Ironically, passionate defences of handwriting’s emotional qualities remain popular online. Perhaps it comes a kind of nostalgia. Handwriting is certainly more cerebral than typing – there are many studies describing how information, when noted by hand, stays in your mind more deeply and effectively than a keyboard transcription. But in an era where the typed word disappears so quickly into nothingness, either from a backspace or under a heap of other words, handwriting emerges as a silvery link between mind and body; a shot at giving thought permanence.
MD Pencils are smooth and reliable, especially on an MD Paper notebook
Handwriting is a neurologically complex process. It’s what makes it effective for note-taking – different parts of your brain all light up at once. But like mathematics or architecture, it’s such an everyday part of life that we sometimes forget how miraculous the whole process is. The smallest note is full of delicate manoeuvres. Consider the following phrase, written in cursive:
The sharp up-and-down of a capital D gives way to a soft curve; the doubling loops in a double-f; the Black Diamond peaks of w run straight into the salubrious a. It’s a physical and mental workout.
Like a runner needs a good pair of shoes, it’s essential that you find the right tool to jot down a line or two when needed. Everyone has their own preferences, but a little experimentation never goes amiss either. Do you prefer a pen body to be light, so it flies across the page? Or a heavy body, something with gravitas? There’s also the matter of ink: its colour, flow and application. Most importantly, you must consider how comfortably a pen fits in your hand. Could you hold it all day long?
We’ve been building a small collection for our own curiosity’s sake. We’re obsessed with the silky expertise of the 849, by Swiss artisans Caran d’Ache; the formalist experiments of Taiwanese design house Ystudio; and how the city of Heidelberg fielded both the crystaline precision of Kaweco's and the considered ergonomics of LAMY.