Fountain Pen vs Calligraphy Pen: Which One is Right for You?

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll

Fountain Pen Vs Calligraphy Pens

Fountain pens and calligraphy pens are both writing instruments renowned for their elegance and versatility. While they share similarities in their classic appeal and the artistry they bring to writing, each pen type possesses distinct characteristics that set them apart.

In this guide, we will delve deeper into fountain pens vs. calligraphy pens. Whether you seek a refined writing instrument or a tool for expressive lettering, exploring the unique qualities of fountain pens and calligraphy pens reveals the beauty and craftsmanship of these cherished writing tools. So, read on!

Fountain Pens vs. Calligraphy Pens


Aspect Fountain Pens Calligraphy Pens
Purpose Suitable for everyday use, note-taking, and professional settings Ideal for calligraphy, invitations, and artistic projects
Nib Design A single, flexible nib Specialized nibs that vary in width and shape
Ink Flow Consistent flow Requires regular replenishment
Writing Technique Everyday writing Specific lettering
Writing Styles Regular handwriting Calligraphic scripts
Writing Speed Regular pace More time-intensive
Availability & Cost Widely available

Come in a range of prices

More difficult to find

Prices vary


  • A fountain pen is a writing instrument that uses liquid ink and consists of a reservoir, or ink cartridge, which holds the ink, and a nib. Fountain pens are known for their smooth writing experience and are often prized for their elegance and craftsmanship. They come in a variety of materials, designs, and nib sizes, catering to different writing preferences.


  • A calligraphy pen is a specialized writing instrument used for the art of calligraphy, which focuses on creating beautiful and decorative lettering.


They allow artists and calligraphers to create stunning letterforms and elaborate script styles and, thus, are often used for formal invitations, certificates, and artistic projects.


1. Nib Design


Both fountain pens and calligraphy pens feature nibs made of materials like stainless steel, gold, or other alloys.

However, calligraphy nibs are often designed specifically for creating varying line widths and different calligraphy styles.

2. Ink Variety


Fountain pens can use a variety of fountain pen inks, including both standard and specialty inks with different colors and properties. Similarly, calligraphy pens are compatible with various types of ink, such as water-based or pigment-based inks, allowing for a diverse selection of colors and effects.

3. Attention to Craftsmanship


Both pens are known for their attention to craftsmanship and aesthetics. They are often made with high-quality materials, featuring elegant designs and refined finishes.

Fountain pens and calligraphy pens are appreciated by enthusiasts for their beauty, collectibility, and the sense of artistry they bring to the act of writing.

4. Writing Experience


While the writing purposes may differ, both calligraphy and fountain pens provide a more tactile and engaging writing experience compared to ballpoint pens or other disposable writing instruments. They require a certain level of skill and control, allowing the writer to connect with the writing surface and create more expressive letterforms.

Differences Between Fountain Pen and Calligraphy Pens

1. Purpose


The primary difference lies in their intended purpose. Fountain pens are versatile writing instruments designed for everyday use, note-taking, and general writing tasks. They offer a smooth and enjoyable writing experience.

Calligraphy pens, on the other hand, are specifically designed for calligraphy and the art of decorative writing. They are used to create ornate letterforms and various calligraphy styles.

2. Nib Design


Fountain pens typically have a single, flexible nib that produces a consistent line width. The nibs are designed for general writing and provide a smooth and controlled ink flow.

Calligraphy pens, in contrast, have specialized nibs that vary in width and shape. These nibs allow for different line variations, such as thin upstrokes and thick downstrokes, which are essential for creating calligraphic styles.

3. Ink Flow


Fountain pens use a continuous ink flow system, with ink stored in a reservoir or cartridge. This ensures a consistent supply of ink while writing.

On the contrary, calligraphy ink often has a different flow that accommodates the specific needs of calligraphy writing, such as providing more ink for broader strokes.

4. Writing Technique


Fountain pens are suitable for everyday writing and require minimal pressure to write smoothly. They are designed to adapt to a variety of writing styles and can be used by individuals of all skill levels.

Calligraphy pens, however, require specific techniques to achieve the desired lettering styles. It is necessary to pay attention to the way you hold calligraphy pens; applying varying pressure and controlling the angle of the pen can create the different line variations characteristic of calligraphy.

5. Writing Styles


Fountain pens are typically used for regular handwriting styles and can be suitable for both printing and cursive writing.

Calligraphy pens, with their specialized nibs, are used for various calligraphic scripts, such as italics, copperplate, or brush lettering. They are specifically designed to produce visually appealing and ornamental letterforms.

6. Writing Speed


Fountain pens are designed for smooth and efficient writing, making them well-suited for writing at a regular pace.

Meanwhile, calligraphy pens require a slower and more deliberate writing speed to achieve precision and control over the strokes. Calligraphy is often a more time-intensive and meditative process.

7. Availability & Cost


Fountain pens are more widely available and come in a range of prices, from affordable options to high-end luxury pens. An affordable fountain pen can cost around $16 – $30. Meanwhile, the high-priced one can be over $120 – $150, and even more if customized.

Calligraphy pens come in sets with multiple nibs to accommodate different calligraphy styles and can vary in cost depending on the quality and craftsmanship. They are typically available at $20 – $60.

8. Pros & Cons

Fountain Pen

  • Smooth writing experience
  • Elegance and craftsmanship
  • Versatile for everyday use
  • Learning curve for beginners
  • Maintenance requirements
  • High initial cost

Calligraphy Pen

  • Artistic expression
  • Control and line variation
  • Specialized nibs
  • Versatility in inks
  • Ideal for special occasions
  • Learning curve for beginners
  • Specific purpose
  • Limited application compared to regular writing

Which is Better for to Use in Different Situations?

When to Use a Fountain Pen


  • Everyday Writing: Fountain pens are ideal for everyday writing tasks such as note-taking, journaling, or general correspondence. Their smooth and consistent ink flow, combined with a comfortable writing experience, make them well-suited for extended writing sessions.
  • Signature and Personalization: Fountain pens can add a touch of elegance and personalization to signatures, thank-you notes, or important documents. The ability to choose from a variety of ink colors and nib sizes allows for customization and individual style. So, there are also fountain pen lettering options.
  • Professional Environments: Fountain pens are often favored in professional settings for their refined appearance and the sense of sophistication they bring to written communication. They are suitable for business meetings, signing contracts, or any situation where a professional image is desired.

When to Use a Calligraphy Pen


  • Artistic Calligraphy: Calligraphy pens allow for precise control over line thickness, making them perfect for creating beautiful and decorative lettering styles.
  • Invitations and Special Occasions: Calligraphy pens are commonly used for designing and addressing formal invitations, wedding stationery, certificates, and other special occasion materials. Their ability to produce ornate and visually appealing lettering adds a unique touch to these important documents.
  • Creative Expression: Calligraphy pens provide a means of artistic expression, allowing individuals to explore different lettering styles and experiment with various techniques. Some people might even use them for drawing!


In conclusion, both fountain pens and calligraphy pens have their unique qualities and applications

If you appreciate a refined and effortless writing experience, a fountain pen is an excellent choice. However, if you truly want to elevate your writing experience and add a touch of elegance to your words, there is no better way than to write with a fountain pen.

In the end, the choice between a fountain pen and a calligraphy pen depends on your personal preferences and the purpose for which you intend to use it.

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