British designers Chris Holden and Tim Higgins are the founders of London based start-up, AJOTO. Their first product, an everyday pen with an exquisite minimal aesthetic, was recently introduced to me and it certainly made it’s mark.

The Pen, currently being funded through Kickstarter, is produced from Aerospace grade aluminium and brass, and each pen can be personalised to the customers preference. The minimal design of the Pen consists of five bespoke parts designed and engineered in-house. Each part performs a crucial function in the mechanics of unique twist mechanism, which is core to the pen.

So in this increasingly digital world we’re living in, why a pen?

Digital devices have now replaced the need for fine writing instruments and technical draftsmen’s tools that were once ubiquitous. It doesn’t matter how advanced technology has become, in a world that is ever more connected we think it is really important to take some time out and be alone with our imagination. In these moments nothing beats a simple inky mark in a sketch book to capture our thoughts and ideas.

Not only is the pen a beautiful tool, but the packaging is just as impressive, combining cork, aluminium and card, which are 100% recyclable. Backed!


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  1. I went through a Kickstarter for Pen Type-A, and while I don’t regret spending $50 on a pen and waiting for over a year to receive it, I will not do it again, because a promise and a vision are just that, and they don’t necessarily map 1-to-1 onto a finished product.

    As nice as this one is (especially in its black finish), 60 GBP is just a bit too much of a gamble. Good to know it will exist, but let’s wait and see.

  2. Hi Alex.

    Thanks a lot for your interest in The Pen. Sorry to hear you had such a long wait with the CW+T project. To be honest we watched that saga unfold and it really reassured us that we were approaching kickstarter in the right way.

    We’ve spent the last year or so working closely with our manufacturers in order to avoid passing our development issues onto our backers. As designers we know that development and manufacture is a long process and never runs smoothly. We have had our fair share of issues, several cork tool modifications, a few snapped drill heads, re-casting of extrusion dies, etc. Each one of those issues set us back by months.

    We are now at the stage where every manufacturing challenge we’ve had has been overcome. Everything we’ve shown on the kickstarter page is a pre-production sample, manufactured identically to how the final product will be. As soon as we hit our target we can give our manufacturers the green light.

    We weren’t prepared to launch our company until we were in this position. We don’t believe our issues should ever be passed on to our customers. A purchase should never be a gamble, on when it will be delivered or where it came from.

    Thanks again. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

    Tim (Co-Founder, AJOTO)

  3. HI Tim –
    Good to hear from you – I am in the same position as Alex: backed the Pen Type-A and then had a loooooong wait.

    Love the look of The Pen but ‘once bitten, twice shy’ as the saying goes. I do hope your project goes well though (it looks like it deserves to).

  4. Hey trash,

    We can totally understand your doubts. As I say, we’ve done everything we possibly can to remove risk from the project. This was one of our primary objectives.

    Thanks a lot for taking the time to comment. As with Alex, all questions are welcome. Keep an eye on the kickstarter page and our blog: for updates.


    Tim (Co-Founder, AJOTO)

  5. Out of interest Tim (you can tell I’m sorely tempted – especially now that I have seen that you are both fellow Brits :-) how hardwearing is the black finish. I know it is anodised but there’s anodised and there’s anodised. As the iPhone 5 finish shows, some anodisation is not that scratch-resistant…

  6. Thanks a lot manu and Adrian.

    trash – We were actually just in Brighton to have a meeting with our finishing company today. To answer your question. The anodising on the black finish is pretty deep so even if it does scratch, the raw aluminium won’t show through. We were actually just scraping a black one on our concrete floor, inspired by your question. The results impressed even us, we’re thinking about doing a video update showing our unique scrape test. There are quite a few scratches on the surface of the pen, but non have gone through to the aluminium yet. We’re going to keep scraping to try and get through.

    Cheers, Tim



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