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?


Please click on the blog post title to comment.

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.