardly a thing of the past. In all fairness it never really went away, but Kickstarter helped put lots of cool options in our hands, bags and desk drawers. They all have a few things in common: they’re better than anything you’d find in a big box store; they’re pricier than a crate of BICs and they’re generally made out of a durable material like aluminum or brass. Here are some of our favorites.


The Pen Project

Local Massachusetts production. Independent design. 6061 Aluminum filled with a Fisher SPR4 refill. Total length closed is about as long as your middle finger. When open, it’s just long enough to be the perfect pen. It’s minimal and stands on the merits of it’s own engineering, or the perfectly flat machined top. Aside from the fact that it’s easily the most portable of all these pens, the part we love most is the fact it only takes one and three quarters turns to get the cap on and off. Schon DSGN | Shop Cool Material


The Bolt

The one thing that most of these pens have in common is a screw cap. The Pen Type-A doesn’t, but it’s not really portable. The Bolt is the only “clicker” style pen on this list, and that’s part of the reason it’s a favorite. The bolt action mechanism deploys any of the twenty plus compatible pen refills with a satisfying yet simple push, twist and flick motion. It’s so satisfying in fact that you’re going to find yourself playing with it whenever the pen is in your hand. The constant hand workout is enough of a reason to put this pen near the top of the list, but it’s also convenient, balanced and a pleasure to write with. With all that said, we’d take the brass option over the aluminum because the heft feels a little better in the hand. Karas Kustoms | Shop Cool Material


Render K

Stainless, stainless and more stainless. Pocket clip attached to a knurled top with machine screws. The perfect taper from top to bottom. Triple-start threads for security and easy-on, easy-off access. It’s light and portable, but be careful with the cap when you’re using it because there’s no way to attach it to the pen. Karas Kustoms | Shop Cool Material



Solid Titanium Pen + Stylus

I was once wrote that “Until Chadwick and Joe one-up themselves again, this will be our instrument of choice in all things written.” The pen is balanced and clean. It has a pocket-clip and a replaceable, conductive stylus tip. The most important aspect of this pen, though, is the fact it works with over thirty different refills–without inserts or cutting or modification. Bic Velocity? Done. Mont Blanc? No problem. Hi-Tec-C? Not an issue. It’s easily the most versatile of any of the pens on this list and that’s before you factor in the stylus tip. Big Idea Design



The first pen introduced by BIGiDESIGN was the stainless steel catalyst that helped build an empire. At less than $30 a pen (and that’s at retail if you buy it right now), it’s also one of the less expensive options on the list. But being inexpensive doesn’t mean that BIGiDESIGN made any sacrifices with the construction. It’s smooth, balanced and just the right length for all your Hi-Tec-C writing needs. If we’re nit-picking, the back screw comes off in the cap a little too often. Big Idea Design


Pen Type-A

The niche market of HI-Tec-C refill lovers got a new holy grail with the release of this pen in 2011. The design was so popular that it was blatantly ripped off. Why? The pen is milled from a block of 304 stainless and has bunch of functions. It’s sleeve is a ruler. It doubles as a paperweight. Removing the pen quickly generates a satisfying popping sound. It’s heavy, over-engineered and only requires a simple pull to operate. Each of those things makes it a phenomenal pen for your desk, but not one for your bag. CW&T



Magnets. A desk stand. Multiple finishes. Take the pen out of the stand, unscrew the cap, pop it on the back. It’s simple, streamlined and quite frankly, gorgeous. The magnets are so strong that they work vertically, horizontally and upside down. If you enjoy the ultra-precise Hi-Tec-C refill, and there’s a metal surface around your work space, the EiMIM Pen is for you. We only wish there was no cap screw. EiMIM


  • TheWuWu

    I personally thought the X-Pen from minimal duck was genius. Magnetic cap and simple looking. I wish they’d go into production again since I missed that kickstarter. I have both the P1 Pen and the PHX Pen and often wish there was something in between.

  • Brandon Eley

    I have half of these pens….

    – Both alum and brass versions of Render-K
    – Pen-Type A
    – Titanium Pen + Stylus
    – The Pen Project

    Just backed the Visionnaire project and backed Clutch pencil holder too (not a pen, but still a writing/drawing tool). Yeah, it’s a problem.

  • pauldlynch

    In the end I went for the eco-essential pen; Hi-Tec-C and now Pilot G2 supported, bamboo barrel and stylus cap, plus a cool felt case.

  • BigB

    The Render K is aluminum, not stainless. Only the clip is stainless. Your write up kinda makes it sounds like the whole pen is stainless.

    I’m really excited for the Karas Kustom’s Retrakt pen myself. I backed their current project for an aluminum pen, and a copper pen as well.

  • Mike Finneran

    How did you overlook the Alpha Pen?

  • Mother Hydra

    I emailed them – they recommended signing up for their mailing list to get notified about another run of x-pen.

  • John Smith

    How did you miss Prometheus Writes great offerings in both Ti and Aluminum ? These fantastic pens are specifically designed around the Mont Blanc refill.