Stationery Alive and Well in the Digital Age

The entry to the National Stationary Show. || Photo credit to Lauren Bannister

The entry to the National Stationary Show. || Photo credit to Lauren Bannister


From greeting cards, custom invitations, gift wraps, and journals, the National Stationery Show is the place for all things paper in New York City.

The stationery show had over 400 exhibitors and 10,000 attendees that came together at the Javits Center from Feb. 3rd-6th. The main focus was centered around paper stationery, journals, and calendars.

As a national exhibit, it makes you wonder how King’s students utilize stationery in their everyday lives.

“I use stationery items because I enjoy the feeling of physically touching what I write,” King’s student Thomas Gatt said. “For me, the process of writing nearly perfect cursive allows for my true meanings, ideas, and feelings to come into fruition in a manner that reflects who I am. Journals allow for my random thoughts, emotions, and/or ideas to be written doesn’t for later reflection. The act of physically writing out ideas helps me remember better what I was thinking at that time.”

The National Stationery convention isn’t quite open to the public with the event being more focused on professional buyers and industry professionals.

Cards for sale at the stationary show. || Photo credit to Lauren Bannister

Cards for sale at the stationary show. || Photo credit to Lauren Bannister

However, companies such as Warmer Thoughts and The Good Twin, try to appeal toward younger crowds. One of their coffee cups was even designed by a college student.

People often associate college students with only using technology and no longer using real stationery.

In 2016, Modo Labs released an article stating: “mobile technology is ubiquitous among teens, as is social media usage. And when this generation moves on to college, they will bring their technology and mobile usage habits and expectations with them in a way that colleges will need to be ready for.”

Contrary to belief, many college students consistently depend on stationery to survive their hectic college schedules. Some may even say it’s therapeutic to write out their thoughts, their to-do lists, and their goals.

“I enjoy using decorative to-do lists for organizational aspects,” said Mckenna Morgan, a sophomore at the King’s College. “I use it for my own advantage. I enjoy handwriting much more than typing because it helps me clear my head and gives me a sense of direction.”

Since 1946, the National Stationery Show has brought people together from all over the world to discuss the newest trends, products, and ways to keep the stationery world alive.

As more newspapers switch to digital and require subscriptions, many wonder why the stationery world remains relevant.

Some would say it’s the meaning behind the paper that keeps it going.

“Even though technology has more monetary value, a handwritten note or a letter is far more sentimental because it takes more effort to craft and, with the technology revolution, they’re far more scarce,” Freshman Samantha Klozik said. “If we valued holding and saving a physical book or newspaper, we might not have started relying on the easy, weightless storage that is iCloud.”

More stationary on display. || Photo credit to Lauren Bannister

More stationary on display. || Photo credit to Lauren Bannister

At the National Stationery Show, there were not many students running around. Many are not even aware that the show exists.

“I would have loved to of gone to the stationery show because I could look at stationery for hours,” Morgan stated. “But, maybe it’s the best thing I didn’t go because I probably would have left with more than I could use. When it comes to stationery versus the online world, I think it shows a sense of selfishness in our generation because we enjoy to write things down that are important to use and we can keep it to ourselves, but we are letting the print world die because we don’t pay attention to what other people have to share. We care about what has to do with us.”

The National Stationery show happens once a year in the heart of New York City. Maybe next year there will be some college students amongst the 10,000 attendees.

“There’s a national stationery convention?” Freshman Ellen Coy questioned. “Why wasn’t I invited?”