Pen & Paper Musings from a Digital Man

If there is one person who has their finger on the pulse of all things digital it has to be Wil Harris, the head of digital at Condé Nast. With a job so seemingly at odds with the traditional pen and paper approach, we wanted to find out why Wil Harris still loves his bespoke Smythson stationery.

Wil Harris Interview - The Smythson Journal

Why does a digital guru like yourself still use stationery?

Being a dyed-in-the-wool digital obsessive, of course I am surgically attached to my text messages, WhatsApps or emails all day every day.

But digital is a double edged sword.  Yes, it’s instantaneous, but that same quality makes it ephemeral.  There’s no ‘weight’, either literal or metaphorical, to a “thank you” note over email.  There’s a certain casualness to a party invitation sent over Facebook.

So for me, stationery is important for when you have something important to say and you want to say it in the most meaningful way possible.

Wil Harris Bespoke Smythson Stationery

What occasions call for handwritten correspondence?

Thank you notes.  Always thank you notes!  Nothing says that you appreciate someone like the gesture of something that has been handwritten – it takes time and effort to do properly, and is a show of respect for the person you are writing to.

By the same token, favours!  If you are serious about asking someone for something they’re not obligated to do in any official  capacity, a handwritten note is a suitable mark of respect and forethought.

How did you come up with the design for your bespoke stationery?

My personal style is very much a mix of the modern and the traditional – actually, this is really reflected in my job, too!  So when I was coming up with a design, I wanted something that would echo that.  The lettering and blue border are very classic, and having the Instagram and Twitter logos put on the bottom, along with my username, adds a little touch of digital modernism.  It’s a great combination and quite unique – I haven’t seen anybody else do this!

Wil Harris Stationery Musings
Wil Harris Smythson Stationery

Favourite app

Evernote.  I would forget my head if it wasn’t written down in Evernote.

Best site for restaurant recommendations

JustOpened, which is a super detailed guide to everything in London that has, well, just opened.

Most accurate weather forecast

I am yet to find one.  It’s definitely not Siri!

Favourite social media channel

Instagram.  A beautiful stream of lovely things from my friends around the world.   And not a troll in sight!

Special thanks to Wil Harris and the team at Condé Nast. To enquire about our bespoke stationery service, please email

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