The lead up to the European Office Products Awards (EOPA) 2012 got me thinking about my own favourite office product, and it’s a tough call. 2011 was the year that I was introduced to the Sharpie gel highlighter, for example (I’m notorious for being behind the times). I was also given my own PaperPro stapler, which has made me a stapler snob.
Several new products have also wowed me, such as HP’s e-printers. I have to admit that I am one of the many to swoon at the sight of an Apple iPad, although I still need someone to explain to me exactly why I need a tablet when a laptop and a smartphone have served me well so far.
But despite these fun new products I am a traditionalist at heart. I proofread these pages with a fountain pen, and make lists on endless pieces of paper; even a Post-it note is too modern for me. I might be of generation Y, but I appreciate well-made, traditional products that still do the job that they were designed to do years ago.
That must be why there are so many categories for the EOPA. Each product and service fills a different need and the Product of the Year shortlists are a mixture of classic and modern products. But though classic, I expect even my fountain pen has been redesigned again and again over the years to reach its current form without me even noticing.
The EOPA aren’t just about products, of course. In 2011 I became familiar with many businesses and people that are doing sterling work. Take this month’s Big Interview subject, for example (turn to page 28). Quantore, driven by Arnold Theuws, has used its unique model to create one of Europe’s most impressive warehouses.
Last year, Paperworld introduced me to many new products, businesses and people so I hope this year’s show will do the same. Perhaps I’ll find a new favourite to add to my list. If you’re reading this in Frankfurt, I hope to meet you in the halls of the Messe; if not, you can rely on us to bring you all the news.