After recently reading an article by Andrew Martin (Adventures in Stationery: A Journey Through Your Pencil Case review – the final word in pens and paperclips) describing stationery as a “promisingly ‘boring’ subject” it seemed that perhaps some of the sparkle has been lost over recent years in the purchase and use of stationery.

“Stationery is associated with dull-witted and retentiveness, being ancillary to more important tasks. Those school kids who neatly align pen, ruler and paper at the start of an exam are often doomed to fail”. Sorry, Mr Martin, I’m going to have to stop you there, those of us who did neatly organise ourselves prior to the swift rustle of turning papers, were very far from failing, and wasn’t it Benjamin Franklin who said that ‘by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’.

I counter that in the absence of stationery, our world and our lives would be “promisingly boring”. Stationery has shaped the way we live in more ways than can be re-counted here. From the moment that man first put quill to paper, such brilliantness has abounded in every facet of our lives from astrology through to anatomy, that there is little surrounding us, that hasn’t been drafted, drawn, imagined, dreamed or created without the input of stationery.

The article that has prompted such censure or such interest (hopefully) in stationery, has been written on the release of James Ward’s book – Adventures in Stationery. It has been described as  “potted histories of stationery products”, ranging from tales of how the Stabilo Boss highlighter came to take its shape through to where the name foolscap comes from.

I mean, who knew that post-it notes were created by accident!? And yet, now they are probably the most ordinary item to be found on the desktop.

The list goes on, according to Ward’s book; Blu-Tack was white before it became the trademark blue, ironically now it is white again…but regardless of the fascinating story behind most of the items currently sat in pen pots and drawers around us at work, the fact of the matter is that stationery is most definitely not boring.

Stationery are the tools that we use to forge creation, maybe forgotten about or seemingly commonplace, they should be praised for what they allow us to achieve.

So go forth, grab your pen, mechanical pencil or be it a quill and continue re-igniting the sparkle in stationery.


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