ANGLE - wooden pen
As a design oriented engineer, I developed a fascination with the aesthetic and ergonomic design of writing instruments. Much like wrist watches, high quality writing instruments have endured the test of time and continue to maintain a sense of luxury due to their meaningful design language and rich legacy. For instance, some of today's Mont Blanc pens retail for over $1,000. The Angle represents an attempt to explore the field of pen design and produce a writing instrument that evokes emotion with its unique design and story.
The Angle is a completely individual project that I started in order to further my interest in and understanding of the pen design field.
Contextual inquiry and personal experience working with collectible writing instruments led me to develop a specific design language centered around a couple key guiding principles:
Unique - the design must convey a sense of originality
Minimal - the design must seamlessly blend into its intended use-environment
Personal - the design must illicit an emotional bond with the user
When entering the Ideation and Prototyping phase of the design process I worked to keep these principles in focus. The final results of this process are discussed below.
The current final version of the Angle can be seen in the picture above. The pen features a unique rectangular cross-section with a fully plywood grip section that incorporates a soft radius along the corners - ensuring a comfortable writing experience. The plywood frame and exposed ink cartridge add to the originality and novel nature of the design. Additionally, the pen employs an adhesive-free manufacturing process - all components are held together through precision laser-cut press-fits. The Angle is also extremely simple, with clean-cut features that create an inviting visual experience for the user. The traditional pen-clip was omitted in order to preserve the simplicity of the design without detracting from its inherent usefulness as a writing instrument. Its wooden form factor and hand-assembled manufacturing process create a very personal user experience - each pen maintains its own characteristic wood grain and inherent flaws. The wood responds to the user - contracting and expanding during use and in different temporal environments. Finally, the empty wooden face along the end of the pen's body provides a useful canvas for personalized laser-etched anagrams and custom designs.
Currently this design is in the process of being user tested and further refined. Recent feedback suggests that the pen-top, which slides on transversely, is not intuitive enough for new users. Additionally, the process for installing ink refills may be overly complex. Further testing is also required to characterize the useful life of the design. As these pieces of feedback and open concerns are addressed, I plan to continue iterating on the Angle design.