Blue Bic Ballpoint Pen (Wikipedia)

The Pen

Personal Selection

The design tool I chose is something anyone will recognize. From a personal perspective, this is a tool I got to know well from my first year in design school. Design Visualization (Des Vis) was a rigorous studio where we learned the foundation of Industrial Design sketching from basic line work to rendering with marker.


The idea of using a ballpoint pen on paper dates back from the 19th century. The first patent for a ballpoint pen shows up on October 30th, 1888, awarded to John J. Loud. The reason for this invention? John Loud’s goal was to create something that could write on rougher surfaces such as wood, course paper, and other like materials. Later on, Bíró, a Hungarian newspaper editor, became fed up and impatient with how long it took to fill up fountain pens and how much time he spent cleaning up smudges. So, he created a ball-socket mechanism and used ink found in newspapers. His patent was awarded June 15, 1938.

Function & User

Ballpoint pens are highly versatile. From casual writing to high-quality art, ballpoint pens can be used with almost anything. Artists, writers, designers, animators, etc. Many professions use this inexpensive and effective tool.

Ballpoint Pen Rendering of Steve McQueen by Artist James Mylne (Wikipedia)

Materials & Production

For a basic disposable ballpoint pen, the pen is composed of the ball point which distributes the ink, a socket which holds the ball in place, an ink reservoir which supplies ink to the ball point and is encased in a narrow plastic tube.


The long thin shape of the pen affords the user to hold the pen at the tip of your fingers. The cap signifies where the action of writing or sketching might take place.