Stationery Must-Haves or: Our list of useful writing and other office materials handy to have nearby
The contents of any list of “Must-Have” items will be highly subjective. What one person deems essential, another sees as ephemera. We all see things differently. This is a good thing. It leads to a richer and more varied society. And also, if we all thought the same way, the world would be a very boring place filled with very boring people. What if clothing consisted of only gray jumpsuits and music was limited to Kenny G’s greatest hits? That is a roundabout way of saying you may not have a use for some of the items in our list, short of a pen and a pencil. Perhaps one or two things will catch your eye - there are some interesting things in the following list.
For the scribbler
- Post-It Notes
At your desk and on the phone you need to jot something down and stick it someplace where it’ll be seen. Some people don’t see the point but a sticky note placed in just the right location can save you from having to explain why you forgot to pick up a very important item. Not recommended for keeping track of nuclear codes or bank passwords, but one stuck on a steering wheel with a grocery list can be useful. TIP: If you want to stop using paper sticky notes, try using the notes application on your phone or computer. Digital sticky notes have been on macOS computers since 1994 (and they’re just as colorful).
- Pocket Diary
Small enough to fit in your back pocket or a jacket. Tough enough to handle whatever you throw at it. A pocket diary is a great little notebook to have when you’re on the go and need something more than scraps of paper or a napkin to write on. Ours happens to be waterproof so if you’re out on the ocean taking notes during a squall or simply did some laundry and discovered you left it in your trousers, your scribblings will be just fine.
For this use case, the best kind of envelopes are those some company sent in the mail with a bill. You know the ones I’m talking about. Sometimes they have little windows to show the address or sometimes they’re just pre-printed. If you pay for everything electronically, use them for quick notes or lists. They deserve better than just being thrown away.
For the note taker
- Index Cards
Index cards are a great study aid. There’s something about sitting down someplace that’s distraction-free, collecting your materials, transcribing notes and relevant information to the cards, and then studying. It works for both memorization and long term recall. Making and using flashcards is a hard proposition to beat. There are digital flashcards too - but many still prefer paper.
Maybe you want to keep a diary or need one for a class or maybe you just like organizing parts of your life on paper - bullet journaling is very popular these days. There are all kinds of things you can fill them with. If you already have a journal and aren’t quite sure what you want to do with it, here are some empty notebook ideas. You’ll figure out something!
For the sketch artist
- A Sketch-Book
That was an easy one. What kind though is up to you. We make a fantastic A4 sized Sketchbook which we’re proud of. Have you ever sketched on stone paper? It feels slightly different but sort of familiar and has several advantages. For one thing, if you’re outside sketching a landscape study and it starts raining, the paper (and your work) will be fine. Stone paper is waterproof!
- A Bound Journal
Leonardo Da Vinci was a big proponent of notebooks (among many things). One, called the Codex Arundel, contains a variety of things including sketches of mechanical apparatuses, observations on water flowing in a river, studies of planetary movements, and theories of bird flight. You’d also find a grocery list for a herring, tortelli, two fennel soups, four anchovies and “a small quarter of a rough wine.” We have some nice notebooks available that we think Leonardo would like too.
- A Special Pencil
This will be quite different depending on the person. For industrial drafting work, the Caran d'Ache 844 mechanical pencil is reasonably priced, reliable, and will last for years thanks to its metal parts and solid Swiss construction. If you want to continue the Leonardo theme, Pininfarina currently has several special Ethergraf® writing instruments commemorating the 500th year since the Renaissance genius passed away. This type of pen has no ink and writes forever. The tip is made from a special metal alloy that reacts with paper to leave a mark. It works great on stone paper (and is even erasable if you need - just add water).
What type of stationery user are you? Let us know what you look for when you’re looking for something to write on or sketch in. What’s your pen or pencil of choice? We’d love to get your thoughts. Who knows, maybe it will lead to something?