Friday, June 8, 2012
Writing recently with a Lamy Swift Rollerball Pen, something occurred to me which has occurred to all of us many times in the past but which I nevertheless feel is worth especial mention every now and then: It's the little things that count!
The little thing in this instance was the cleverly designed clip of the Lamy Swift. You can click through to read our Lamy Swift review and if you do so, you'll read some relatively unrestrained praise of a beautiful rollerball pen. Yet for all of its sumptuous aesthetic, weighty feel, perfect balance and lovely, bold ink formula, the thing that gets me going back to this pen is that clip. It's simple enough, right? The clip hides itself inside the body of the pen, like a petrified turtle, when you're writing. Why? So you can't clip it to your pocket with an exposed tip!
I love this. It means you don't get ink on your clothes or inside your bag and it means you don't run the risk of the tip drying out. But more than those practical benefits, i love the idea that designer Wolfgang Fabian took the time to be so gosh-darn considerate about things! I've never met Wolfgang, but i'm sure he's the kind of guy who still gets out of his car in a hurry to rush around and open the passenger door for his wife...of course he doesn't have to, but that's the thing with attention to detail, it leaves perfunctoriness in its wake!
Now let's say you don't design pens and maybe you're single...don't despair! There are still plenty of ways to exercise attention to detail and today I have my eye on one. Paperclips! That's right, paperclips! I remember receiving a card from a friend and fellow pen enthusiast a while ago and the reason i remember it is not that it was written with a Parker 51 using a personal, self-made blend of ink, but that there was a small note attached with the coolest paper clip i'd ever seen. I wrote back, seemingly, I'm sure, indifferent to any personal communication, just desperate to learn more about that paperclip!
This is what i mean about going beyond a perfunctory action and this is why whizbang technology actually isn't all that impressive...it's already whizbang! It can only ever be whizbang! What the heck even is whizbang?!
But humble things done well, now that is impressive. Where you have a choice between something thoughtful and an expression of disinterest and you make the right choice, now that is cool! That old cliche that somebody can only prove themselves to be trustworthy when given the opportunity to deceive applies to thoughtfulness too and we all get that chance, everyday pretty much, with things like clips, pins, notes and the format we choose for our dispatches.
But a cool paperclip will do more for you than simple brownie points. Let's consider the following scenario. A man in a grey suit, in a grey office, affixes a conventional wire paperclip to a document (probably a FINAL WARNING MUST PAY! notice) and hands it to his colleague, similarly attired, who proceeds to file the document by muscle memory, without so much as a hello, thanks or 'What time's lunch?'
Now what if, and call me crazy, Mr Grey was to hold his documents together, not with a paperclip, but with a Fermagli Gigante!? Let's make it a pink one. Mr Filer would almost certainly put down his ENTERED stamp and ask 'Mr Grey, where is this from?' Mr Grey would say 'Oh, it's just a fermagli gigante...i have hundreds of them on my desk in a little Barrotollo...help yourself!'
Try it! Be as stereotypically Luigi as you can and say Barrotollo di Fermagli Gigante! You're smiling, aren't you? Your neighbour, he's smiling too, right? Maybe giggling. With the release of endorphins that comes from such rewarding contact, such aesthetic pleasures, productivity can only go up! If we were to return to Final Notice Inc. in a fortnight, I'm sure that red ink would be substituted for the happy black of financial viability! Mr Grey and Mr Filer enjoying a daily espresso and brainstorming a new paradigm for their industry!
And if not, if maybe it takes more than a paperclip and a fortnight to build a business empire from the brink of bankruptcy, well at least there would have been a ray of sunshine piercing through the hazy grey of a workplace shrouded in the overcast conditions of its own perfunctoriness. And if you're Mr Grey, then at least you can say 'Not me! I'm actually paying attention to the details!'