Product typeMarker pens, gel pens, rollerball pens
OwnerNewell Brands
CountryUnited States
Introduced1964; 60 years ago (1964)[1]
Previous ownersSanford L.P. (1964–1990)[1] Edit this at Wikidata

Sharpie is a brand of writing implements (mainly permanent markers) manufactured by Newell Brands, a public company headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Originally designating a single permanent marker, the Sharpie brand has been widely expanded and can now be found on a variety of previously unrelated permanent and non-permanent pens and markers formerly marketed under other brands. This article focuses on the legacy Sharpie permanent marker line.

Sharpie markers are made with several tips, including ultra fine, extra fine, fine, brush, chisel, and retractable tips. Sharpie also produce gel and rollerball pens.


Sharpie products
From left to right (above): marker types, black marker; (below): color markers line, and several Sharpies exhibited in a store

"Sharpie" was originally a name designating a permanent marker launched in 1964 by the Sanford Ink Company (established in 1857). The Sharpie also became the first pen-style permanent marker.[1][2]

In 1990, Sharpie was acquired by The Newell Companies (later Newell Rubbermaid) as part of Sanford, a leading manufacturer and marketer of writing instruments.[3]

In 2005, the company's Accent highlighter brand was repositioned under the Sharpie brand name. The Sharpie Mini, a smaller marker with a clip for attaching a keychain or lanyard was also launched. In 2006, Sharpie introduced markers with button-activated retractable tips rather than a cap. Sharpie Paint markers were also introduced. As of 2011, 200 million Sharpies had been sold worldwide.[4] Sharpie markers are manufactured in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico, and Maryville, Tennessee, and with numerous off-shore partners globally.[5]


Fltr (left): Sharpie sponsorship on a NASCAR car, 2014; (right): branded products on sale in London

Sharpie sponsored the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sharpie 500, a night-time race at Bristol Motor Speedway, from 2001 through 2009.[2] For the 2010 season, Newell Rubbermaid switched the sponsorship for this race to its Irwin Tools brand. Sharpie sponsored the Nationwide Series Sharpie Mini 300 race from 2004 to 2008. Before 2006, they sponsored Kurt Busch, who was the 2004 Sprint Cup champion. Sharpie also sponsored Jamie McMurray in the 2006 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

In recent years, Sharpie commercials have followed the slogan "Write Out Loud". These advertisements depict people using Sharpies in bad situations, such as using the marker to touch up a car and a college woman highlighting words in a book to notify a male student that his fly was open. Also, a middle-aged woman trying to think of what to write for her resignation letter, writes "I QUIT" with a red Sharpie. David Beckham is sponsored by Sharpie and appears in a commercial signing autographs with a Sharpie and trying to steal them.[6]

In popular culture

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Actress Lyndsy Fonseca handling a Sharpie at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival

During an October 14, 2002 National Football League Monday Night Football game against the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens pulled a black Sharpie marker out of his sock to sign the football he caught to score a touchdown and then gave the ball to his financial adviser, who was in the stands.[7]

Special Camp David Sharpies were made for United States President George W. Bush.[8]

Sharpies are the writing utensil of choice for astronauts aboard the International Space Station because of their usability in zero-gravity. According to Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who commanded the International Space Station in 2012–2013, "you can hold it any which way and it still works".[9]

Former US president Donald Trump has a well-known preference for using Sharpies to sign official government documents, as he did when he gave autographs.[10]

In September 2019, Trump was involved in a "Sharpie-gate" controversy, as CNN reported: "Trump defended an apparent Sharpie-altered map of Hurricane Dorian's predicted path."[11][12]


  1. ^ a b c "Sharpie History". 2014-01-30. Archived from the original on 2014-05-02. Retrieved 2014-04-30.
  2. ^ a b Freeth, Nick (2005). Made in America. MBI Publishing. p. 246. ISBN 0-7603-2270-8.
  3. ^ "Sharpie in Newell Rubbermaid page". Archived from the original on 2011-12-05. Retrieved 2014-04-30.
  4. ^ "Sharpies: One of the Greatest American Inventions Ever! [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]". Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  5. ^ Totten, Rachel. "Newell to Add Jobs at Maryville Plant after Mexicali Fire". The Daily Times. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  6. ^ "David Beckham Signs With Sharpie - March 6 /PR Newswire UK/". Oak Brook, Illinois. 2008-02-28. Retrieved 2014-04-30.
  7. ^ Litsky, Frank (2002-10-16). "PRO FOOTBALL; Signature Move by the 49ers' Owens Creates a Stir". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
  8. ^ Bedard, Paul (September 17, 2006). "Washington Whispers - Better Make It a Sharpie-or Else". U.S. News & World Report. Archived from the original on July 16, 2013. (archived 2013)
  9. ^ Hadfield, Chris (2013). An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth. London: Macmillan. p. 199. ISBN 978-1-4472-5751-6.
  10. ^ "'Make it look rich': Trump told Sharpie to create a custom pen for him to sign important documents". Business Insider. November 2018.
  11. ^ Stelter, Brian (September 8, 2019). "Trump Failed a Basic Geography Test". CNN.
  12. ^ Frias, Lauren (November 12, 2022). "6 memorable times Trump wielded his trademark Sharpie". Business Insider. Retrieved March 24, 2023.