One of the joys of loving fountain pens is that there are so many choices when it comes to the color, shape, size of the pen, etc. On the flip side, one of the challenges of being a fountain pen enthusiast is that there are the same amounts of choices. So many options and only so many words and pages to write (not that this ever stopped a pen lover from acquiring another pen, mind you). But now add choosing a nib size to suit your handwriting style and the benefits and difficulties of narrowing down what might suit you best become even more complex.
Most pen aficionados will tell you that it took some time to discover the nib that made their penmanship sing. For many, nib size is determined by how their handwriting looks on the page and for others it is how the width of the nib feels when they write. No matter the priority, we wanted to offer our humble advice on the matter.
Our ability to offer this assistance comes by way of some pretty legit company history. Before a single pen was made, Esterbrook already had more than 250 nib types in production for use with dip pens. In fact, Esterbrook was globally known as a resource for a nib to suit every writers’ whim. So, when we began our quest to breathe new life into the company, nibs were definitely on our minds.
We started with five standard nib sizes and slowly but surely, we are adding our own proprietary nibs in partnership with some of our favorite nibmeisters. We may not get to 250 (that’s just way over the top, don’t you think?) but we recognize that the writing experience is often informed by the nib, so we love to help clients get it right.
One of our friends, @mountainofink (do you want to put her real name here, too?) who happens to have one of the most celebrated blogs about ink, lent us a hand to demonstrate what each of our nibs looks like on paper. Using her samples, you can start to get a feel of what you might like.
Some things to think about when considering an extra fine or fine nib:
Is your handwriting generally smaller and is that the aesthetic you prefer?
Do you like the ink you are using to be uniform and not shade or sheen on the paper?
Is the paper or notebook you use a small memo book or pocket notebook?
Why a medium nib might be a good choice:
If you are planning to use your pen for everyday writing and have average sized handwriting.
If you like variation in your ink colors to show up on the page, but not distract.
Is a broad the right nib for you to choose?
Do you have larger handwriting and like it that way?
Do you want to make a statement by letting your inks shade and sheen front and center on the page?
Do you like to write on larger paper or in larger notebooks?
For the veteran fountain pen writer or for the adventurous newbie. a 1.1 stub might offer the desired experience. With the tipping flattened on one side, this nib offers the ability to create a narrow line on the cross stroke and a broader line on the down stroke. Many are fans of the stub nib because it allows for the look of calligraphy without all of the fuss. If you’re feeling a little bit fancy, this might be the nib for you.
For our first proprietary nib, we partnered with Gena Salorino of Custom Nib Studio. Inspired by one of Esterbrook’s vintage stub nibs, Gena worked her magic and created “The Journaler.” She describes the uber special medium stub nib this way: “The idea is that it's smooth and friendly enough for everyday use, gives your writing some flair, all without being too huge for practical writing.”
Over time you may also find that your preferences change and many of our nibs are interchangeable and offered individually so that you can have a variety of them in your pen case.
No matter the nib you choose, be assured that all of our nibs are designed and tuned to delight and be a lasting part of your collection