Why You Should Use a Multicolor Pen

Origins of the Multicolor Pen

Although Bic would love to portray the multicolor pen as being hundreds of years old, such as depicted in this video, Bic first sold their well known “4-Color Bic Pen” in 1970. While seen as a novelty at first, people soon realized the utility that could come by packaging 4 colors into one. The pen was made to be affordable and disposable, but is loved by many as a means to jot down thoughts in different colors.

French Bic 4 Color Pen Ad
One of the early French ads for the 4-Color Bic Pen


Multicolored pens are wonderful tools that make work versatile. Whether it’s taking notes, or highlighting items in a book, these pens are best used for the options of color. No more will you need to carry multiple different colored pens around, as this takes care of it all. These pens are fantastic for note taking. They allow you to be able to visually highlight different thoughts based on importance or any other classification that you give. Nurses would use these the colors to differentiate which shift the notes were taken on.

Advantages of the Multicolored Pen

There are many compelling reasons to choose a multicolor pen over other types of pens. As mentioned above, multicolor pens are optimal for note taking. The ability to switch colors without picking up another pen allows the user to better focus on the current task. Keeping one’s train of thought can really speed up the pace of note taking. You can simply switch colors and continue writing instead of searching for the next pen to use which might interrupt your thought pattern.

Another advantage that multicolored pens have is the price. The pens are very affordable are targeted towards people that false function and form. There aren’t as many premium branded combo pens, as there isn’t much demand for them. Instead the target market of affordable flexible pens seems to please all that use them. One could buy multiple multicolor pens put them in different places to make sure that a pen is always close by.

Disadvantages of the Multicolored Pen

The most noticable disadvantage of multicolor pens compared to others is quality. These pens are not built to rival the quality or flow that pens like rollerball or fountain pens can handle. Instead it strives to show a cheaper point of view. It is better to buy quite a few of these pens and then swap them out as appropriate. Some of these pens allow you to refill cartridges, but not all. In fact the biggest con about these pens is that you probably won’t use the colors evenly. This will frustrate you as you will probably have multiple colors that you barely use and most pens do not allow you to choose the colors before you buy. The standard four colors are black, green, blue, and red. Some multicolored pens also include a mechanical pencil. This is handy, but might only be useful for people with specialized interests.

Since the body of the pen needs to accommodate multiple colors, the ink cartridges tend to be smaller. This means that they run out faster if only one color is being used. This makes for an unfortunate situation when one has to decide between using colors they do not prefer or to toss the pen with plenty of ink remaining in the other colors.

If you love pens and the feeling of the ink flowing out of the pen then these pens might not be the best choice for you. Instead you should look into a nice fountain pen. These pens are best used for people that need the flexibility in their writing flow with minimal distraction.

Varieties of Multicolor Pens

While the Bic 4 Color Pen is the most well known multicolor pen it is not the only one. In fact, many manufacturers have improved upon this pen! There are tens of varieties of multicolored pens. Below are a few notable ones. These are not meant to be reviews but rather a look at different evolutions of the multicolored pen.

  • 10 in 1 Multicolor Pen – This pen won’t give the best experience, but it fits a large amount of colors for an affordable price.

The multicolor pen has evolved to fit the use case where it’s needed. Do you need 10 colors at any given moment? Look no further than the 10 in 1 Multicolor Pen. Do you want a stylish multicolor pen that can be refilled when the ink runs out? There’s a pen for that. Do you want to choose any color in the pen? There’s a pen for that. If you have multiple requirements for your pens, chances are there’s a multicolor pen for you!

Want something different? Check out some of our other articles on Montblanc pens, Gold pens, or pen cases!

Further Reading

A great New York Times article trying to find the history of the Bic 4 Color Pen

An Australian News article praising the Bic 4 Color Pen as an organizational wonder

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