December 07, 2016
In the digital age of touch screens, computers and smartphones, the notion of putting pen to paper seems increasingly distant. For many, it could be suggested that our days of regular writing are firmly behind us, casting thought back to our days spent at school. Whilst there is no definitive evidence to say how little we write anymore, a survey was carried out in 2014 by the printing and mailing company ‘Docmail’. According to the results, one in three of the applicants hadn’t hand written anything in six months prior to the survey.
Evidently it appears that people are writing less but perhaps people forget? Maybe this analogue task is now comparably boring to tapping a brightly lit screen?
Making writing memorable and certainly more engaging is Manchester based design studio AJOTO. Founded by Chris Holden, AJOTO pay homage to penmanship through their flagship collection of minimal writing utensils, aptly described as ;
The name AJOTO is a descriptive abbreviation that represents the brands design approach. ‘A JOURNEY TO’ communicates the idea that good design not only elevates the object itself, but also the people and processes involved in its manufacture. Via the AJOTO website, an illustrative storyline behind each material and component has been beautifully depicted by the acclaimed illustrator Joe Gamble. His drawings entail charming hand drawn visualisations of the pens journey through each stage of its manufacture.
Past the pens production phases, AJOTO further impart the sense of journey via their incredible packaging. Central to this is a duplexed, solid card ‘date stamp’ inside a sliding cork tray. The stamp indicates the number of seconds since the company began. Adopting the finest of UK made paper by G . F Smith paper merchants, each pen is beautifully packaged inside a ‘Pale Grey ColorPlan’ paper which is later silver-foiled in Kent. Through personal experience, it can be said that no other un-packaging has delivered such care of thought and luxury. A truly tactile procedure, this pleasurable experience is one that can only be enjoyed in person.
Available in three material types, the circular pen body is a flowing, tapered, uninterrupted form. Via precision processes used by the automotive and aviation industries, the pen body is beautifully machined in Lancashire from three metal variants. Formatively offered in aluminium or brass, ‘the pen’ collection by AJOTO has recently seen the addition of a stainless steel version. These materials not only dictate different finishes but distinctively different writing weights.
From the outset it was important that The Pen must feel incredible both when in use and when just held in the hand pondering an idea.
We understand that your Pen is something very personal so whether you love the natural patina of brass, the untarnishable properties of rhodium or the deep matte black of anodising there is Pen for you.
We work with the worlds finest precious metal platers and anodisers to achieve the impeccable finish on each and every Pen.”
Auxiliary to the pen is the AJOTO Pen Pouch. Made in Leicestershire from premium vegetable tanned Italian leather, the pouch is designed as a protective ‘sheathe’ in which your luxury pen can be stored. A central theme woven throughout the AJOTO collections is the subtle use of geometric pattern. These patterns not only embellish the substrate upon which they are incorporated, but simultaneously submit cryptic messages. Inside the pouch cavity, the intersecting embossed lines inform the AJOTO emblem across the silky smooth leather. Available in numerous colours, the leather Pen Pouch develops it’s own patina though daily use. A video of the leather tanning process can be viewed here.
The AJOTO leather wallet. Much like the pen pouch, this bill fold is a minimal solution to store your daily debit/credit cards and bank notes.
As owner of an AJOTO matt black aluminium pen, the process of note taking is genuinely uplifting. Each stroke across a notebook evokes the sense that your notes are of immense importance. Extruding the roller ball tip via the twist knob is a highly addictive, reassuringly mechanical interaction; an interaction that can whittle away the minutes of the most boring of meetings. From this satisfying and truly tactile experience, one could suggest that writing is actually made to feel enjoyable. So if we are all (statistically speaking) writing less, then why not make it that bit more special when we do? Answering this question is the AJOTO studio, having executed a range of luxurious, design-led, writing tools. We hope you agree. Using the links below, we suggest you head over for a closer look at their collections.
With thanks to Chris Holden for making writing enjoyable again.
NATIVE is a blog series intended to showcase select brands who implement product manufacture here in the UK. Admittedly, not all aspects of every product can be made here, however we are most interested in those that can.
UK production has changed dramatically over the decades. Like every industry, embracing change is vital, not just to survive but to thrive in conjunction with social, economic and technological advancement.
Recognition of businesses, old and new, that implement outright or even partial local production is something we are genuinely passionate about. As designers, it is our belief that people should know more about how, why and where great products are made in the UK.
NATIVE is our way of sharing this information.
"Every contrivance of man, every tool, every instrument, every utensil, every article designed for use, of each and every kind, evolved from very simple beginnings."
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