Product designer Toni Rohm in an exclusive interview

In an exclusive interview ONLINE product designer Toni Rohm gives an insight into his design work and replies to questions about our newcomer "Slope".

At regular intervals Toni Rohm has been creating characterful writing instruments for ONLINE since 2001. In this interview he is replying to 5 exclusive questions about his design work and our newcomer Slope.

Which part of your job as a product designer do you enjoy the most?

The challenge to connect technical aspects, handling and ergonomic features and being able to create an appealing "everyday" product. Not only individual customer requirements, but also the market needs which you have to incorporate into the design are part of what makes this job so diversified and exciting. I especially love the aspect when the idea of a product becomes real. The cooperation with technicians and the application of my extensive knowledge in metal work and plastic engineering.

What actions do you perform when you start designing a new writing instrument?

This question on how to go about is multi-layered and highly diverse. First of all, you have to specify if it’s a single writing instrument or a set, if it should be a fountain pen, rollerball or ballpen. That’s when you get a rough idea about dimensions and the layout of the components. Very important is the briefing, the requirements of the new product. Those could be keywords like "School fountain pen, Technical pen, Ladypen, Flagship or Exotic", but also just a classification like "classic, extraordinary, cool, childlike, feminine or masculine". I start by sketching the rough outer parts, clips and surface details. With this you are quickly able to see if the design goes into the direction of the briefing. Then follows the application in 3D where elements like mechanics, refills, nibs and ink cartridges are implemented. Very rarely the form is coherent and fits immediately; that’s why it’s often necessary to make adaptations and modifications. Eventually the chosen designs will be rendered and presented in a variety of surfaces and materials.

Which one is your favourite writing instrument among those you designed for ONLINE?

Good question – difficult question! Usually one would want to choose an especially successful product, and I have designed lots of writing instruments for ONLINE, but my most favourite is the FLIP. Here I managed to create a simple writing instrument – without complicated push or twist mechanisms - in an appealing form which also makes the technical aspects visible from the outside.

What inspired you to design the SLOPE ?

Quite easily – writing in itself! Writing, at least with fountain pen and in handwriting, is a flowing movement. I wanted to transfer this movement onto the barrel. I then played around with the different possibilities and finally chose the drawn helix movement.

How long and how many drafts did you need for the final version of the Slope ?

The timing is not exactly traceable, but there were lots of primary stages with a huge variety of different surfaces which I presented. The close cooperation with the Batsch Family is also part of why I love it so much. In constructive dialogs we discuss the advantages and problems and find a common consensus. The realisation of this special form took ages and the construction of the tools was quite time consuming and had to be modified again and again.

About Toni Rohm


  • Technical College Pforzheim - Subject: Industrial Design / Graduation: Diploma
  • 1975 – 1991 Co-owner of Advertising Agency "STUDIOFORM / Pforzheim"
  • From 1991 Owner of "Designbüro" - Specialised: Writing Instruments / Watches / Accessories / Packaging
  • Since 2001 Designer for ONLINE Schreibgeräte


  • Design award "Gute Industrieform IF Designzentrum Stuttgart" / Wooden Toys for kids
  • German Shoe and Leather goods award for BRAUN BÜFFEL / Leather goods
  • RedDOT AWARD 2010 Industrial Design ZEPF / Bionik


Am Plötzer 14
75203 Königsbach / Stein
Phone: 07232/ 7350390
Fax: 07232/7350391

19.09.2018 16:54
Category: Products