I have loved stationery since I was at school, I was the girl who collected erasers with googly eyes and looked forward to having a new pen in my Christmas stocking, then learning joined up writing was a given it was never ‘if’ but ‘when’, writing was a skill to be perfected.
But it seems to be changing. In Finland in 2016 they stopped teaching children to do joined up writing, known as Cursive and whilst I accept that many of us will create a lot of our written communication on a keyboard, is this really something children don’t need to do anymore?
In the UK, politics is influencing our children’s writing too, at local level education authorities and academies decide how and when children will be allowed to progress from writing in pencil to using ballpen, gel pen or fountain pen.
Robert Oxbridge of PPC who is a major supplier into the education sector comments that a handwriting pen like the Centropen handwriter is a popular ‘transition’ pen but apparently red pens aren’t used for marking now and have been replaced by green and purple.
Charles Stockbridge Managing Director of Manuscript Pen Company says that in market research they conducted recently they found that children as young as 3 years would far sooner take their favourite colouring markers and book and create their own letters and pictures rather than draw with an app.
Talking to Stone Marketing who are a major distributor of pen brands in the UK they comment that, ‘In this digital age people are trying to find ways to take a break from technology and writing is playing a part in this digital detox movement.
The current trend in journalling is a good example of this, it involves recording thoughts feeling, goals and ambitions at work, home and for life and is thought to help in managing stress. “Bullet Journalling” is a very specific form of this which encourages you to track the past, manage the present and plan the future using words, icons, sketches and anything else you want to help you plan.
All of this is great for stationery sales with many suppliers and retailers reporting significant increases in sales year on year from everyday writing instruments through to luxury pens and paper.
With computer usage at an all-time high, screen time appears to dominate our working life with writing barely being used to take notes it appears, however the good news about handwriting is that personal communications are on the increase, in 2017 we sent 864 million cards.
The pens we are choosing to use as adults for our personal writing are often a reflection of our individual tastes. Brands like Herbin® known for its beautiful inks, has seen a 12% increase in sales in the last 12 months, they launch a new colour every year and this year’s colour will be revealed on the 9th May.
But we don’t have to spend hundreds of £’s on our pens a brand like Zebra offers fantastic products in great colours and the Z grip ballpoint range has been one of their best sellers for many years, a great pen with a long writing life I have a red one on my desk today!
The Spectator and The Guardian have recently featured articles on hand writing and both conclude that it is important to maintain a culture of hand writing.
The Guardian concluding that ‘there is a balance to be struck ….making sure we help children choose the right tool for the task in hand – whether that’s a pen, laptop, or something else’.