Whether it’s a shopping list, memo to your partner or writing your Magnum Opus, we use pens a lot in everyday life. However, we never give much thought to the writing instruments we own. At The Journal Shop, you could say we know a bit about stationery, so we’re giving you the facts and science about these pens so you can make your choice which to go for.

Source: Pixabay


Originally, ballpoint pens were patented in 1888 by John J. Loud. they could write on coarse surfaces, such as wood and leather, unlike the more common fountain pens. On the other hand, they proved too rough for letter writing. 50 years later, a Hungarian newspaper editor, László Bíró, worked with his brother György, a chemist, to develop a new viscous ink for the ball point pens and filed a British patent in 1938.


A ball point is a pen that dispenses ink over a metal ball at its point, hence the name. It is the world’s most used writing instrument and is available in both refillable and disposable versions, like the Faber-Castell Grip 2020 Ballpoint pens from The Journal Shop.

Shop: Faber-Castell Grip 2020 Ballpoint pens



Rollerball pens were introduced in 1963 by the Japanese company, Ohto. They use liquid ink or gel ink for a smoother writing experience, rather than the viscous ink used in ballpoints. The liquid ink mimics the ink and ink supply system of an fountain pen, but with the ease of use of a ballpoint pen.


The line produced by a rollerball pen is thick and vivid, due to the ink type. Gel inks have a greater range of colours and styles because of the bigger choice of water-soluble dyes and the capacity to allow heavier pigments, such as glitter. The Journal Shop have a fantastic selection of rollerball pens, like the Sakura Gelly Roll Stardust Pen (pictured below).

Shop:  Sakura Gelly Roll Stardust Pen


Ballpoint pen dry instantly on paper, but can feel “scratchy” to use and produce a thin and less vivid line when writing. Rollerballs, due to the excess amount of ink it produces, is much smoother on paper, but it can smudge since there is more ink on the paper. This pen also runs out of ink faster than a ballpoint, which is more economical to buy.


Since ballpoints use more viscous, oil based inks, whatever you write when using it can be manipulated or altered with the use of solvents. Having said that, using a rollerball pen to write over correctional fluid that has not fully dried can clog/jam the pen, rendering it useless.


Rollerballs are not good for the absent-minded, as if left uncapped, it can leak in your pocket and dry out. Ballpoints rarely have this problem, as the ink is thicker and so can’t get past the ball in the nib as easily.

Source: Pexels


For left-handed people or those who use right to left script, a ballpoint is the better option because it dries instantly. In order to write no matter the angle, the Fisher Space ballpoint pen can write upside since it uses pressure to push the ink to the nib. Since ballpoints are mass-produced quite cheaply, replacing your pen is quite cost-effective.


For the ones writing letters, invitations, or scrapbooking, a rollerball would be ideal as the thicker and more vivid line will “pop” more than the classic ballpoint viscous ink. The smoother glide of the rollerball also means you can write more clearly and less pressure is required to write, so is also a great option for those who experience hand cramp easily.

Source: Pixabay


So, which do you think? Would you prefer to glide like the Rollerball or stay classic with the Ballpoint? Whichever you choose, The Journal Shop have an amazing and wide range of both Rollerball pens and Ballpoint pens. Try out our guest brands, like Schneider or Pilot, and their products at our competitive prices. The Journal Shop is the best place for stationery in the UK, so explore why today!


Shop Our Brand:

Stationary - Bookmarks, Clips, Scissors, Storage, Stickers, Rulers

Writing - Pencils, Ballpoints, Fountain Pens, Gel Pens, Multicolors 

Paper - Address Books, Diaries, Letter Writing, Books and Prints

May 08, 2018