What is it about stationery? Why does purchasing a new notebook make us feel more organised? Why are we unable to write anything on the first page of that new notebook? And why do we enjoy looking inside other people’s pencil cases so much? Do you want to look inside our pencil case? There’s this brass sharpener…
In our new monthly column, we invite stationery aficionados, obsessives and self-confessed addicts to share their stationery stories. We caught up with Rosa Park of Cereal magazine and publishing house Francis about her day-to-day tools of choice, her top spots for supplies and memories of after school visits to her local stationers.
What's your earliest memory of using stationery?
When I was in 1st grade, I would insist on visiting the local stationery shop everyday after school. Even if it was just to look, I wanted to go and see what was new. I think it was every Friday that my mum would let me pick up something new, and I have a distinct memory of getting a new pencil case – the plastic ones with a spongey top that had separate compartments for your eraser, pen and rulers! – that made me extremely happy as a 6 year old.
What are your go-to instruments for creating?
I actually LOVE a good BIC ball point pen in black. We buy so many of these for the office. I also love to use colourful gel roller pens from MUJI for when I’m editing or doing accounts. And I always use my brass MIDORI ruler, as well as their fun paperclips in different shapes like apples and airplanes and crocodiles! Notebook wise, I switch it up constantly – but I’m currently using a cloth bound HAY one.
Paper is a vital material in your work. You use it to deliver your content to the world. Can you feed our paper obsession and talk to us about the print specs for the magazine?
This is definitely more of Rich’s domain, as he’s our creative director and oversees much of our production! I’ve learned a lot from Rich and from doing what we do, and we tend to prefer matte stocks for our magazine and books. And I love textured papers as well. Most recently, we updated the design of our magazine and now use an embossed G.F. Smith paper stock in 350gsm for the cover, with a deboss finish on our logo, and use ANTALIS edixion challenger for the inner pages.
Can you share your top stationery shopping spots with us?
One of the first stationery shops I fell in love with was in Berlin, at a place called RSVP. I also love Papersmiths in Bristol and Found in Bath, as well as Meticulous Ink in Bath. The ISETAN department store in Japan has a great selection of stationery too. And the KYOBO bookshop in seoul is fantastic as well.
How do you organise and store your stationery?
I keep loose pens and rulers in my handbag, though I think I should start using a pencil case! At home I have tons of boxes from HAY and MUJI where I store my stationery and keep all my pens in wooden pen pots!
What’s been your biggest stationery indulgence?
Super expensive notebooks. Sometimes I go crazy at Smythson.
What are the best and/or worst stationery gifts you’ve received?
Best gift I received was my first yearly Smythson planner from my friend. Worst would be overly bright Hello Kitty items. I actually like Hello Kitty (childhood memories) but the range is quite wide and sometimes people get me items that are a bit too intense….
Any parting thoughts on stationery?
Great stationery makes working so much more fun!
Thank you Rosa!