1st April 2011

Pen Geek : Uni-ball Signo Scents

Ink : Scented water-based pigment gel ink, available in 10 colours and fragrances

Nib : Stainless steel, tungsten carbode ball

Size : 0.7mm

Cap : Removable.

Manufacturer :  Uni-ball www.uniball.com

RRP : £1.67 each (but currently listed on CultPen at £1.38 each) 

My earliest memory of these scrumptiously smelly pens was in Primary school, when your place on the social ladder of cool was dictated by how many of them you had stashed in your pencil case.

In my teens, I worked as a Saturday girl in WHSmith’s stationery dept. Scented and glitter pens were the Number 1 shoplifted item – by a mile.

So, does the Uniball Signo Scents retain its childhood charm, or is it all just a gimmick?

Smelly Pens


First up, these pens are available in 10 colours and scents: Orangey Orange (marketing points to whoever came up with that one), Strawberry Pink, Pineapple Yellow, Cola Black, Bubblegum Pink, Blueberry Blue, Coconut Brown, Mint Green, Soda Blue and Cherryade Red.

I’ll best testing out the Cherryade Red.

These pens are designed for writing notes in class, signing a Valentines card or doodling on your Maths jotter, not necessarily for creating super detailed illustrations. The nib is a little clunky and the ink flows pretty fast, so good for scribbling, less so for sketching, you just won’t get the detail.

The ink flow is thick and quick, meaning too long a pause and you’ll end up with pooling. I also found this meant that it look at least 30 seconds to dry. Not great if like me you work in a haphazard fashion and not regimented left to right, top to bottom. Smudge time.

Scented Drawing

On white paper the ink is vibrant and opaque. Block areas are filled quickly and in a beautiful even coverage. It’s actually pretty fun to draw with, the ink flow and nib prevent procrastination and force you to just draw instinctively and fast.

And the smell? Well yes, there’s definitely a sweet (all be it highly synthetic) smell of Cherry wafting up from the page. I do find myself sniffing heavily at both paper and nib, then stop, realizing I look like some crazy pen fetishist. Having said that, I must admit I had a good sniff of the other varieties whilst in WHSmith this morning and thought the Bubblegum Pink and Pineapple Yellow were also pretty pungent. I have to highlight the awesome disclaimer on the Signo Scents website which reads:

“Pens do not contravene the Food Imitiations (Safety) Regulations 1989, as they could not be confused with foods by adults or children.”

Scented Ink

The barrel is of the basic, plastic variety; a no frills textured grip that more than adequately does the job and allows you to see the ink within. It’s a pen designed for kids, marketed to kids and that will have ever-lasting appeal to kids (and those young at heart).

There’s a definite plastic-fantastic kitsch feel to the Uni-ball Signo Scent; it isn’t a connoisseur’s pen, it’s a groupie’s pen.

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