A number of our regular Ink Flight subscribers have asked, "how do you choose the Ink Flights?" Without giving away too much of the "secret recipe," here's a multi-faceted approach to explaining how each Ink Flight is produced.
There's the kid-friendly version of the explanation: an ink stork (sometimes dressed in UPS brown) comes once a month and drops off goodies for all the boys & girls.
We go to work in the laboratory, sampling, mixing and testing each potential ink candidate for several factors: vibrancy, hue, water resistance, saturation, sheen, shading, and potential to become part of the pen addict zeitgeist.
Once the ink selection is narrowed down, extensive ink tasting is performed, savoring every drop, describing it like a sommelier of writing fluid.
If the thorough analysis isn't enough to make a definitive choice, alternative methods of narrowing down the selection are employed.
All kidding aside, the process is in constant evolution. When we first started the Flight program eight months ago, we had no idea if it was going to work out. With so many online pen retailers offering ink samples, we weren't sure if the idea of a mystery box would pick up where the discontinued Goulet Ink Drop club left off. We picked Noodler's Ink first because it was one of the most accessible brands to obtain here in the USA and it was good to start in your own backyard, you know? After all, Noodler's was one of the first full-fledged ink making companies that ushered in the era of boutique, specialty fountain pen inks.
Since the Ink Flight is an international affair, reaching all parts of the globe is a must. We have our ears low to the ground on social media, watching to see new inks that people are excited to write with. In month 2, we reached out to Robert Oster in Australia, who has rapidly become one of the most beloved ink brands worldwide.
We also have to cover our bases of tried and true inks. As this is a "tour" of the most noteworthy fountain pen ink around the world, we would be remiss to not include some of the best colors in each brand. "Fire & Ice" is a perfect example for Robert Oster. "Honey" is a KWZ favorite and you can't talk about J. Herbin without mentioning "Emerald of Chivor."
However, a sample package that contained all the most popular colors of a particular brand would lead to many instances where the Ink Flight recipient would already have most of the colors in the sample set. Our aim is to "expand your inky horizons" by making you try NEW inks that you wouldn't have normally selected for yourself. So, we tend to branch out and select less obvious colors that are still beautiful and have the potential to become your new favorite color.
For that same reason, we aim to balance the colors of the samples all over the rainbow. We include blues, purples, reds, oranges, browns, greens, gold and everything in between. The only color we've shied away from is black. While there are great black inks out there, this program embraces the vibrancy of color. The only black we included in a Flight was Platinum Smoke Black as part of the Mix-Free ink mixing kit.
As far as the additional Ink Flight Box items are concerned, we're always on the hunt for a writing tool, notebook, accessory or kit we can put together that would aid you in your inky fun. Ana Reinert's Col-O-Ring books that she debuted this year were almost too perfect for this purpose. Anything that helps foster your inky addiction!
Team InkJournal discusses possible ink and product options on car rides to soccer practice, over ice cream bowls, while watching Netflix, after sipping the first cup of coffee of the day, and while putting together boxes the night before they ship out. Some months come together in the 11th hour, but we've gotten every shipment out on time.
If you've got any suggestions for a future Ink Flight, we'd love to read them below. Which Flight was your favorite? Which one was your least favorite? Comment and let us know.