As a stationery brand, we are always curious how and what people use our stationery goods for. With this blog series, focusing on the hands at "work" and beyond, we ask five questions about the usage and meaning of the stationery tools to our friends in Los Angeles.

For our sixteenth post, we visited a graphic designer, Joyce Chai (and her puppy, Bruce!) at her home office in South Pasadena neighborhood. 




Q1. What do you do with your 4 Color Ballpoint Pen


This kind of pen used to just feel like a novelty to me, but man, I love it now! I like how I can categorize different parts of my schedule by color. Plus, the glide of this particular pen is really nice.




Q2. In our technology driven world, what does it mean to do things by hand to you?


It’s a necessity! Having most of my work exist digitally allows me to be nimble but also leaves me craving tactile tasks. Time away from my screen is always welcome–be it prototyping print samples for clients, baking treats for friends, or even rote production work. They’re all deeply satisfying in their own ways.



Joyce is showing a recent client work. Underneath, her baked goods!  

Top: Present Studio logo embosser on a penco Cutting Mat in A5. 
Bottom: embossed envelopes

Joyce uses a Stalogy Short Sticky Notes to mark this thick paper sample book! 

Q3. Pencils or Mechanical Pencils?


I prefer the texture and give of a pencil. Writing with anything with too fine a point feels restricting. It oddly makes me singularly aware of my penmanship instead of allowing words/ideas to flow.

Pencils for Pi day, designed by Joyce. 


Q4. What’s in your pen case, if you don't use a pen case, how do you organize and store your stationeries?


Heh, I’m admittedly scattered. There are pens and washi tape scattered all around different crevices of my apartment and purses. I’ll usually just grab what’s in closest proximity rather than adhering to some sort of system. Maybe I’ll figure that out someday.


Not a pen case, but Joyce uses a penco Storage Caddy in Small and a paper Pleats Tray by Sikigu for her desktop organizer. 


Q5. What is your most favorite stationery? 


I love my Hightide planner. I’ve slogged through many a planner format before finding the one I most prefer in the 2024 Weekly Planner Minute Manager. I like to see my entire week in one view plus have ample room to jot out ideas, grocery lists, etc. The no-frills design is delightfully transportive, too. It makes me feel like I work a clerical 9-5 job in the ‘80s.

Along with the Minute Manager planner A5 left, she uses the Weekly Sticky Memo Pad in White. 


Joyce Chai is a graphic designer and co-partner of Present Studio.
Present Studio specializes in working with founder-led businesses looking to level up their brand and web presence. To see their work, check out their website. To book an intro call, click here.
Also highly encourage to start subscribing their bi-weekly newsletter "Present Joys" on Substack for the ins and knows of joyous moments in this fast paced world – it's such a delight! 

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