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Friday, 22 March 2013

Stationery and the Revival of Handwriting?

Posted by Chris Leonard-Morgan

Some would have us believe that letter writing and writing by hand is dead, that sending thank you notes is dead, that keeping a diary is dead. In fact, does anyone even remember how to hold a pen properly any more? It sounds extreme because it IS extreme. The media on both sides of the Atlantic has for the past few years been whipping up a frenzy of anxiety and disbelief at the apparent demise of handwriting – it’s as if no one does it any more.

The problem with this is that it simply isn’t true. It’s a bandwagon that has been jumped on to perpetuate the belief that the iPad killed the planner, that email killed the handwritten letter, that video killed the radio star!

The truth is, technology has merely distracted us from the joy of writing. It hasn’t replaced it. We’ve been led astray by shiny new gadgets that promise to make our lives easier. And I’m certainly not knocking that. But as the organiser of next April’s National Stationery Week, we want to remind people about the joy and importance of putting pen to paper. It’s not just about the physicality of holding a beautiful pen and languorously pouring out thoughts on paper, it’s about stopping what you’re doing, and taking time to enjoy the task in hand. Writing, in whatever form it takes, is a therapy that counteracts the speed of modern life. It forces us to slow down a little and focus on what we want to say. And yes, I know it’s been said a hundred times before, but it’s so much more pleasurable and personal to receive a handwritten note or letter from a friend than an ephemeral text or email. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.

Even the British government recognizes this with its recent decision to re introduce handwriting to secondary schools’ curriculum.
The proof, as they say, is in the pudding, and what better proof than US online stationery company Paperless Post, who made their name creating well-designed e-cards and who have recently introduced customisable paper stationery – yes, PAPER stationery! The digital stationery company that has gone old school, because everyone loves real pens and real paper.

We experienced this at first hand in April this year when stationery addicts came out of the woodwork in droves for the first ever National Stationery Day, to share their passion for paper and pens with fellow stationery fans. We were staggered by the number and goodwill of those who got involved – both the industry and the general public who embraced the idea of championing stationery to the nation, in stores, in the national print press, on radio and on social media. It’s one of the reasons we have extended it from just one day to a whole week next year, to allow retailers longer to promote and celebrate their stationery, and to give the public longer to submit to their inner stationery addict. There’s just too much stationery love out there to fit it all into one day!

A hugely important part of National Stationery Week is the initiative to encourage more people – and especially children – to put pen to paper. That’s why we will be promoting the concept of Get Britain Writing. We’ll be using the hashtag #GetBritainWriting as well as #LoveStationery and #StationeryAddict on Twitter in the run up to National Stationery Week as part of our efforts to inspire children and adults alike to discover and rediscover the joy of writing with pens and pencils, and not just keyboards. Despite the rapid evolution of mobile device technology, we know that handwriting isn’t dead in the water. We want to ensure it receives the attention it deserves to keep it thriving.

It’s just one month now until  National Stationery Week, so watch out for our future blog posts to discover how we’re going to Get Britain Writing!
National Stationery Week is organised by the London Stationery Show and Stationery Magazine and is sponsored by Sheaffer, Letts Filofax, Faber-Castell and uni-ball.
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