Timeless Design #1: Parker Jotter

The very first pen I ever used (once I had gotten my “pen license” back in Grade 4) was a Parker Jotter. Since then, the phrase “ballpoint pen” has come to be synonymous, for me, with Parker’s iconic design.

But what makes this pen so iconic?

It lies in the simplicity of the design. The Jotter is a clean, professional, straightforward writing instrument. The “feathered arrow” clip has come to signify this design, as has the tapered, almost bullet-like barrel. Since its introduction in the 1950s, the Jotter’s design hasn’t changed much. The technology within the pen is in itself remarkable, and shows the level of attention to detail, and the care and craftsmanship behind the design. For example, each click rotates the ink cartridge 90˚, ensuring even wear on the delicate plastics of the refill.

But for the average user, such things are inconsequential, and the pen’s design speaks for itself: its smooth surfaces, chromed clip holder and matte or shiny barrel present an inviting instrument beckoning one to jot down thoughts.

And it’s light. This, alone, is a major factor in the success of the pen: it truly lives up to its name, allowing rapid movement across the page.

The Jotter’s colour scheme is another major design point. Throughout its long history, this pen has featured a range of bright colours appealing to students, and more subdued, “serious” tones perfect for diligent scriveners or boardroom warriors.

I’ve gone through numerous Jotters since I began writing in ink. And whilst I continue to live a life in pixels, the Jotter will always remain my faithful companion, ready to ink my thoughts and ideas.


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