An improved electrostatic ink jet system is disclosed which provides ink (18) upon demand to print upon plain paper (26). The demand signal is the application of an increased voltage level over an existing or bias level. The termination of this increased voltage level, of course, stops the ink flow to end the printing operation. The ink jet assembly includes an ink jet (12) of reduced length by the inclusion of a conductive surface (24) at a predetermined point along the ink length. The assembly therefore has a unique physical shape which provides improved electrical and mechanical characteristics.