Colour psychology in your work space

Colour Psychology – Colour travels as a light and is eventually perceived by our eyes and reaches our brain

Colour Psychology is based on the study of hues as the influencer of human behaviour. Colours influence the perceptions of a person and indeed the person, but the influence depends on the person. You would think the age, gender, or culture would impact the effect seen nevertheless the theory and studies suggest the contrary.

Angela Wright, the academician who formulated Colour Affects System, suggests that “colour psychology” is different from “colour symbolism”. She gives the example of green, the sacred colour throughout Islam, is considered lucky in Ireland, perhaps also related to the colour of four-leaved clover also considered lucky across many other cultures. Pink is another example of colour symbolism, referring to a girly look in baby products, or a princess look in our minds potentially just because of Disney…

Colour travels as a light and is eventually perceived by our eyes; through our retina, it then reaches the centre of our brain responsible also for releasing hormones, hence the effect of colours on our modes. The colour theory says, however, the reaction of your brain will all depend on what type of person you are and the composition of colours rather than just the colour by itself.

Colour also carries energy based on yogic traditions. In this Eastern spiritual view, colours are used to define chakras, the energy centres of our body allowing the flow of energy between conscious and unconscious state. For instance Yellow is the colour of your 3rd chakra just above your belly button; yellow is optimistic, the colour of youth, the colour of new beginnings, confidence and friendliness (Click here to read more about chakra colours).

Angela Wright, a world expert on the unconscious effects of colour, recognised also that there are no wrong colours; it is the combination of colours that triggers the response in the person. In contrast to the traditional belief which says what’s called “warm’ colours are stimulating and “cool” colours are soothing, Wright defends that the effect of the colour would vary depending on its shade and the person looking at it. The factors which determine how a colour scheme is perceived include the relationships among the exact tones in the scheme (harmony) and the state-of-mind of the observer.

You can use a colour scheme to make your workspace your own and impact your state of mind.

Could we apply these views to colour effects to boost our “entrepreneurial” traits in our new venture? What is your tendency as a way of working in your new venture what would you like to boost the most in yourself?

The E-Factor: The 10 Traits of Successful Creative Entrepreneurs identifies traits like Driven, Ingenuity, Confidence, Leanness. The Entrepreneur handbook brings Persistence, Adaptability, Curiosity, and others Cooperation, Playfulness, Relationship Building. Energetic, Instinctive, Passionate, Disruptive are the traits identified by Guy Rigby (Head of entrepreneurial services at Smith & Williamson).

What are the little things we can do to feed your entrepreneurial traits in our working space? It is known that many companies use colour in their office design to boost certain feelings and behaviour amongst their employees and increase their productivity.  This cannot be said, however, for their choice of stationery products as it’s often off-the-shelf and cost driven selections.

Colours are used to influence the mode of employees in workspaces

You may not need or be able to change all wall colours and furniture to have such effect in your own workspace or your home office but you can use colours’ influence on your desk with your selection of stationery and desk accessories to complement the composition.

Let us know how the colour compositions below would make you feel if used in your workspace. Have you got suggestions of colour compositions to create special effects on your entrepreneurial state of mind?

You can further read The Beginner’s Guide to Colour Psychology by Angela Wright. Click image to check out.

Fonts Matter!

Do you have any preferences when it comes to fonts in your electronic correspondence, or in the documents you write? Do you just follow the pre-settings?

Our choice of font is usually limited by the branding or corporate rules at work, the technology we use, the digital platform we exchange on etc. Being limited in our choice of font is unfortunate, especially because we now rarely use our handwriting to show our personality and style.

But are we really limited, or do we have too much choice? A typeface may never quite be able to replicate the intimacy of pen and ink but with an estimated 200,000 fonts to choose from today, there is no shortage of different styles to choose from (BBC Magazine: Do typefaces really matter?). There is life beyond Comic Sans!

How to choose the right font for your correspondence in your new venture?

A new venture is an opportunity for you to express your own style and your company’s charm and appeal. We would think of 4 preliminary questions:

  1. Who is my audience?
  2. What emotions would I like to convey to them?
  3. Is that in line with my business and own-brand identity?
  4. Is that readable in all electronic communication format and platforms?

Design Letters have leveraged the power of fonts in their stationery design. They have adopted Arne Jacobsen’s hand-drawn typography from 1937. They have turned Arne Jacobsen typography into daily stationery products. To me, it conveys a cool, professional, fun as well as creative and arty feeling; a nice way of linking typography to our daily physical lives.


We first spotted them at Paperworld in Frankfurt this year, and are now very happy to see Selfridges selling some of their products. Our favourite is the “Actions” book, which we find very functional and cool to use in our professional as well personal life.

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You have the opportunity to bring fun, serious, contemporary, nostalgic, and many more emotions while writing your emails, writing your daily plan, your recipes, your diary, or even just small notes to yourself not only on the screen but on your paper stationery as well.

We would love to hear about your favourite font – how does it make you feel?


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What’s special about stationery in Spain?

IMG_8412You may think of why you would go to a stationery shop in the land of beaches but think of rainy surprises…! And you might find unique designs.

IMG_8406In a short visit to the Ale-Hop store in Motril, you can see the bright colours, relaxed imagery of the south of Spain in their stationery stand. Fun and inspirational quotes combined with good quality notebook binding and paper.

IMG_8405All the products are very well priced – €3 for a notebook, which you can contrast with the price of something similar in an English high street or department store – and with lots of variation in colour.

IMG_8404The product range appeals to youngsters and young feeling stationery users, and certainly provides a good spot for unusual souvenirs and gifts.

Have you seen any eye-catching spanish designs in stationery you’d like to share?


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Don’t you miss your stationery cupboard?

“Two things I miss the most from my corporate job, IT department and stationery cupboard” said Alison Jones, publishing guru and business coach, in her speech at ‘Turn Your Passion into Pounds’ panel discussion organised by Business & IP Centre in London.

Why do people miss the most IT department and the stationery cupboard when they leave the corporate world and strike out on their own? Lots of reasons, but mainly because the supply of both is free and limitless!

So what does an entrepreneur do? For technical support, they turn to friends, relatives, even neighbours, and if they must, the equipment manufacturer’s helpdesk. But for stationery, they can’t rely on charity. Where does a start-up business find high-quality, inspirational and stationery on-demand?

We know that office supplies including stationery is only of the top three expense items for small businesses who don’t have the scale of larger organisations. And small businesses cannot usually afford to lock up thousands in working capital to have their own stationery cupboard.

You have in theory three options to reduce the burden on cash:

1) Reduce the quality

Beyaz Defter

This will give you slim pads and notebooks made of thin paper with fragile binding and limited print options, low-cost disposable ballpoint pens with very limited shelf life, and staples that cannot be used for more than a few sheets of paper.

2) Just-in-time delivery

Drone stationery delivery

Is the time when drones deliver stationery to your door that far?  You would avoid the working capital drain with just-in time delivery and only buy stationery when you need it. You may pay more for each item, but the leakage of cash and cupboard content will be lower and the quality could be improved. The number of small businesses in Britain is 5.4 million, over 99% of all businesses, which is an all-time high; will Uber or Amazon start delivering stationery on demand to fill the void?

3) Scaled buying

Buying from an intermediary with bulk discounts and a micro-delivery service could give you the best of both worlds – no working capital lock-up, and inspiring, high-quality stationery that reflect your business’ commitment to quality, supplied as soon as you need it.  Would this get you the stationery you’d love and be proud to use in your home office and have the power to purchase that “cool” range?

We’ll look at this and your stationery cupboard in more detail in coming posts. But in the meantime, as a small-business owner, tell us what would work for you!

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Our latest finding: Wooden Desktop Organiser for a simple and affordable option to store your most used stationery. Click image below to check out the price.

How much to spend on stationery as a small business?

“Small business” doesn’t really mean its expenditure is small.  Unsurprisingly, this is linked to your business size. A small business is likely to lack the scale.

If you are running a start-up, you’ll recognise the challenge of controlling your costs having not yet established any revenue or customers.  It is at that early stage you need to keep a grip of all your spending.  Besides the cost of space, furniture, utilities, technology etc one hidden cost you will have is your office supplies and that will take a considerable part off of your revenue if overlooked.

However you would like to focus on key strategic activities instead of low-level tasks for your own business.  But small businesses already signals that they spend more time buying stationery than doing marketing as shown in Pitney Bowes‘ research.

Employees working from home also spend also extra for their home office. You may be able to get this reimbursed as long as it is in line with your company’s procurement and HR policy.  More and more corporates support working from home and it’s not only to offer a work life balance to their employees but also save costs, on their rent as well as office consumables including stationery. Ask for company policy, and whether you can get the same deals from your company’s supplier of stationery if you have an arrangement to work from home.

What is the amount we are talking about for a small business?  In the UK, a small business spend on average £870 per year on stationery.  An office with 1-4 people can spend up to 84% more than an office with 40 employees, efficiency is only achieved by scale suggests.  However there are still things to do until you get that scale!

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5 top tips for a good practice on controlling your stationery cost in your home office:

  1. Estimate ahead what you are likely to use based on the size and type of your business
  2. Define what value you need from your stationery and create a shopping list of planned purchase, avoid impulse purchase
  3. Look for deals and bulk purchases online, thinking of going directly also to suppliers. A survey run by Axa Business Insurance shows that over a quarter of small businesses in the UK don’t receive discounts from their suppliers.  Why not?  Ask also if your local store of office supplies has deals for repeat purchase.
  4. Visually control your stationery stock, even if a small drawer, create a space for them and keep an eye on.
  5. Make sure you get the value you need from the products, i.e. feedback your supplier and move to another if your expectations are not met.  Your cost of change is much less than your supplier’s cost of losing you in their crowded industry.

There are lots of deals and stores who will fulfil demand for commodity office supplies.  However if you describe the value of these products differently and looking for designs that inspire, motivate, instil pride and signal quality in your new venture, you will usually be asked for a lot more money.

Without considering the premium  brands such as Moleskine or Smythson, or inexpensive notebooks sold by grocery retailers,  the price difference could get to twice as muchen in the middle range:

200 Pages Pukka Pad £2.99 (Staples) versus No Probllama A4 slim ruled notebook £6.00 (Paperchase)
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Brass paper clip £9.00 (Smug) versus Nicket paper clips £3.49 (Staples).


Working from home or starting your own business can be solitary, messy, laced with doubt and your selection of stationery should not be an extra burden.  However make sure your home office supplies still inspire you, motivate you, and bring a touch to your day at home office. Be proud of your stationery you use!

Let us know if you have any recommendation for inspirational and good quality stationery at an affordable price you have found for your own business.  Please enter your thoughts below in the comment box.

Our suggestion for a practical and professional notebook for your meetings is Rhodia Active Meeting notebook.  We have found it helps gathering your notes, draw out actions and organise by topic or date. Easy to write on with smooth look and feel. Click the image below to check online:

Starting up…

Frankfurt Messe – Paperworld 2017 – We thought this would be the right address to start our search for products that could be different from what we see day-to-day, something that would excite the starters of any new ad-ventures.

The very first desk of ideas shows us the key three actions for our business venture: Remember, Do, and Cash 🙂

and a reminder of an office indulgence, chocolate. Doesn’t it taste better at work!

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Coloured, eclectic, flowery patterns are still in the range of many companies but more subtle, natural colours, materials, and looks captured our attention too.  Probably our desk is the only place to express our style and our feelings while working. But how do we want to feel at our desk?

So many people complain about their work and so few would be bold enough to say it that loud in the office! But we like it, no need to hide the truth…:)

In most offices, we use the boring stationery provided by the company, unless we pay ourselves. Is it the same in all workplaces?

Here is a very strong colour statement!.. The display says we are the colour authority.  One could say this looks like a paint department in a home improvement store. For how many of us is colour the first criteria we chose our notebook based upon?

And of course quotes!  There are so many used in stationery: motivational, inspirational, related mindfulness, philosophical, witty, funny, and the list goes on.  They make the notepads look like greeting cards.  However, we must admit they are a good little reminder when it comes to those low moments for some of us… What would lift our spirits if we read it on the cover of a notebook?

So yes, our search has raised more questions than answers… Please let us know your thoughts below.