The ballpoint pen, patented in 1945 by Hungarian journalist Laszlo Biro and his chemist brother Georg, used viscous printers’ inks in a handwriting device. As designer Angus Hyland writes in his introduction, it is odd that the ballpoint’s use has been restricted to writing: “Perhaps it is its sheer popularity, its utter commonness, which has made the ballpoint too mundane, too familiar for any artistic purpose.” An exhibition of ballpoint drawings by over 50 designers and illustrators was held in 2004 to celebrate 50 years of the Parker Ballpoint pen, and the catalogue takes the form of a prosaic school exercise book with attached pen-holder. Inside, the graph-paper pages bloom with the results of hours of skilled ballpoint-pen draughtsmanship. Works include a painstakingly rendered jungle scene by Stephen Doyle and a series of fighter planes named for different ballpoints by Roderick Mills. Baker enjoyed the visual references to an activity familiar to anyone who has sat idly doodling at a school desk. “I know the experience—high school, the stuff you did in your yearbook. They carried it through.”
Our copy is one of a limited edition of 250 copies (unnumbered), and is in 'almost-new' condition, its pale blue card covers and dark blue spine showing no signs of wear or use apart from microscopic tears at top & bottom of the spine, and an almost-invisible palish stain at the front top R/H corner. The front cover is adorned with a biro doodle and dotted lines for the exhibition name and catalogue number (neither filled in). Inside, the binding is firm and all pages clean and bright. A pen-holder matching the spine slots into the back cover, and the associated Parker ballpoint pen is in place. Materials used include: Fenner Paper: Idaho Blue Sky 275 gsm (cover stock); Optimale Blanc Naturel 120 gsm (inside stock), and it is printed in Fonts 45 Helvetica Light and Typewriter Light.