Writing by hand DOES matter
Posted 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.
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!
This blog item was posted on Wednesday, May 25th, 2016.