Thinking with markers

Target markers, one Faber-Castell gel stick, and Rhodia paper

Erin Fitzgerald
3 min readJun 15, 2022

(This is excerpted from an issue of my Substack, Stationary Stationery, where I usually just get really nerdy about fountain pens.)

Found a stash of pre-pandemic markers the other day, and had to test them. Most held up pretty well! If Target still sells felt-tip thin markers in a plastic cylinder, go for it.

I’ve been taking lots and lots and lots of notes for UX and design classes. For the first class, I tried taking notes via keyboard and I failed just about every quiz along the way. Then I switched to using thin markers and paper for notetaking, and went immediately to straight As.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my fountain pens for journal and fiction writing for the speed, and sometimes just the feel of the nib on the page. But taking notes on stuff like color theory and building user journeys? It’s a very different kind of writing. Markers force me to hit pause on the webinar. They make me slow down, pay attention, think spatially.

Markers — and yeah, probably the design classes, too — have also led me to get out my other art supply stuff. I now keep a little notebook on my desk that’s only for doodling. Turns out doodling helps me think, and doodling helps when I’m anxious. I had a zillion notebooks…