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The “battle” between keyboards and pens – the impact on promotional products … and on your brand 

Towards the end of last year we wrote an article entitled “The pen is mightier than the sword”, discussing the relevance of the pen in this digital age and its predicted demise (along with the unsupporting fact that fountain pen sales are on the increase!)  Whatever your views on the matter – and there is no doubt that we’re all using pens less and keyboards more – the pen is surely here to stay …

It’s thought that writing, as we currently understand it, was “invented” (or discovered?) in Mesopotamia around 4,000 BC.  Since then there have been numerous technological upheavals: Sumerian tablets; the Phoenician alphabet; the invention of paper; the first codex with handwritten sheets bound together to form a book; the invention of printing; the arrival of ballpoint pens in the 1940’s …

Is it really a battle, or simply an evolutionary dynamic?

Survival of the fittest? 

Having touched on evolution, do we need to ask the question whether the pen is more or less adapted for survival than the keyboard, or are they non-competing technologies fulfilling different functions?

What is interesting is that writing experts believe that handwriting and typing use very different cognitive processes. Roland Jouvent, head of adult psychiatry at Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris, says that “Handwriting is the result of a singular movement of the body, typing is not.” Edouard Gentaz, professor of developmental psychology at the University of Geneva, agrees. “Handwriting is a complex task which requires various skills – feeling the pen and paper, moving the writing implement, and directing movement by thought … Children take several years to master this precise motor exercise: you need to hold the scripting tool firmly while moving it in such a way as to leave a different mark for each letter.”

Here’s a thought-provoking view from Anne Trubek, associate professor of rhetoric and composition at Oberlin College in Ohio: “What we want from writing – and what the Sumerians wanted – is cognitive automaticity, the ability to think as fast as possible, freed as much as can be from the strictures of whichever technology we must use to record our thoughts … This is what typing does for millions. It allows us to go faster, not because we want everything faster in our hyped-up age, but for the opposite reason: we want more time to think.”

But many neuroscientists are not so sure. They think that giving up handwriting will affect how future generations learn to read. “Drawing each letter by hand substantially improves subsequent recognition,” Gentaz explains.

Although learning to write by hand does seem to play a very important role in learning to read, is the quality of the writing impacted by the tool that we use?  Well, that’s beyond the remit 0f this article, but one thing’s for sure – the world would be a poorer place if all of Charles Dickens’s handwritten margin notes and corrections and plot plans were lost to us (as they would have been if he’d used a word processor).

And so to the pen as a promotional product!

Whatever our views on this interesting debate, and however often we use keyboards, the pen is a highly effective promotional product simply because we all use them all the time, probably have several, and usually have one with us at all times.  How much more effective can it get?

We supply a huge range of pens from simple non-retractable ball-pens to luxury pen sets, ecopens and metal pens which are ideal for engraving.  And let’s not forget products like highlighterspencils & pencil cases.

Check out our wonderful range

To learn more please click here to examine our wonderful range, here to see some videos, here to learn more about many of the other brilliant promotional products that we have, or here for our home page.  Or call us any time on 020 8391 3001

and as always we’ll be absolutely delighted to help you.