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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Introducing: The Pen Plaza!



The Pen Plaza is the latest (free) interactive tool we've developed at GouletPens.com, where you can compare standardized images of fountain pens side-by-side. Here's the concept: pictures of pens are nice, but it's hard to tell how they compare to each other visually when looking at them on a computer screen. One of the hardest things to tell is how the diameters and lengths of the pens compare, specifically at the grip sections which are usually tapered and hard to measure with numerical dimensions. In order to help to solve this, we've taken custom images of every pen model we have in a very consistent manner (and on Rhodia 80g dot pad paper, which has dots 5mm apart), and set them up in a tool where you can pull up three pens side-by-side to compare them.

All closed pens are pictures with caps to the left, and left aligned. 
Uncapped pens are aligned where the nib meets the grip section, to show the grip section and nib comparisons most easily.

You can easily select to see all three images of a single pen (closed, open, posted) with one click in the top drop-down.


A couple of other things to point out:

  • If you know the pen you want to see, you can just click on the drop down, hit the starting letter on your keyboard, and it'll jump you down to that letter.
  • The pens are listed alphabetically first by brand, then by model.
  • If you hover over the image for a second, it'll tell you the model of the pen you're seeing.
  • If you click on the image, it'll bring you to the product category page, and you can click through to find out more about the pen, including full numerical dimensions.
  • We do have some pens in the Plaza that we don't carry at GouletPens.com, and those ones will not link to anything when you click on them. We put them there just for reference, in case you already own that pen and want to compare it to something else. We figured the more pens in the Plaza, the better!

There are a few shortcomings of this tool. The pens themselves aren't actual size, and the size of the images will change depending on the size and resolution of your monitor. However, the pictures are all taken to be as precise and consistent as possible in relation to each other, so you're seeing the pens as identically matched as they can be in an image. We also haven't taken pictures of every color of every pen, that would be overwhelming. We chose one color of each model/body style of pen to represent it in the Plaza, so you won't be comparing the different colors of the same pen styles. That's not really the idea behind this, it's more to get a visual display of the pens compared to other pens.

We hope that the Pen Plaza will be something you enjoy. It was a lot of work, but something that we think will benefit the writing community. It goes in line with the philosophy that drove us to develop our other tools like the Swab Shop (comparing ink colors), the Nib Nook (fountain pen writing samples), and the Fountain of Knowledge (variety of educational tools on fountain pen usage). These tools are all free for you to enjoy as a writing enthusiast, and we will continue to develop tools like these in the future to help make fountain pens a more enjoyable hobby for anyone passionate about them. 

What do you think? I'd really love to hear your opinions of our latest tool!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

13 comments:

  1. This must have been a TON of work! Thanks!

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  2. Another fine fountain pen tool by the Goulet team. Every time I think you cannot top yourselves, you do. Now excuse me as I'm off to compare a couple of pens. :-)

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  3. This is brilliant and really well thought out!

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  4. I was waiting for the temperature to cool down before I went shopping and I noticed this last night and checked it out. One thing I noticed was that when you click on Pen Plaza and go to the Pen Plaza page, you also have highlighted Fountain of Knowledge on the toolbar. When the cursor is moved down the tabs, they both remain highlighted.

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  5. It was indeed! Worth it though, it turned out just as well as I had envisioned!

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  6. Thank you! Oh, and we have more ideas too :) As soon as we finished up the Pen Plaza and made it live, I was already starting to implement the execution of our next project.... ;)

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  7. Hmmm....I hadn't noticed that. I'll have Rachel check that out. Thanks for pointing it out!

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  8. You keep thinking of amazing things. Thanks a lot.

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