Better off red: A comparison of three Diamine red inks


In the UK the 70’s are sometimes called the decade that taste forgot. I dont know about that, I was a child of the 70’s. Growing up before computers and branded clothing, before the internet and mobile phones. It was the era of Glam Rock, of Disco, and to some degree, at least to me as a child, it was an era of real innocent freedom. A freedom that we have perhaps lost these days. I remember in the halcyon days in the summer holidays I could leave the house after breakfast, popping back only briefly for a gobbled lunch and then returning at last for the day when weariness and my mother’s calls could be heard as the sun slowly set over the sea.

Three red inks
Three red inks

What has all this to do with red ink you ask? Nothing really, except a request for this post reminded me of my first step into a kids disco in the seventies where Puppy Love blared out over the P.A system and I plucked up the courage to ask the middle-aged, oldest swinger in town, bearded DJ to play a certain record (Cat Stevens I think) and his earthy,bellicose retort still rings in my ears nearly forty years later. “I don’t do requests lad!” Happily I do! So here it is (is that the longest intro ever or what!)

Red, red, and more red: So here we have our contestants, all from the famous UK ink producer Diamine‘s stables. First up is Red Dragon, a truly beautiful fulsome red that is a pleasure to use. Next up is Matador, a   red that bounces off the page, reminds me of the red used in our post office vans over here. Third is Crimson, dare I say a more delicate shade than the other two but just a lovely.

Red dragon
Red dragon

Red Dragon: Probably my favourite ink of the three at present. I have to be honest that this is one of my go-to inks as I just love writing with it.It has just the right shade and flow in my pen of choice. It is full-bodied and robust, like a good glass of Port should be in the evening.


Matador: A really bright red that look even more so in comparison with its two stablemates. I tend to use this for editing text and as an underliner. Think of the colour of a British post box and you have a good sense of this red.


Crimson: A refined and elegant ink. I have to say that a more delicate shading is seen when using this ink than with the other two in this comparison in my opinion. Great for cards and notes, I think this ink works particularly well with one of my vintage pens with a flex nib that accentuates the shading properties of this ink.

Summary: It is clear that these three inks each have their particular highlights. I have happily bought all three over time and have found a place for each in my collection. Do you have any other suggestions for great red inks? If you do comment and tell me about them!



8 thoughts on “Better off red: A comparison of three Diamine red inks

  1. Wow, that was quickly done! Thanks for the side by side comparison.

    You do know though that I hoped to narrow rather than expand my ink list.

    My Matador sample looks significanly deeper and darker than you show, although not as dark as the Red Dragon, and without the orange cast I see in yours.

    On this comparison I like the Red Dragon best for writing, but the Crimson may be the choice for my rose-red ink.


  2. I’m already a great fan of Red Dragon, it seems to permanently live with me in a Neon Lamy Safari, thanks for enlightening me about the other two…

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