An Ode to Pen and Paper

By 16th January 2017Agency Life, Creativity, Culture

For a digital agency, we go through a lot of paper.

There is just something about physically writing ideas down, about mapping out your customer’s digital journey, printing it out, pasting it to the wall, and scribbling all over it. We are diehard advocates of taking the intangible and embracing the physicality of it before sending it back out into the digital stratosphere.


– It encourages collaboration and buy-in. When you are just passing a design or email back and forth, it’s easy to remain impartial, discount your ideas, or not push the concept as far as it might go otherwise.

– It promotes critical thinking and team building. You are brainstorming individually and as a team; as an individual you are forcing your brain to organise itself, and in a team you are playing off one another’s ideas, not to mention literally seeing your work in a different light.

– It provides a platform for the client to compare and contrast drafts of a project. While what we are designing is ultimately destined to remain on desktop computers and mobiles (and as such they should be prioritised), by taking different designs and allowing clients to see them side by side, to colour and cross out, or mashup their favourite elements of various concepts.

– It gives you a timeline as well as a checklist. Organisers rejoice! You can map user journeys, you can paste sticky notes all over to mark what still needs to be covered, you can organise, colour-code, underline and highlight.

Sometimes it is the things which are the most simple that are overlooked. Simplicity in the creativity process does not mean that it’s necessarily basic or uninvolved. I don’t think we will really get to a point where we are ‘beyond’ doodling, brainstorming, or putting pen to paper. Despite the similarities, a blank screen will never draw the same thrill (see what I did there!), or achieve the same results, as a blank piece of paper.