14 responses to “USE A PEN”

  1. dave trott says:

    At BMP, half the writers came from university and half from art school.
    You could always tell which was which just by looking at their desks.
    The university writers had pens or pencils, the art school writers had typewriters.
    Why was that?
    Because the art school writers were visual people.
    They wanted to see what the body-copy looked like, where the line-breaks and indents went.
    While the university writers weren’t visual, so they were just hearing the beauty of the words.
    They didn’t care what the copy looked like.

  2. dave dye says:

    I presume you were a pen guy Dave?
    Ever switch to a typewriter?
    Did it make a difference?

    • dave trott says:

      Nope, I went to art school so I used a typewriter.
      I wanted my copy to look like Helmut Krone’s VW ads.
      I only became a writer because I was a crap art director.

  3. dave dye says:

    Sorry, I meant typewriter, so did you type out your copy in column lengths? i.e. 6 or 7 words, not the length of the paper. (Abbott and Richard Foster used to.)

    • dave trott says:

      No, I wasn’t a craftsman, like them, more of a DIY writer.

      • Mark Reddick says:

        Love this, Dave. I too love nothing more than sitting down with a writer, noodling out thoughts with a pen. Doodles, thumbnails, a scamped up key visual…
        Today, I often see young/mid-level creatives being briefed and they’re already looking for reference online in the meeting. It’s as if the solutions must be underway and approved before everyone’s left the room. And/or they’re given a list of links as ‘starting points’, so I invariably, the starting point for much work is the big G. No wonder so much work is the same and ignored, yet applauded
        A similar challenge and pressure that creatives find themselves under, is nailing ‘the hashtag’. it’s like the chicken and egg; do ideas start with one or come somewhat later, only to find it’s out there already. It’s a pain and can stop pure ideas from forming.
        I applaud you and other agency creatives that use and promote the power of the pen on a blank page.

      • dave dye says:

        Yeah, agree, I use reference a lot, but I don’t start with it, it’s more at the end – executing something. But…that’s me, I’m not saying everyone should do it. People should work how they feel best. But if they’ve never tried just sitting down with a pen and paper – it may be worth giving it a go. Dx

  4. Robin. says:

    The time it takes to Mac up a rough idea, you could Pentel up 5 or 6 roughs on paper.
    Plus on paper, you can see the progression. The scrawling out, the ^ to add in words. On a computer (my boss said writers should use windows to save money on computers), once you backspace, it’s gone.
    My friends and I used to write out headlines in magic markers, the ink aroma induced higher thinking. And copy written with a Pilot or uniball produced a nice scratchy sound.
    Think Abbott was strictly a pen man? Blue Artline, I think.

  5. Mick G says:

    Drives me bonkers that art directors can’t use pens to scamp things up.

    When they ask why they should learn such an outdated skill, I say…

    “Jump on the Mac and do me a layout of a man standing next to a car in his drive”.

    I grab a piece of photocopy paper (do layout pads still exist?) and scamp out the layout in about 1 minute.

    The art director hasn’t even started.

    “That’s why you need to learn how to scamp”.

    • dave dye says:

      I’m not anti Mac, I love my Mac, but for the thinking bit it might be a distraction. Dx

  6. Paul White says:

    Myers Briggs wise I was in the E camp. I’d wander off and come back with a solution
    and a cup of coffee.

    Trevor would sit and stare at a page until a solution appeared
    along with an occasional headache.

    The best ones came effortlessly when we were chatting.

    Ah, then the agency went open-plan.

    • dave dye says:

      I wonder whether all teams (that work well) are an I and E mix? Dx

  7. Griffin Gale says:

    Thanks for everything in your blog. I’m a big believer in pens, pencils, markers and the lot. I’ve found it’s actually really helpful to go one step further and use 3×5 index cards. Something about the smaller size seems to encourage people to just start going and not worry about it. You don’t have to fill a page, just a little card. Also seems to encourage short, short, headlines which builds that skill.

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