Did a Japanese Design Studio Just Perfect the Ballpoint Pen?

Sometimes a great product is one that makes the boring parts of your day go by a little more smoothly.


Nendo, a Tokyo-based design with a knack for making pretty much everything, designed a ballpoint pen.

The Blen — made for the Japanese pen company Zebra — is a subtle, $2.50 upgrade on the everyday ballpoint pen. It features a brass-weighted tip to keep the head of the pen down and, according to the studio’s website, “significantly [reduce] unexpected movements of pen due to the centripetal force created while writing.”

According to Nendo, its ballpoint pen was designed for regular people, not necessarily professionals or sketch artists.

“The approach of the project can be compared to designing a practical compact car that fulfills small needs of our daily lives, rather than designing an aerodynamic sports car that is best for fast and linear drives,” the studio’s site reads.


The pen’s ballpoint tip carries a small brass weight. This allows it to point down naturally while in the hand.

The Blen also features an extra-thick body with small curves around the edges for easy gripping and an interior locking mechanism that reduces the plasticky shaking sound that so often accompanies cheap pens.

Nendo isn’t new to this game. Updating design classics and creating helpful versions of old products has been Nendo’s bread and butter throughout 2018. In the last few months alone, it’s released incredibly odd (but oddly useful) spice containers, cutlery built to hang on racks and a very Japanese take on an 146-year-old Danish chair.

Nendo’s Blen ballpoint pen is available now through Tokyo Pen Shop for $2.50 a pen. It comes in .5 or .7 line widths and myriad of ink colors.

Buy Now: $2.50

Today in Gear

The best way to catch up on the day’s most important product releases and stories. Read the Story
Assistant Editor, Home and Design Will Price is Gear Patrol’s home and drinks editor.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below