A ball-point pen whose ink tube works as an operating system
Reddot Concept Award 2015
Designed by Jarim Koo
For a long time, people have used ball-point pens as an analogue-type tool for writing. Ball-point pens can be largely divided into three types, Nock-type, Cap-type and Sliding-type, by the operation system. When you examine how they are operated carefully, however, all the types of ball-point pens always need at least two operating behaviors, one to reveal the ball-point and the other to conceal it. People seem to conveniently use all the types of ball-point pens and take it for granted, but such an operation process actually causes a conscious annoyance. Besides, without a finishing operation behavior, such as unlocking the nock or covering the cap, you may face a loss of ink or collateral damages caused by the leakage of ink.
To solve possible problems based on Insight above, I examined the structure of all kinds of ball-point pens in detail. As a result, I found out that even one of the simplest-structure ball-point pens is composed of several components. Therefore, by focusing on minimizing the structural complexity and looking for solutions to the possible problems, I started designing this product.
Jellyfish is a ball-point pen composed of a body and an ink tube only. The concept of Jellyfish is based on a simple mechanism from the flexibility of PE, the material of this ink tubes. The ink tube of Jellyfish partially has a wave-shaped part. It sticks out of the grip area and plays a role as an operating button. Specifically speaking, when a user holds this pen, the wave-shaped part expands, further naturally pushing the ball point out of the body, and when the user release the pen, it contracts, further naturally withdrawing the ball point to the position where it was. With just one step of operating this new type of a ball-point pen, users can get away from the existing annoying conscious operating behaviors.
Beauty of Flexibility
The form of Jellyfish is simple and concise. Since the design motive of Jellyfish is from flexible, transparent and calm images of jellyfish in the deep sea, the wavy and flexible ink tube seen through the semi-transparent body will deliver the visual concept of Jellyfish and make users have a calm and beautiful feelings at the same time.
New Definition of How to Use a Ball-point Pen
The wave-shaped part of the ink tube at the grip plays a role as an operating button. It is like carrying out all the functions of a press-button, a spring and a thrust tube at the same time.
* The material used for the existing ball-point pen ink tubes is PP (polypropylene), which is not really flexible. However, PE (polyethylene) is used for the ink tube of Jellyfish, and its excellent flexibility makes it possible to define how to use a ball-point pen in a new way.
Design for Better Usability
The optimal feeling of grip is such an important issue for usability. To select the optimal wave degree of the ink tube part that sticks out of the grip area, I applied various curvatures, and after producing all kinds of prototypes through a 3D printer, I experienced all kinds of grip feelings in person. Out of all the prototypes, I chose a gentle curvature that has the least stimulus on the index finger, and considering the aesthetic aspect of the external appearance, I designed this product to have a harmonious feeling by arranging the curvature of the ink tube and that of the grip part symmetrically.
Since this product consists of two components only, a body and an ink tube, it does not require the other existing components. Such a simplified structure will shorten the manufacture process and even reduce the production cost.
Jellyfish is a new ball-point pen with better usability, breaking away from the existing stereotype views on ball-point pen operations. This new product will help users to manage ball-point pens better, getting away from all the annoying conscious operation behaviors when using ball-point pens.
Designed by Jarim Koo