A technophile lawyer rediscovers the joys of pen and paper

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The trouble with ink reviews

As you might guess from my last post, I'd love to have the problem of the blogger at Force de Frappe, who wrote earlier this month: "Diamine inks sent me 86 bottles of ink to review!

He then expressed the same concerns I have with ink reviews: they are unfair because of variables from one review to the other. I want to eliminate as many of those variables as possible. So, in my testing so far, I've been using the same two pen/nib combinations and the same two notebooks.

I've also been limiting myself to one color family (grays, for the time being). haven't gotten around to actually posting a review because I want to get through all the grays before posting a review about any of them. That's the only way I'll be able to write comments about each relative to the others. For example, which is the wettest-writing gray?

Where I'm the reviewer, another variable creeps in . . . my experience — or lack thereof. I've been writing with fountain pens for just a few months, and my knowledge and opinions have changed dramatically in that time. So, by writing up a single color family at the same time, I'll make sure the comparisons are based on the same mind-set and any differences noted among the inks is not due to more knowledge or different preferences than I had during earlier reviews. In fact, I may write up more than one ink per review. I don't know yet.

None of this is to say that I don't appreciate the reviews written by others. But the bottom line is that there's no way to tell if your experience with an ink will be the same as the reviewer's. I really liked the way Brian Goulet of Goulet Pen Co. put it in his review of J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche:
I've seen other ink reviews, and I wanted to put my own little spin on it. I started out with the idea of doing a comparison with dry times, saturation, flow, bleedthrough, blah blah blah. Bottom line is that ink is subjective, based on the pen you use, the paper you write on, and your personal writing style. Not to mention the fact that the lighting, picture editing, and your individual computer monitor settings will affect the color you see. So I took some nice pictures and will let them speak for themselves.
It's hard to imagine making an ink review really fun to read, but I'll do my best. 


1 comment:

  1. Based on your method of testing, which I am not at all criticizing, your ink reviews are going to take quite some time. Also what is this about you writing with fountain pens for only a couple of months!