Some Highlighters Are Better than Others

Handwriting in black pen, with yellow highlighter.
I compared four different highlighter pens.  Unfortunately, the highlighters seem to react differently to the scanner, so it’s hard to tell here what they look like in natural light.

Highlighters add color to day planners.  Some people use colors to classify upcoming appointments and tasks.  I use them to mark off my completed checklist items.

For the most part highlighters come in three styles.  Style one is the fat felt-tip marker. I keep a couple of Sanford-brand Major Accents around the house because they remind me of my school days.  When I want a highlighter, I grab what’s at hand.

Sometimes highlighter I grab is the Major Accent.  The result isn’t always good. The yellow Major Accent performs well, but the pink one I used the other day dissolved my ink and smeared it all over the page.

The smearing problem is probably why you don’t see Major Accents around much any more.  They’ve been replaced by the Sharpie Highlighter. Its Smearguard® technology resists dissolving your ink.  Less smearing, but by and large it’s the same pen.

The problem with both those products is that their felt tips are too broad.  With a quarter-inch line it’s hard to draw a tidy underline in a book, or to highlight a brief phrase without marking the words above and below it.

Bic to the rescue!  Style two, the Bic Briteliner felt-tip has a 1/8″ chisel tip.  It’s  nimbler, which allows you to highlight neatly and precisely.  It smears a little, too.

But my favorite highlighter is style three.  That’s the one that makes people say “Whoa, can I try that?”  It’s the Sharpie Gel Highlighter.  The gel glides on more smoothly, and it doesn’t dissolve ink.  You get a smear-free page.

Odd how you can’t see the gel in this scan, isn’t it?  The scanner looks right through it.  I’m not sure if that’s a feature or a bug.  Still, since I don’t normally scan my planner pages, I don’t need to see what I’ve highlighted.  It doesn’t matter to me if I can tell on a scan whether I’ve highlighted something.

However, the Major Accent had one advantage over its descendants.

In the scan above, the Major Accent looks more intense than the other highlighters, right? And you can barely see the gel highlighter, right?  In fact, on the paper all four highlighters are about equally intense.

The difference in the highlighters is that the Sharpies and the Bic highlighters are all very bright.  They practically fluoresce off the page.  The Major Accent is  duller and more subdued.  I think that’s an advantage.

When you’re rereading a book, you want to be able to pay attention to the whole page without the highlighted section distracting you by screaming, “Look at me!”  Yet that’s what the three later highlighters do.

One day I’ll market a highlighter in a subtle shade that’ll mark off the important sections without drawing attention to itself.  In gray. A lowlighter.

And if it’s a gray gel low-lighter, that’ll be highlighter nirvana.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *