Griffix 3 Ink Writer – Right Handed

10 08 2011

I apologize for this. I'm not even close to being right-handed. BUT I TRIED SO HARD.

I was very disappointed when quality control issues kept me from being able to accurately review the Pelikan Griffix 4 Fountain Pen, so I’m very excited to have picked up a Griffix Step 3, which is not as complicated and thus harder to ruin with sloppy production.

Hooray! Not ruined!

The idea behind the Griffix 4-step system is to indoctrinate train children from preschool onward in the skills needed for good penmanship. Step 1 is a wax pen, not handed, for learning to hold the pen and apply pressure. Step 2 is a pencil, now introducing the concept of handedness. The third step is the ink writer, designed to teach fluid writing in preparation for Step 4, the fountain pen.

Bonus whimsy and delight

The design of the Griffix combines delightful childlike simplicity with extreme ergonomics. At the far end of the pen are these little “fun buttons” (“For individual design”); the pen comes with two: one for you, and one for you to trade with a friend (encouraging children in the mechanics of social interaction and shrewd economics). They serve no purpose other than for customization, and to make it impossible, design-wise, to even hope to post the cap on the end of the pen. There’s also a place where you can apply the provided stickers with your name on it, in some theoretical magic world where so many kids have Griffix pens that the name-sticker and fun buttons are the only thing standing between you and utter chaos (/losing your pen).

The packaging only comes with ideological instructions, not actual instructions on how to put the pen itself together.

As best I can figure (operating without directions here), you HAVE to carry your spare cartridge around with you in the end of the pen; there is no other mechanism for keeping your primary cartridge in place to write. I think it’s a great idea, but it’d be great if I’d known that going in, rather than puzzling foolishly at my pen for 3 minutes.

For those with poor handwriting, the little smiley face is either inspirationally encouraging or depressingly mocking. At least you know when you've got the pen in the right hand.

My favorite part about the Griffix is the grip. Look at that grip. No, really.


There is no room to screw this one up, no room for misguided interpretation as for what this so-called “pliers grip” is supposed to look like. The grip takes you gently by the hand, so to speak, and says reassuringly, “Here. Here is where your fingers are supposed to go.” It’s comfortable, and great for training yourself to develop the allegedly ideal “pliers grip”.

Time to take the cap off. And to look at that grip a little bit more.

Biggest problem with the Griffix: where are you supposed to put the cap? In your nose? A pen designed for children should be all over this cap issue. Or Pelikan should sell boxes of replacement caps, because there’s no way kids are gonna NOT lose this cap.

I think there is some kind of ink-emitting star in the center of the tip of the pen.

As the sun gives off heat in all directions, so too does this nib put ink to paper at any angle in which some part of the tip of the pen is touching the page. There is no finicky zone within which the pen must be held to make writing happen; it is a very forgiving pen. As best I can tell from photographing the pen and peering at it with an eye loupe, this tolerant nature is achieved through a 360-degree slotting pattern on the end of the pen. I’ve never had any pen like this before, so we’ve just hit the limits of the extent of my knowledge on slotted-end ink pens. I can say it’s great for writing, a very satisfactory feeling when this nib is moving along the page. It’s smooth, but not so smooth that your handwriting runs out of control.

If this is just for kids, then I am the biggest kid because this is a cool pen

I got my Griffix 3 at my local pen shop, Office Supplies and More. Unfortunately, they don’t have a website for people to buy from, and the only place I’ve found selling the Griffix online is this store called Bureau Direct, who I’ve never actually bought anything from. So, if you know of any other stores selling the Griffix 3 that I can link to, let me know and I’ll add them to this post!


Edit: here’s a store! Pen Fountain carries the entire Griffix line. And seems to be based in a currency on the other side of the ocean from me, so this one goes out especially to all my friends and followers for whom JetPens shipping isn’t so convenient! :)




10 responses

10 08 2011
A Few Random Morning Links … | The Pretense of Knowledge

[…] Griffix 3 Ink Writer – Right Handed – No Pen Intended […]

10 08 2011

Y’know, I love my Lamy Al-Star, but it’s seriously lacking in bonus whimsy and delight.

27 08 2011
No Pen Intended

Maybe Pelikan will release a line of Griffix stickers to help mitigate whimsy-deficiencies in other pens. We can only hope.

10 08 2011

Like your detailed description and testing of the Griffix 3. We have stocked these for quite a while but while the concept is great, the decoration is a bit juvenile for some of our student customers, particularly at the fountain pen level. Thanks for your independent analysis – will retweet.


Bob Melvin

27 08 2011
No Pen Intended

Awesome! I’ll add that link in to the article itself. I think if you swap out the space-shippy ink cartridge, and take out the funbutton to instead use the hole for maybe a lanyard or something, then the Griffix 4 wouldn’t be quite so juvenile-looking. I really like the nib-shield on the fountain pen, especially because I have a lot of non-fountain-pen-using friends who always try to grip my fountain pens on the nib and end up with ink all over themselves. The cap is a pain though. Not well designed, but oh well. Do other brands make inexpensive learner’s fountain pens?

11 08 2011
Tom Oddo

Griffix step-by-step learning system was a great idea. Unfortunately, there were bureaucratic issues that killed the Griffix for all kids in the US. Shame, shame.

27 08 2011
No Pen Intended

Really? :( That sucks. These would have been especially helpful when I was younger, being the only left-handed kid in class trying to figure out a proper grip all on my own….

11 08 2011

I wish you could narrate my life. It’s the only way for me to be happy.

27 08 2011
No Pen Intended

:D I wish you could pay me to narrate your life. I think it would be an intriguing career move on my part.

3 06 2014

Looks rather phallic for my children

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