News & Blogs

Writing by hand DOES matter

Posted on 25th May 2016 by Chris Leonard-Morgan

There is a lot of discussion in the media about whether writing by hand is any longer relevant or has a place in a digital age.  It is a subject which concerns, or should concern everyone in the stationery market although to part quote Mark Twain, reports of its death are greatly exaggerated.

Generally speaking, writing by hand matters much less today in an office environment where technology has become such an integral part of day to day operations.  There are however many situations where writing by hand and note taking in particular come into their own – you only have to visit an exhibition to see notebooks and order forms (and pens) in action on the front line alongside mobiles and tablets.A-Z why writing matters

The truth is, we need and are better off with both.  The mistake many people make is believing it has to be one or the other, so it was reassuring to learn from YouGov research carried out recently on behalf of National Stationery Week that 86% of business managers expect applicants for jobs in their organisations to be able to write by hand, as well as have keyboard skills.

It’s a different story away from the office where although technology is also widely employed, personal (and handwritten) communication is increasingly the order of the day, and not just text and email.

A handwritten envelope will always be opened before a typed one but it goes deeper than that, and is part of a bigger picture which for most people starts in childhood.

People love stationery.  If I could only have a pound, euro or dollar for every time someone tells me this!  Today’s stationery market is driven by colour, design and fashion.  The products are viewed as a treat and often as a bit of affordable luxury – it makes you and the recipient  feel good, if given as a gift and there is no sense of guilt because the products are useful and fulfil a need.  It’s where fashion meets function. … I often think that design-led stationery and pens now actually encourage people to write, and keep writing.  There is a shift away from need to want, and that includes wanting to communicate and be communicated with in a personal, thoughtful way.

There are a number of other factors which are underpinning the resurgence of consumer interest in writing and stationery.  Who would have believed that adult colouring books would be one of last year’s hottest tickets and come to be seen as the perfect antidote to a hard day at the office and other stresses?  And that this year’s National Stationery Week would trend on Twitter on three consecutive days and feature so prominently on BBC Radio2.

There is growing evidence that just as writing and drawing helps stimulate creativity in children, so it also stimulates the growing army of older people’s brains and everyone’s memory.  When you stop to think about it, the only surprise is that anyone should be surprised by this.

The future of handwriting and the stationery market rests with today’s younger generation, and the future is bright if other findings from the YouGov research are any kind of guide.  97% of adults think it is important that children continue to be taught to write by hand at school, while 91% of children aged between 8 and 15 think it is important to be able to write by hand. How encouraging is that?

The message is clear – keep writing, and spread the word.  Because if writing matters, stationery matters!

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Stationery Show Breaks All Records

Posted on 4th May 2016 by Vanessa Fortnam

The sixth London Stationery Show closed its doors last week after recording its highest ever visitor numbers and achieving several other record breaking firsts.

The exhibition had its highest number of visitors to date, up 27% on 2015; the highest number of stands at 155, up 15% on 2015; its highest number of Stationery Award entries, up more than 100 on 2015 at 350 new product entries and welcomed visitors from 43 countries.

“Just about everyone who is anyone in the stationery market seemed to be at last week’s show!” says exhibitor director, Chris Leonard-Morgan.

“We were also delighted to host Nuco’s successful Guinness World Record attempt for the World’s Largest Notebook. Our congratulations go to managing director Keith Matthews and his team at Nuco International, who have also been a great sponsor for National Stationery Week this year,” added Chris.

One of this year’s Stationery Awards judges, Louisa Brenton, gift and stationery buyer at Bentalls, Fenwick Kingston commented, “I was very impressed by the calibre of product at the show… it was good to see a lot more gifting orientated product on display, and, as always, I thought the new product on display at the entrance looked fabulous!”

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Notable Designs collected two wins and three commendations at this year’s Stationery Awards

The biggest winners in the Awards this year were Notable Designs, with two wins and three commendations, and Stone Marketing also with two wins and one commendation.  Emma Fletcher of Mum’s Office won the Diaries & Organisers category with her Christmas Book and picked up the discretionary Judges’ Choice Award, given this year to recognise the individual passion and interest that had gone into creating the Book. (Full details of all the categories and winners can be found by clicking here)

Henri Davis, independent retail advisor and vice-president of The Giftware Association, who again chaired the judging panel commented, “The judges were thrilled by the strength and diversity of the products entered this year.  With four new judges on the panel there were comments about how useful it was to see focused selections of new products to evaluate and compare.  They were all making notes of products they wanted to follow up on.”

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Rebecca Saunders, Head of Development for notonthehighstreet.com

To celebrate World Stationery Day (Wednesday, 27 April) the show invited Rebecca Saunders, head of development at leading online retailer notonthehighstreet.com, and Phil Pond of trend forecasters Scarlet Opus to speak. Rebecca’s talk, entitled ‘Stationery – anything but Stationary’ covered the current trends on styles and the new ways in which notonthehighstreet.com customers are using stationery.

Trend analyst Phil Pond added to this by identifying a series of global design and consumer trends that will be evident in the market for this Christmas and in the Spring/Summer of 2017.

“Rebecca and Phil’s presentations proved that there is everything to play for in the stationery market as the products are recognised not only as making perfect gifts and self-gifting treats, but also as accessible fashion items and accessories,” says Chris.

“The London Stationery Show showcases the creativity and relevance of stationery to the retail market and beyond.  Fashionable, educational, personal, creative and diverse – there are so many functions that stationery products satisfy and consumers love it more than ever. The London Stationery Show is the place for retailers to discover these, review ranges and choose paper and writing products that will add to and complement their product offer.

“Everybody who exhibited or attended this year’s London Stationery Show left enthused, inspired and full of ideas to make stationery even more desirable, fun and profitable!”

The 2017 London Stationery Show will take place on Tuesday 25 – Wednesday 26 April at the Business Design Centre, London.

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It’s all about the GRID! A short video from Mum’s Office

Posted on 15th March 2016 by Vanessa Fortnam

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