Handwritten letters from famous artists
Letter writing is said to be a dying art, but in our age of emails and texts more people are going back to paper and develop a real love for handwritten correspondence. We listen for you some exciting and beautiful letters from artists and writers who inspired us.
- Love letters between Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West
“I am reduced to a thing that wants Virginia. I composed a beautiful letter to you in the sleepless nightmare hours of the night, and it has all gone: I just miss you, in a quite simple desperate human way. You, with all your un-dumb letters, would never write so elementary a phrase as that; perhaps you wouldn’t even feel it. And yet I believe you’ll be sensible of a little gap. But you’d clothe it in so exquisite a phrase that it would lose a little of its reality.” – Vita Sackville-West
“Look here Vita — throw over your man, and we’ll go to Hampton Court and dine on the river together and walk in the garden in the moonlight and come home late and have a bottle of wine and get tipsy, and I’ll tell you all the things I have in my head, millions, myriads — They won’t stir by day, only by dark on the river. Think of that. Throw over your man, I say, and come.” Virginia Woolf
2. Alexander Calder and Ellsworth Kelly
Alexander Calder and Ellsworth Kelly maintained their friendship with frequent correspondences. The two artists would send letters , illustrated notes, postcards about their personal lives, mutual admiration and work.
3. Pablo Picasso and Jean Cocteau
Picasso wrote this colourful illustrated letter to Cocteau upon hearing that he was ill.
4. Frida Khalo and Diego Rivera
Across their 27 years of relationship, Frida Khalo and Diego Rivera exchanged passionate and poetic letters. She wrote about her emotions first in an illustrated diary and then by letters.
Truth is, so great, that I wouldn’t like to speak, or sleep, or listen, or love. To feel myself trapped, with no fear of blood, outside time and magic, within your own fear, and your great anguish, and within the very beating of your heart. All this madness, if I asked it of you, I know, in your silence, there would be only confusion. I ask you for violence, in the nonsense, and you, you give me grace, your light and your warmth. I’d like to paint you, but there are no colors, because there are so many, in my confusion, the tangible form of my great love.” Frida Khalo
How to choose the perfect notebook?
At the Journal Shop, we want to make it easier for you to choose a notebook that is adapted to your needs. A notebook is a perfect instrument to record your thoughts, generate new ideas and be more organised. When picking a notebook, a lot of criteria has to be taken into consideration: size, material, cover, binding…
We hope you will find this guide helpful in choosing a notebook that you will enjoy using.
Taking notes at school or universities by hand can help you memorise and assimilate more quickly. By taking notes by hand, students get a deeper understanding of the class.
These beautiful Rhodiarama notebooks feature a velvet-smooth cover, authentic hand-stitched spine, and, of course, fantastic fountain pen friendly Rhodia paper. The slim size is perfect to carry in a backpack.
Why we love it …
The variety of colours allows you to assign a colour by subject ( Example: Biology= Green; Chemistry = Red; History= Blue …).
Colour-coding your notebooks can make it easier to organise your notes.
A great simple notebook from Stalogy with a “Gokanshi” cover, a type of paper with a unique texture and a distinct feel.
Why we love it …
The Stalogy notebook comes with a handy label that will help you with keeping track of your work.
At the office, we are all using MD Paper notebooks because of the high-quality paper and the minimalistic cover.
MD Paper Notebooks open flat thanks to their thread-stitch binding and feature fountain pen ink friendly paper throughout the range. Recognising the importance of the quality of the paper used to record memories, thoughts, and ideas by notebook users, Midori spent years honing its paper in pursuit of comfortable writing, ink resistance and anti-transparency.
Why we love it …
The MD Notebook is our office favourite. High-quality paper with beautiful minimal design, what more can you ask for?
FOR THE ARTIST
To keep track of your creative process, a notebook is a useful companion.
If you are constantly doodling in your notebook or writing down your creative ideas, a notebook
Croquis sketchbook from Maruman Japan is ideal for sketching and drawing. The thick craft overprotects your pages inside.
FOR THE TRAVELER
While traveling, keeping a journal is a great way to write about your adventures, memories, expectations … You can also your travel journal as a scrapbook to illustrate your journey with museum tickets, postcards or polaroids.
Why we love it …
Traveler’s Notebook has redefined the way people journal and take notes, whether for travel or otherwise! You can mix and match inserts so your notebook is tailored to your journey! Whether you take it out on an adventure or write in your backyard, the Traveler’s Notebook ages with you.
Top Five Travel Quotes
'FOR ALL THE TRAVELERS WHO HAVE A FREE SPIRIT.'
TRAVELER'S Passport Notebook - Camel
Travel is a great thing. It's a great, big exciting world out there. When you travel you leave the familiar world you know and go on an adventure. You might have a good time, you might have a bad time but you'll definitely have a different time than you would have had if you stayed at home.
Whether it's the most exciting trip ever or the worst thing to happen to you since 'One Direction' broke up, some things are constant. It will feel strange waking up in a new room, the same food will taste different somehow, and you'll want to tell someone about something that happened.
If only there was a way to record your feelings and thoughts as you experience them...
TRAVELER'S Notebook // Brown
The Traveler's Journal is a great thing. Take it with you on your adventure and you have the perfect way to write about your trip. You get to capture your first vivid impression of people, places, and things, with the sand still in your hair or the ice still on your eyelashes.
TRAVELER'S Notebook // Refill 016: Pen Holder (M) Black
Here are 5 of our favourite travel quotes to inspire wanderlust and a need to see what's on the other side of the horizon. See you there!
‘The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page’ St. Augustine
‘Wherever you go, go with all your heart.’ Confucius.
‘To travel is to take a journey into yourself.’ Danny Kaye
‘One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.’ Henry Miller.
‘Not all those who wander are lost’ J.R.R Tolkien.
TRAVELER'S Notebook - Blue
(Bonus quote: It's about travel and a diary and it's very funny so we had to include it!)
‘I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.’ Oscar Wilde
Five Asian Dessert Shops in London
Summer has come to London (finally!) and this time it’s here to stay (for a while, at least). The blue sky and warm weather are the perfect excuses to indulge yourself with a well-deserved dessert, whether is a cake, ice cream, smoothies, take your pick!
Looking for some inspiration? London has lots of hidden gems and we’ve made a list of our favourite Asian dessert treats and where you can find them.
Located in Ealing Broadway this independent patisserie has been voted as the most authentic Japanese place to eat by the local community and with their varied range of cakes, pastries made by their skilful Japanese chefs we warmly agree. We recommend trying their White Sesame Cheesecake while you are there.
Courtesy of tombocafe.com
Tombo Café and Matcha bar
This stylish Japanese café situated in South Kensington, the museum district, offers a delightful array of dishes and desserts. If you are looking for a quiet place to spend some quality time with your friends or you are just taking a break between visiting museums and galleries, stop by for their Matcha Soft Serve Ice Cream.
Courtesy of yelp.co.uk
Tsujiri Matcha House
With a legacy of over 155 years, Tsujiri is well known as the home of the best green tea desserts. They have shops all around the globe and in London, you can find them in Soho and Chinatown. The shops offer a variety of traditional Japanese desserts to choose from and as they say it ‘the best matcha latte in town’. We recommend trying their delicious Shiratama’s sundaes which are handmade in-store.
Courtesy of Chinatown.co.uk
Located in the heart of Chinatown, this Asian bakery offers a wide range of desserts from Malaysia, China, Japan, Korea. They even do bespoke birthday cakes so it’s worth keeping them in mind for an upcoming celebration. Our recommendation is Bake’s star snack: a bespoke Taiyaki, a fish-shaped waffle cone filled with a hearty serving of soft matcha tea ice.
BobaJam has opened its first tea and dessert shop Leicester Square in 2011 becoming a pioneer in London's bubble tea culture. Their café in Soho is a welcoming place with a lovely artistic design perfect for spending a summer afternoon. Their menu is varied and all desserts come in a beautiful (and instagrammable!) presentation. We recommend trying their eye-catching Rain Drop Cake.
Five Coffee Shops to Visit in London
Whether you’re after your daily dose of caffeine, a fresh cup of matcha, or just a nice spot to sit down and put your notebook on a table corner, London is undeniably a little paradise for coffee lovers and artisan roaster hipsters.
We have listed for you some of our favourite (and most instagrammable) coffee shops, perfect for everyone seeking for a bit of peace to keep up with their journal or simply to enjoy a break from their busy London life.
You might be familiar with the Grind, as they have a few coffee shops all around town. Pink velvet sofa, marble counter, they worked together with Australian design company Biasol for the interior and we must say that it is a little heaven for design lovers. Coffee, smoothie, and avo toasts , but also cocktails and dinner in the evening. A must go if you are around Clerkenwell.
A little taste of Japan coffee culture in the heart of Marylebone. With its minimal interior, Japanese inspired menu, and pastries from Lanka (a patisserie which fusions traditional French and Japanese food), Monocle Café is a perfect quiet spot to enjoy a coffee and plug your laptop. You can also find Monocle latest magazine editions, and some of their lifestyle products.
Barber & Parlour
Probably one of the best places in London to grab a coffee and relax (their big comfy sofas are an invitation to nap). Laptop friendly, freelancers will love their spacious and bright space as much as their yummy menu and detox juices. Located on the trendy Redchurch street, Barber & Parlour (which belong to the Soho group), also have a shop corner, and an in-house barber, cinema, and cheeky parlour. Worth to visit.
With three coffee shops located around Fitzrovia, in just a few years Tap Coffee has become a must go for coffee lovers. They spend a lot of time sourcing the finest ingredients to prepare their coffee, and want to make sure that their customers feel at home in their shops. Great place to work in peace, in the busy city centre.
Bringing Australian cafe culture to London, Farm Girl is well known for its charcoal and rose lattes, but also for their delicious healthy food. It's usually packed over the weekend, but make sure to enjoy their little outside area in their Notting Hill location during the week, it's a little corner of heaven in the city.
Cover picture: Courtesy of Trotter Mag
In ye olde times, before Siri, how did people tell time?
When people say we’re in a digital age what they mean is we have smartphones, computers and talking microwaves (‘Dinner for one again, Sam?’). All the usual signs of modern, exciting living. The biggest sign of this digital age though might be that we have digitised time. (OK, it's not, but this article’s theme is ‘Time’ so just go with it.) What do smartphones, computers, and sarcastic microwaves have in common? They all tell time digitally. Time, always elusive, has become ephemeral. It’s 0’s and 1’s. It’s electrons. It's an idea.
Go back a few hundred years and time was analog. People determined time in physical, practical ways. Take a candle, mark it 12 times, and you have candlemarks - “The food will be ready in 2 candlemarks. I’ll be back from the forest in 6 candlemarks. I’ll be making candles for the next candlemark.''
Candles were a bright idea, but there was always the danger that they would go out. An even better idea was an hourglass. An elegantly simple way to monitor the passing of time. There is something hypnotic about the sand falling from the top to the bottom chamber, almost changing from one state of being into another.
Beyond simply measuring the time an hourglass challenges you, makes you question yourself. ‘’The sand will fall whatever I do, so how did I spend the time? Was it a good use of my time? Didn't that guy say he’d back from the forest in 6 candlemarks?’’
Don't get me wrong, digital time is convenient. I take my smartphone with me everywhere but I can’t take an hourglass to the gym (Mostly because they won’t let me bring it in. Any more.) The problem with digital time is that it can seem bigger than you. Alarms announce themselves and order you out of bed. Appointments show up unannounced in your online calendar. Digital time seems to rob you of power.
An hourglass gives you your power back. It takes something abstract and makes it concrete. Now you can hold time in the palm of your hands. You control what you do with it. You can set yourself goals and measure your progress towards them. An hourglass helps you understand something very important - you can do anything you want to do. You have time on your side.
Travel - Our Favourite Spots in Tokyo
Flaubert once said “Travel makes one modest” , and it surely feels like that when you are in Japan. Tokyo’s incredible energy will please all the creative travellers looking for beautiful interiors, innovative design, avant-garde architecture, traditional craft, the best of fashion,and of course food.
We wanted to share with you five spots to (absolutely) visit while you are in Tokyo. You can thank us later.
Our Favourite Shop
Located in a renovated factory in Shirokane, Our Favourite Shop is a little paradise for design lovers. Their very well curated selection features art, fashion, gourmet food, and interior design products by local talents only. The store was born from a collaboration between three leading lifestyle professionals, and became in few years a hub for artists and creative entrepreneurs. We particularly loved the minimal and contemporary pieces by KIKOF.
Yaeca Home Store
Seriously, can we live here? The team behind Yaeca Home Store had the brilliant idea to convert a two-storey residence into a home shop. When you enter, you are immediately welcomed with a cool brewed tea, and it’s just the beginning. You can go to the kitchen to enjoy a selection of freshly baked biscuits, walk around the living room to admire their incredible furniture and decorative object collection, climb upstair to have a look at their minimal fashion wardrobe . Half way between a home and a shop, Yaeca present their products in a similar way that you would like to see them in your house. Must go.
The coffee culture is strong in Japan, and you would miss out on a great experience if you don’t stop at Shozo for a cuppa. Located in Minamiaoyama few steps away from two other hip coffee shops (Café Kitsuné and Blue Bottle), Shozo is the cutest coffee spot we’ve been too. The little Japanese wooden hut is filled with amazing coffee and sweets that you can enjoy in their garden area. So charming that you might want to come back everyday.
Japan is known for being “stationery Mecca” to many stationery afficionado around the world, so how to resist a quick stop at the iconic Traveler’s Factory? Located in the busy Tokyo Station, the shop houses all the products that made the success of the brand alongside some special limited editions that you can only find there. If you can’t make it all the way to Japan this year, don’t worry we have your back! Simply make sure to check our Traveler’s Company collection on The Journal Shop, as you will definitely need a Traveler’s Notebook to record all your upcoming summer adventures.
Sakurai Japanese Tea Experience
Sakurai is the ultimate contemporary tea room. Designed by Shinichiro Ogata, this gorgeous interior featuring copper, stones, and dark timber is the perfect place to experience the Japanese tea culture with a modern twist. There are only a few seats available around the counter to taste some of their finest seasonal blends served with delicious Japanese delights, but believe us it worths the wait.
Cover pic: Credits http://www.the-dailys.com
Craft Ideas: Favourite Inspirational Stationery
together and it can even improve our physical and mental wellbeing.
Whether you join a workshop or use the comfort of your own home, are a beginner or passionate artist there are tons of inspirational craft ideas to guide you. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin when wanting to start a new project and there are so many materials to choose from!
That’s why at the Journal Shop we’ve put together a selection of craft ideas using stationery that will get you started. Have fun and release your inner creativity!
1. WASHI TAPE FRAMES FOR YOUR FAVOURITE PHOTOS
Washi tape needs no introduction, ever since it’s launch in 2006 it has become an international phenomenon being used by crafters and artists alike. There are countless ways to use it, it’s low low tack adhesive and large variety colours and patterns to choose from makes it so popular and easy to use.
So dust off your old photos, pick up a pair of scissors, a handful of making tape patterns (we have plenty to choose from) and start creating your own photo wall.
2. PERSONALISED SCRAPBOOKS FOR YOUR MEMORIES
In this digital age it is so easy to snap pictures to remember special moments in our life. But more often than not those pictures are left stored on our phones or computers or forgotten in a box somewhere.
Whether you just want to tell a story of your travel adventures, wedding, kids, inner thoughts - you name it – creating a scrapbook is a fun way to keep those memories safe in an attractive layout. With plenty of scrapbooking supplies out there for you to choose from, your scrapbook can easily become your favourite project yet.
3. CREATE UNIQUE EMBOSSED CARDS
With lots of revolutionary embossing machines on the market, embossing technique has never been easier. Beautifully decorated cards, wedding and party invitations end even napkins (I know, right?) can now be created at home, with just a few crafty essentials!
Feeling excited? Before you start browse our shop for these must have:
WASHI TAPE AND SCISSORS
- MT Masking Tape 1P Deco Shima Murasaki
- 2 Aimez Le Style Wide Washi Tape 'Mode'
- MT Masking Tape // 20 Pack of Solid Colours
- Hightide Penco Stainless Scissors
SCRAPBOOK AND ACCESSORIES
- Hightide Scrapbook Album
- Iconic Scrapbook v.2
- Iconic Diary Deco Pack v.7
- Midori Embosser Machine
- Hightide Penco Embossing Label Maker
The Top Five Mistakes You Wish You Could Erase
THE TOP FIVE MISTAKES YOU WISH YOU COULD ERASE.
We’ve all bin there,
We’ve all been there. You make your way through life hoping for the best, but sadly, sometimes you get it wrong. This could be a small wrong, like forgetting someone’s name at a party; or a big wrong like your entire summer wardrobe when you were 15. (Like, seriously, what was that?) Most of the time when we make a mistake we are left filled with regret, wishing there was a real life CTR+Z to take things back. But no matter how many times you delete those pictures on Facebook they still exist. And they exist somewhere out there, not just in your nightmares.
One glorious exception is with pencils and erasers. Do you remember being a tiny human in school, holding an over-large pencil in your hand, bravely tackling the daunting mountains of ‘What I did on my holidays’? Knowing that if you got something wrong you could erase it and start again? (Some people wonder why childhood is a glorious, carefree time. I don’t wonder, I know why.)
If only life was like stationery and our mistakes could be erased. Well, this very neatly segues us into the corporate goal of this article, which is to highlight our erasers. Based on some rigorous research and questioning of The Journal Shop customers which definitely happened, here are the Top Five Mistakes they wish they could erase:
1. THE HAIRCUT
You know it was a bad haircut when it starts with a definite article. It’s difficult to know what the hairdresser was going for. Maybe they were angry with you. Maybe it was their first day. Was it a cry for help? If so, the series of hats, scarves and head coverings that you wore religiously till it grew out, meant no one ever heard it.
If only you could have tidied up the haircut with the Metaphys Viss eraser:
2. THE TATTOO
In school, they told you not to get one. At work, people told you that you would regret it. Online, the pictures of terrible tattoos tried to tell you. But it was your body and you could do whatever wanted to it, damn it! Well now you share your body with a dying chicken. So, maybe they knew something you didn’t.
If only tattoos could come off as easily as pencil does when you use the Seed Super Gold eraser:
3. THE CREDIT CARD
I’m not so sure this one is actually your fault. I mean, you’re only human. How can you be expected to not spend free money? I mean, it’s money. That you can use to buy stuff. For free. OK, it ruined your credit and now you need a responsible adult to co-sign when you try to order a McDonald’s delivery. But still. Free money.
If only you could clean up your credit score as easily as the Faber Castell 2001 GRIP eraser cleans up mistakes:
4. THE EX
This one speaks for itself. Nothing more to say.
Only, if there is someone out there for everyone, some special soul that is the missing piece to your jigsaw, the peanut butter to your jam, the moon to your stars, then in our binary world it follows that there is someone out there who is the opposite.
The jagged edge that crushes your jigsaw piece, the anaphylactic shock to your system, the black hole that traps your stars and crushes them into an empty frozen void. And you might meet them in an ‘All Bar One’ in Clapham. Just saying.
Sadly, the excellent film ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ is not a documentary, and you cannot remove the memory of your ex as easily as the Milan 'Gigante' 403 eraser does its job:
5. THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY
No, not an awful episode of ‘Friends’. (You know, like all of them. #Friendsburn) We all have someone that we met and had an instant connection with. A person that for some reason just seemed special, like they knew something about life that made them glow from the inside. And… they seemed to like us! Now all we had to do was say something, do something, make some small sign to let them know that we felt the same way. And then maybe something could happen.
But instead we said nothing, did nothing and gave no sign that we felt that way. Why? Lots of reasons, some good, some bad. The point is, we let the chance slip away. Now we compare each new person we meet with the memory of what could have been. It’s not so bad really. I mean, it’s probably better this way. Probably.
If only you could get rid of regret as simply as the Metaphys Gum eraser magics away errors:
Shakespeare, Bob Dylan, J.K. Rowling, Someone once said we learn more from our mistakes than our successes. Rather than feeling remorse about them, we should see mistakes as opportunities to learn, grow and become better and wiser people. Which feels right, and is worth reflecting on.
The same oracle probably also said that it’s best to correct stationery mistakes with the finest erasers available online. And who are we to argue with that?
The Art of Sketching: Top 5 Places to Sketch in London
Sketching is a great hobby for lots of different reasons: it's fun, creative, relaxing, it helps you bring out the best ideas, and – last but not least – it gives you an excuse to use your favourite stationery (not that you need one).
Of course, all creative activities require inspiration. Most artists will agree that finding the right environment to be artistic produces the best and most inspired work.
Whether it's a world-famous museum or one of the city's best kept secrets, London's streets are filled with great, stimulating places to get your creative juices flowing.
We have listed our top 5 places in London to get some headspace and fill your sketchbook with your best drawings, ideas, whatever is on your mind.
THE BRITISH MUSEUM
The British Museum needs no introduction. Browse through thousands of beautiful objects and sculptures from all over the world while immersed in history and surrounded by stunning architecture. Pick your favourite object, grab a stool, get your pad and pencil out and let your creativity unfold.
If you're looking for a colorful and exciting place to portray in your drawings, you may want to go for a walk in Borough Market. Easily the busiest and most renowned food market in London, Borough Market has more than 100 stalls filled with a huge variety of foods. Draw inspiration from the people, colours, scents and vibe of this unique London spot.
SERPENTINE BAR & KITCHEN, HYDE PARK
Image courtesy of theroyalparks.org.uk
Few cafes in London have a better view than the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen overlooking Hyde Park. If you prefer a chilled place to relax, sip a cup of coffee and get drawing, this might be the perfect place. Grab a table outside and enjoy the gorgeous view.
The Pergola is a true hidden gem located in Hampstead Heath. A charming terrace surrounded by gorgeous gardens, this is the perfect place not only to walk around and clear your head, but also to relax and get creative; the nostalgic vibe, beautiful surroundings and views over the Heath are guaranteed to inspire you.
TATE MODERN CAFE, LEVEL 6
Go to Tate Modern, take the lift up to level 6, sit down, relax, and let this stunning view of the riverside and St Paul’s Cathedral work its magic. And if you get tired of the London cityscape, you’re just a few steps away from Tate’s gorgeous galleries.
Feeling inspired yet? Good. Now before you get drawing, make sure you have all the beautiful and functional stationery you need for your next masterpiece.
BROWSE THE JOURNAL SHOP’S TOP STATIONERY PICKS FOR SKETCHING
- TOMOE RIVER PAPER PAD | A4
- FIELD NOTES SIGNATURE NOTEBOOK - PLAIN 2-PACK
- LIFE PLAIN REPORT PAD // B5
- MD NOTEBOOK - A5, PLAIN PAPER
- TRAVELER'S COMPANY SPIRAL RING NOTEBOOK B6 - WATERCOLOUR
- BLACKWING PENCIL (BOX OF 12)
- 22 DESIGN CONTOUR SKETCH PENCIL
- HMM PENCIL BLACK
- TRAVELER'S COMPANY BRASS PENCIL
- YSTUDIO BRASS SKETCHING PENCIL
OTHER USEFUL STATIONERY ITEMS FOR SKETCHING:
- MILAN CAPSULE SHARPENER + ERASER COPPER
- BLACKWING LONG POINT PENCIL SHARPENER // WHITE
- MILAN NATA ERASER 7024
What Is Kawaii?
Originally a national trend from Japan, the concept of “Kawaii” has become a globally recognised movement. It spans many different areas and styles of the Western world, for example, the popularisation of big round letters illustrated with “cute” symbols such as hearts and stars, which makes it more popular than we first thought.
Famous Manga comics, such as Death Note, Vampire Knight and Attack on Titan, can be found easily in bookshops everywhere. Japanese fashion looks inspire Western fashion; with the bright colours and bold patterns from Harajuku fashions and pastel colours and childlike-innocence from Lolita fashion. Video and trading card games are also affected with the kawaii craze - hardly surprising as Nintendo is a Japanese company. Pokémon Go!, the augmented reality smartphone app which has world wide success, is obviously included in the Kawaii hype.
So, the Kawaii trend has, in one sense, taken over the West, but what exactly does it mean?
WHAT DOES “KAWAII” MEAN?
“Kawaii” is best translated into “cuteness” and is a type of Japanese culture from the late 20th Century. In the 1970s, teenage girls started to create thinner and rounder handwriting, often embellished with cartoons, in order to make it more “childlike”. Many school banned this type of writing, but it was soon picked up by advertisers who used that style in their campaigns to attract a younger audience. Now, it is recognised everywhere thanks to the export of Japanese literature and media. The most famous example of this is Hello Kitty, who is the official tourism ambassador for Japan. Other examples include Pikachu, from Pokémon and Kirby, a Nintendo video game character. Many “kawaii characters” follow the same design model; they are small and fluffy cartoons with heads bigger than their bodies, minimal facial features and big round eyes - suggesting a quality of shyness and lovability.
Government offices in Japan, such as their police force, and also prefectures employ a Kawaii character as their mascot. They reflect both the local and national culture, and help increase tourism to the area. The emojis that we often use on our social media accounts can also be viewed as an upswing of the Kawaii culture rendering itself in different cultures globally. While many Western emojis don’t always flaunt big round eyes and minimal features, the idea of communicating with “cute”, bright and childlike cartoons can be rooted to the Kawaii culture, which has taken over the world!
The Journal Shop have introduced their own range of Kawaii Stationery, which include paper clips, magnets and flash cards all in a kawaii style that promise to make learning more creative and fun! Kawaii iterations of both real and fictional animals and other character designs in bright colours and simple outlines for an adorable desk set. Cute as they are, these products boast of being practical! The need for cute cartoons doesn’t just stop at the aesthetic sense. The products by The Journal Shop make doing homework or paperwork a lot more visibly appealing; as according to research conducted at the University of Hiroshima, candidates that were exposed to cute images of animals increased their productivity in certain fields.
In their new range, The Journal Shop have incorporated many other popular designs from Japan as well, such as cats, dogs and alpacas. Cats are considered lucky in Japan, and many businesses have a “beckoning cat” - also known as a Maneki Neko - to bring in money to their store. With a range of cat (neko) products, it will likely prove true for The Journal Shop, too!
Despite cats being the number one pet in Japan, dogs are still loved by many. Due to the limited amount of space, Japan’s dog owners tend to go for smaller breeds to love. Shiba Inus originated from Japan and still remains one of the more popular breeds. Other famous breeds are the toy poodle and the dachshund, both originating from Germany, mainly because of their small size. The Journal Shop has all three breeds as dog-style paper clips in their Kawaii Collection, and they’re just as adorable as the real things!
Other designs include non-sentient (but still cute!) things, such as strawberries (ichigo) and robots (robotto)!
Shop: Kawaii Stationery
Using these stationery items may be more beneficial than you first thought. Studies and scholars have suggested that the images and silhouettes of fluffy cartoons might root from a desire to use colour and ‘cuteness’ as a neutraliser against the stress of the world and everyday life. The bright colours of Kawaii are also an ideal counterweight to the dull and monotonous neutrals of the corporate realm - like an office. The innocent, cute and lovable emotions evoked by Kawaii perfectly cancel out the negative emotions induced through personal and profession distress many face in the real world. In a volatile society, where technology is forever changing and developing, the innocence of Kawaii characters also reminds people of a simpler and more organic time.
Indeed, kawaii culture has become a global sensation very quickly since its inception. It is a culture that takes people away from their everyday burdens and pressures, almost like a rebellion against the “Adult” world we must inevitably become part of. However, the Kawaii range from The Journal Shop, with its cute memo pads and magnets, means we don’t have to look at boring old stationery again! Long live the Kawaii Culture!
SHOP: KAWAII STATIONERY
Rollerball vs Ballpoint Pens
Whether it’s a shopping list, memo to your partner or writing your Magnum Opus, we use pens a lot in everyday life. However, we never give much thought to the writing instruments we own. At The Journal Shop, you could say we know a bit about stationery, so we’re giving you the facts and science about these pens so you can make your choice which to go for.
WHAT IS A BALLPOINT?
Originally, ballpoint pens were patented in 1888 by John J. Loud. they could write on coarse surfaces, such as wood and leather, unlike the more common fountain pens. On the other hand, they proved too rough for letter writing. 50 years later, a Hungarian newspaper editor, László Bíró, worked with his brother György, a chemist, to develop a new viscous ink for the ball point pens and filed a British patent in 1938.
A ball point is a pen that dispenses ink over a metal ball at its point, hence the name. It is the world’s most used writing instrument and is available in both refillable and disposable versions, like the Faber-Castell Grip 2020 Ballpoint pens from The Journal Shop.
Shop: Faber-Castell Grip 2020 Ballpoint pens
WHAT IS A ROLLERBALL?
Rollerball pens were introduced in 1963 by the Japanese company, Ohto. They use liquid ink or gel ink for a smoother writing experience, rather than the viscous ink used in ballpoints. The liquid ink mimics the ink and ink supply system of an fountain pen, but with the ease of use of a ballpoint pen.
The line produced by a rollerball pen is thick and vivid, due to the ink type. Gel inks have a greater range of colours and styles because of the bigger choice of water-soluble dyes and the capacity to allow heavier pigments, such as glitter. The Journal Shop have a fantastic selection of rollerball pens, like the Sakura Gelly Roll Stardust Pen (pictured below).
Shop: Sakura Gelly Roll Stardust Pen
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BALLPOINTS AND ROLLERBALLS
Ballpoint pen dry instantly on paper, but can feel “scratchy” to use and produce a thin and less vivid line when writing. Rollerballs, due to the excess amount of ink it produces, is much smoother on paper, but it can smudge since there is more ink on the paper. This pen also runs out of ink faster than a ballpoint, which is more economical to buy.
Since ballpoints use more viscous, oil based inks, whatever you write when using it can be manipulated or altered with the use of solvents. Having said that, using a rollerball pen to write over correctional fluid that has not fully dried can clog/jam the pen, rendering it useless.
Rollerballs are not good for the absent-minded, as if left uncapped, it can leak in your pocket and dry out. Ballpoints rarely have this problem, as the ink is thicker and so can’t get past the ball in the nib as easily.
ROLLERBALL OR BALLPOINT
For left-handed people or those who use right to left script, a ballpoint is the better option because it dries instantly. In order to write no matter the angle, the Fisher Space ballpoint pen can write upside since it uses pressure to push the ink to the nib. Since ballpoints are mass-produced quite cheaply, replacing your pen is quite cost-effective.
For the ones writing letters, invitations, or scrapbooking, a rollerball would be ideal as the thicker and more vivid line will “pop” more than the classic ballpoint viscous ink. The smoother glide of the rollerball also means you can write more clearly and less pressure is required to write, so is also a great option for those who experience hand cramp easily.
So, which do you think? Would you prefer to glide like the Rollerball or stay classic with the Ballpoint? Whichever you choose, The Journal Shop have an amazing and wide range of both Rollerball pens and Ballpoint pens. Try out our guest brands, like Schneider or Pilot, and their products at our competitive prices. The Journal Shop is the best place for stationery in the UK, so explore why today!
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