How to Tell What Pen is Right for You


With so many different choices of pens on the market today, it is hard to know which type of pen can most benefit you. It seems so simple – just go to a store and buy a pen. But then when you take a look, you notice they come in all different types, sizes, shapes and colours. Now it doesn’t seem so simple after all. It is important, as a buyer, that you inform yourself on the difference between all these pens, so that you choose the right type and in return, maximize the value it adds to your usage.

The main types of pens that are used today are fountain, calligraphy, ballpoint and rollerball. See the descriptions below to learn more about these pens.

The Artsy One: Fountain and Calligraphy Pens

About:

Fountain and Calligraphy pens involve ink that is water-based and flows through a metallic nib. There is little effort required to put the ink onto the paper, however, the pen must be held at a certain angle when writing so that the ink can dispense evenly. Old-fashioned fountain pens were filled from an ink bottle, but modern day pens use a sealed plastic ink cartridge. The metal nib utilizes a cartridge, converter, and other internal reservoir in order to provide a continuous and refillable ink supply. Fountain pens were introduced in the late 19th century and largely replaced the earlier dip pen, which had evolved from feather pens and required dipping in an ink well every few lines in order to maintain an ink supply.

Advantages:

  • Smooth flowing writing
  • Refillable
  • Many different customizations to the nib (such as stub, italic or oblique points)
  • Long ink life
  • Requires little skill
  • Eco friendly
  • Saves money on ink in the long run

Disadvantages:

  • Ink can have troubles flowing evenly
  • Non-water resistant ink
  • Low ink capacity
  • Highest priced
  • Must use high quality paper

Most used for: Journal and letter writing, signature, art, custom lettering

 

The Convenient One: Ballpoint Pens

About:

Ballpoint pens have replaced the fountain pen as the most popular tool for everyday writing. The oil based ink is dispensed at the tip during use by the rolling action of the tungsten carbide. The ink dries almost immediately after contact with the paper. Most Ballpoint pens are generally retractable and they are available in refillable and disposable options.

Advantages:

  • Ink dries quickly
  • Inexpensive
  • No maintenance
  • Long ink life
  • Doesn’t bleed
  • Resists smudging
  • Simple and practical
  • Lowest cost
  • Longest shelf life

Disadvantages:

  • Cannot write on wet or oily surfaces, nor upside down or against a wall
  • Fewer ink colours
  • Requires more pressure to write cleanly
  • Limits expressive writing
  • Not as smooth as other pen options

Most used for: Common everyday purposes

Example: Writing/taking personal notes

The Modernized One: Rollerball Pens

About:

The Rollerball pen was designed to combine the convenience of a ballpoint pen with the smooth ‘wet ink’ effect of a fountain pen. The rollerball pens use ballpoint writing technology with a water based liquid or gel ink. These pens are available in retractable and capped styles, as well as refillable or disposable. Rollerball Pens were designed to give the pleasure of liquid ink with the ease of use.

Advantages:

  • Variety of colours
  • Requires little pressure
  • Available in liquid ink or gel ink
  • Smoothest to write
  • Fade proof
  • Waterproof

Disadvantages:

  • Ink dispenses through the tip more quickly (won’t last as long as a ballpoint pen)
  • Ink tends to seep through paper
  • Tendency to leak
  • Bleeds on low quality porous paper
  • Fixed ball limits expression

Most used for: Significant everyday purposes

Example: Writing a formal letter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Funky One: Gel Ink Pens

About:

Gel ink pens uses ink in which pigment is suspended in a water-based gel. The general design of a gel pen is similar to that of a rollerball pen, with a barrel containing the writing mechanism and a cap, and a reservoir filled with inks.

Advantages:

  • Fade proof
  • Waterproof
  • Shows up more clearly on dark surfaces than other pens
  • Richer ink colour
  • More colours to choose from
  • Smoother than roller ball because ink is more viscous

Disadvantages:

  • Long dry time
  • Tends to smear
  • Ink dries out quickly
  • Shortest life span out of all pens

Most used for: Scrapbooking, arts and crafts

Understanding Paper Weight and Brightness


Paper Weight

Paper Weight Chart Description

Paper Brightness

The brighter the paper, the more vivid and crisp your letters, images and colours appear. The brightness of a piece of paper is typically expressed on a scale from 1 to 100 with 100 being the brightest. However, levels usually range from 84 to 100, which are adequate for most digitally printed applications. Brightness levels of 94 to 98 are most often used. Most companies use the US Scale.

Everything You Need to Know About Shredding


Why Should I Shred?

Document shredding is an important process and should be done with proper care and understanding. There are two main reasons why document shredding is essential: to prevent identity theft and to safely dispose of confidential information. There are three basic guidelines to follow when shredding, as seen below.

  1. Shred all and shred regularly – and avoid the risks of human error or poor judgment about what needs to be shredded. Deter the accumulation of confidential paper waste that is stored in different parts of your office, creating a security risk.
  1. Shred before recycling – and spare yourself from worrying about what happens to your confidential paper waste once it is at the recycling plant or in transit to the recycling plant.

How Do I Shred?

1. Choose your cut

The cut of a shredder refers to what happens when you put paper into the feeder of the machine. There are 6 variations of cuts that you can choose from, depending on the level of security which depends on the sensitivity of the materials you are shredding. Levels of security can be measured in DIN levels. The higher the DIN level, the smaller the cut size thus the better protection. The most common cuts that are used are strip-cut, cross-cut and micro-cut. See the chart below to help choose your cut.

2. Select your ideal sheet capacity

The shredding sheet capacity refers to how many sheets a shredder can intake at one time. The capacity can vary depending on the model. Shredders can take from 5 sheets up to 500. Typically, the more sheets a shredder can handle, the more expensive the model is. If you have stacks of paper you need shredded regularly, or prefer the convenience, it is recommended you choose a shredder that can handle more sheets. Here are some symbols that you will see throughout our catalogue and flyer that will identify the sheet capacity and cut:

Shredding3

Each shredder will identify its sheet capacity. Make sure you choose a shredder that makes the most sense according to how many sheets you think on average you will want to shred at a time.

3. Shredder Features and How They Help

After you choose your core specifications for your new shredder, you can begin to look at added features some shredders provide that could be of good use. Here are some examples:

Paper Jam Features
Some shredders provide Jam Proof Technology, which comes in handy if you will be shredding large amounts of paper at once and need something durable and resilient.
JamBlocker

Safety Features
Depending on your security preferences, you can look for the logos below for shredders with added safety features and locks, including a feature that automatically stops your shredder from running when your hands touch the paper opening.

SafeSenseEnergy Saving
Saving energy is always a good idea. Some shredders offer Auto Shut-Off technology so that the shredder doesn’t continue running after you are done using it. Other shredders may offer an Energy Savings System that reduces the amount of energy consumption.

AutoShutOff

Other Useful Features
There are a few more features shredders provide that could come in handy. If you have used a shredder before, you know the noise they usually make isn’t the most pleasant. This is why some shredders provide silent shredding, which definitely comes in handy at the office. Another useful feature is one that can be found on cross-cut shredders and automatically lubricates the cutters which extents the life of paper shredders. .

AutoOil

4. What Other Materials Will You Need To Shred On A Regular Basis?

The last important criteria to consider when choosing a shredder is what materials in addition to paper may need shredding on a regular basis. Shredders have the capabilities to shred additional materials such as staples, paper clips, credit cards and CD’s. In order to determine what else the machine can shred, make sure you read the description as there will be a list of other uses.

Materials

*TIP: How Long Should I Keep Important Documents?

Follow these guidelines to help you determine when to shred sensitive documents:

Tax Records – Seven years

Pay Stubs – One Year

Bank Statements – One Year

Credit Card Statements – At least 45 Days

Medical Records – At least one year

Insurance Records – Keep policy information for the life of the policy plus an additional five years

IRA Contributions – Until you withdraw the money

Home Purchase/Sale/Improvements – Until six years after you sell

Warranties – As long as they are current