There’s a special kind of joy to be found in back-to-school shopping: the first blank pages of a new notebook, the thrill of finding the perfect pen, even the smell of brand new erasers all signal the beginning of a new season. While some of us have already left our school hallways behind, shopping for new office supplies remains a universal thrill. There are few things that are as satisfying as using a really good pencil- maybe because equipping ourselves with effective, productive tools feels like a step towards organizing our lives. After all, there’s no better imagery for a fresh start than a blank sheet of paper.
When it comes to stationery, the Japanese variety is among the best in the world, with its paper and office supplies widely coveted and collected by aficionados. Japanese stationery makers employ stationery sommeliers, specialists that study the best ways our body reacts to different types of writing tools. They can be found roaming your nearest stationery store, offering recommendations for the perfect pen for your writing style. Though Japanese stationery is usually low in price, their products are high in quality, with careful attention to detail and functionality that makes for few defective product. Many stationery companies sell refills of their items, ensuring you can keep using your favorite pens and notebooks for a long time. The bright designs and colorful styles don’t hurt, either.
In the spring of 2012, six stationery companies with different specializations combined to form Inkaren, a brand of minimalist notebooks and office supplies that we’re proud to carry at Rikumo. Their fields were varied, ranging from book binding, hole-punching, folding, binding, die cutting, embossing, and paper inlaying, among others. By bringing old-school stationery techniques back into the 21st century, Inkaren prides itself on craftsmanship that you can touch: the subtle softness of paper or the effortless corner fold of the rings. With a neutral, minimal design, each notebook is designed to inspire creativity without distraction and productivity without frump.
Good stationery sets out to achieve the impossible: making us look forward to working. Tour the inside of Inkaren's factory and get to know the specialists and professionals who make our new favorite notebooks.
WORDS BY MAGALI ROMAN
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF INKAREN