I’m so fascinated that, in an age of apps, computers, theoretically paper-less offices, that stationery stores continue to thrive.
Partly, there’s the nostalgia value. I think going through a stationery store reminds us of when we were young and the beginning of the school year, getting fresh pens and pencils, being prepared, having good intentions, new beginnings. That’s an awesome feeling.
I think there’s something in the ability to personalise that we enjoy. My daughter can’t walk past a Darth Vader journal, I always want to get cat-themed pens for my sister-in-law, and I’m quite partial to a cheeky slogan on a folder or diary. But there’s also something in the slowness of stationery that perhaps we’re drawn to. The ability to take time to think while we write or plan that makes us feel we’ve got more control over our lives than we actually do.
Take the Bullet Journal craze, for example. I hadn’t heard of this; it popped up in my Facebook news feed last week. It’s very seductive, even though it seems like far more work than an iPhone app. Basically, it’s a notebook that contains your plans, aspirations, ideas and a calendar – all hand-drawn. You can use any notebook – a moleskine if you’re feeling literary, something more frivolous, or even the official bullet journals. But basically you do all the work.
There’s a great Buzzfeed article explaining the craze here.