I have always been a big fan of the Paper Mate Liquid Flair pens, but before this review, it had been a long time since I used them. The first thing I noticed upon revisiting these pens was the name, are these Liquid Flair pens, or are they Liquid Expresso pens? My old ones that I bought back in 2002 or so are clearly labeled Liquid Expresso…but when I ordered them from Amazon.com the package said Liquid Expresso, and some of the pens were labeled Liquid Flair, while others were labeled Liquid Expresso. Well with all that confusion, I decided to reach out to my friends on Twitter. First I checked in with rubbermaid because I knew that the Paper Mate brand was part of Newell Rubbermaid, but they quickly directed me to sharpiesusan on twitter who despite the Sharpie related name is responsible for not just Sharpie, but “the writing business” at Newell Rubbermaid. Sharpiesusan was able to quickly get back to me and let me know that the new name was the Liquid Flair, and they are just in the process of converting over to that name. Another great example of what I was talking about in my previous post where I mentioned keeping well informed on the world of office supplies through twitter. Thanks to the Sharpie and the Newell Rubbermaid people for being so great and helping out their dedicated customers! So, on to the review. As I said, I really like these pens, but it had just been a long time since I had actually used them under the Liquid Expresso name. I was introduced to these pens by an old co-worker who was one of the graphic designers who used the pens for both note taking and his sketches. Before I ever even wrote with one of these pens, I was fascinated by the cool design, they have the visible window where you can see the ink flowing through the fins that regulate the ink flow, and they even have a spring inside of the cap that is the same color as the ink of the pen itself. Seeing the inner workings of the pen, and the color coordinated parts was just a really nice touch. You can see the spring in the cap in the previous picture, the orange one seems to be the most visible in my picture, and you can see the fins in the following picture.
Beyond just looking really cool, these pens are quite comfortable to write with and the ink seems to last for a very long time. Any of the writing I have done with the Liquid Flair has been mostly for casual writing, not really for business or professional purposes. I find these pens to be nice when writing or signing a card or just leaving a hand written note for someone because of the bright bold colors and the solid thick lines that they lay down which to me gives them a much more personal feel when you see something written with them. An additional thing that I find quite impressive about these pens is the speed at which the ink dries. As I said, they leave a pretty bold and bright line, which might lead you to think that its a very wet ink that takes some time to dry, however this is totally NOT the case, the ink seems to try almost instantly.
The writing sample here didn’t scan as well as I would have liked, but it does show the 8 different colors that came in the pack that I bought. Some of the colors here, especially the orange didn’t come out as bright and vibrant as they are in person, but if you saw it in person you would see a big difference. You can see though from the sample that they do write with a nice strong line, and they dont put down so much ink that it bleeds or feathers on the paper. You will see a tiny bit of bleed through on the other side of the paper, however I think that is expected and acceptable with these pens. One improvement that I seem to notice with the newer version of these pens is that they dont have the same nib creep (if I can apply a fountain pen term to these) that the older versions had. Often times when I would go back to the old version of this pen, there would be a small collection of ink that oozed out of the tip and sat there, it didnt leak all over, but it was just saturated in a little puddle. Paper Mate seems to have corrected that issue in these newer versions, although I have not had them for too long, but for now it looks like that issue is fixed. The Paper Mate Liquid Flair is a very nice pen that I think is great to have on hand, if you are not an artist or doodler you might not use them as often, but I am really glad to have rediscovered these and I will be sure to come up with plenty of excuses to use them whenever I can. As I have been saying in many of my previous posts, yes…these too will end up as a give away soon. I am hoping to have that all sorted out sometime in the first week of February, so keep an eye out for that.