The Paper Mate Flair has been around since 1966 and you can see that in its design. It’s got that classic 60s feel to it: no bad thing at all.
Price: £1 (UK) $1.70 (USA)
Tip size options: it’s called the M but the tip is actually quite broad. There is a version with a finer tip
Barrel options: matt plastic finish, the colours match the ink
Ink type: water based: black, blue, green, lime green, magenta, orange, red, lilac, marigold, navy, olive, pink, plum, turquoise, yellow, purple
The fibre tip of the Flair is quite firm. It makes it feel different to the average felt-tip colouring pen. It’s more suited to writing and doodling than colouring in. It’s a good pen for these tasks. The colours are bright and the lines are strong. There’s never the slightest hint of gloopiness or skipping or any other problem. There’s barely a hint of feathering even on cheap paper but it will bleed through most. On the whole you can just pick the pen up and start to use it.
The tips do tend to wear out before the ink runs out but you get your money’s worth from it long before that happens.
There is quite a step down from the barrel to the grip area but as this section is long it’s well out of the way of your fingers. The pen’s light and a good length and so is comfortable to hold whether posted or not.
The cap posts deeply and securely. It closes with a click and but is easy to take off. The metal clip is quite firm: springy enough to be useful but not so flimsy that it will break too easily.
The barrel has a long cigar like shape. It’s simple and although I don’t like the style of the writing on the side, all it says is “Paper Mate Flair M”. I appreciate it whenever a company refrains from plastering useless information all over a pen. The end of the cap has a white plastic cross insert. Presumably this is to prevent the cap being a choking hazard but the way it’s been done gives a pleasant aesthetic touch.
Overall the design is understated and makes me think of the carefree pop culture of the 60s.
My children bought me this set of pens for my birthday. I use them often and so does my daughter. They’re reliable and there isn’t much that’s similar. They are better to write with than your normal felt-tip pen, perhaps because the tip is so much firmer. The Flair is a classic pen at a budget price and, although you might think you don’t need any, I think you’d soon find yourself reaching for one time after time.
Great to write with and for doodling/line drawing
Good range of colours
Good size – comfortable to hold
Cap posts securely
You can find some more reviews of the Paper Mate Flair on Pennaquod.