Blog Posts Image for Promotional Products Week 2017 – Say “Thank You” With Personalised Gifts

Promotional Products Week 2017 – Say “Thank You” With Personalised Gifts

Promotional products are extremely effective tools in the marketing of companies and brands. Research by the British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA) found that 84% of respondents said that receiving a branded promotional item increased their awareness of that brand.

Promotional Products Week

Promotional Products Week is a nationwide campaign aimed at celebrating and promoting branded merchandise. It seeks to raise the profile of promotional products while demonstrating their value in propagating brand awareness. It was launched by industry body the BPMA in 2013 and has increased in scope and popularity each subsequent year.

Promotional Products Week 2017 has the theme of “Thank You”. It takes place between 2nd and 6th October 2017.

To tie in with this year’s theme, we look at the ways you can say “Thanks!” with promotional merchandise and personalised gifts.

Thank You Staff Red

Thank Your Colleagues and Staff

Your workmates will appreciate being recognised for their recent promotion, continued hard work or years of loyal service to the company. A personalised gift is a great way to show they are valued.

A multitude of studies has found that staff are more motivated when they feel valued by their manager. Show your team you appreciate them with a branded gift they can keep and use every day. If you can include the company logo alongside your message of thanks, then all the better.

Thank them with: an aluminium ballpen with a beautifully engraved message.

Thanks You Customer Blue

Thank Your Customers

Giving your customers appealing and practical promotional products is a great way to reward them for their loyalty. At the same time you will be reminding them of your brand, of course, so it really is a win-win situation.

Research shows that customers respond well to receiving printed or engraved gifts. According to the BPMA’s findings, recipients are more likely to respond to promotional products than any other form of advertising.

Why not thank customers for placing a recent order, for referring you to a new client or for stopping by your stand at a trade show? They’ll love getting a branded freebie and you’ll promote your business, initiative or special offer at the same time.

Thank them with: an inexpensive plastic pen with full colour print.

Thank Your Friends Green

Thank Your Friends and Family

Printed and laser engraved products are not just for promotional use. They also make thoughtful personalised gifts for friends, loved ones and family members. Web-to-print platform No-Minimum.co.uk offers all products from just a single piece with no setup charges. You can select from a huge range of digitally printed or engraved products that might otherwise not be viable as one-off customised gifts.

Thank your friends for house-sitting, your kids for good behaviour, or simply show your partner you care. Whoever you wish to thank and whichever item you choose, just visit No-Minimum.co.uk to create the perfect personalised gift quickly and easily.

Thank them with: a premium Pierre Cardin-branded rollerball with a personalised message

 

As well as raising the profile of branded and personalised merchandise, this year’s Promotional Products Week is also raising money for Alzheimer’s Society, so there has never been a better time to get involved.

To find out more, visit bpma.co.uk or www.promotionalproductsweek.co.uk, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #ThankYouPPW on social media.

Go to www.pens.co.uk for Europe’s most comprehensive range of printed and engraved pens.

Psychology of Colours in Branding

The Psychology of Colour Choice in Branding

Many studies have sought to measure the influence of colour on our emotions and responses. The psychology of colour choice in branding is a much-debated topic and numerous infographics on the subject can be found in all corners of the internet. However, the link between colour and response to a brand or marketing message is not as simple as such infographics might lead you to believe. It is likely that factors such as personal experiences, subjective preference, context and cultural upbringing have a considerable impact on how we respond to a colour.

However, it is clear that colours do have a degree of emotional impact on us, and that companies spend a lot of money and effort choosing the colours they want to represent their brand.

How might some of the most popular colour choices impact our responses?

 

Use of Blue in Branding

Symbolises trust and strength. It conveys a sense of dependability and trustworthiness. Blue is most often used by conservative and corporate brands.

Example brands – IBM, Facebook, Volkswagon, NASA

 

Impact of Colour Red in Branding

Associated with excitement and youthfulness. Red can be seen as bold and confident. It can also be used to create a sense of urgency, such as with a call to action, and this is why it’s often used for sales and special offers.

Example brands – Coca-Cola, Lego, Virgin, Nintendo

 

Use of Yellow in Branding

Associated with warmth and optimism. Yellow is used by brands who want to convey cheerfulness and happiness, although some argue that too much yellow can cause feelings of anxiety. Commonly used in shop windows to attract impulse buyers.

Example brands – McDonalds, Ikea, Yellow Pages, Chupa Chups

 

Impact of Orange in Branding

This is a friendly and confident colour. It can be thought of as combining the happiness of yellow with the impact of red. Orange is the choice of brands wanting to be seen as fun and energetic and it is likely to instil a sense of positivity and warmth.

Example brands – Fanta, Amazon, Firefox, Harley Davidson

 

Branding with Colour Purple

Conveys an impression of wisdom, creativity and imagination. Brands also use purple to represent luxury or mystery. Some claim it stimulates the creative and problem-solving parts of the brain.

Example brands – Cadburys, Hallmark, Yahoo, FedEx

 

Impact of Colour Green in Branding

Associated with nature and health. It can convey a sense of peace and tranquillity. Green is favoured by brands who want to be seen as eco-friendly or aligned with nature.

Example brands – BP, Tropicana, Land Rover, Starbucks

 

Use of Colour Black in Branding

Symbolises power, strength and authority. It can also be used by brands to convey sophistication and formality. Black is a good choice for high contrast and legibility, although overuse of black can lead to feelings of negativity.

Example Brands – Telegraph, Puma, Gillette, Wikipedia

 

Blue & Purple Pen Warehouse Logo

At The Pen Warehouse, we Pantone match your colours for screen or pad printing, while our high-quality digital printing will recreate your colours beautifully.

You might also notice that we’ve chosen blue and purple for our logo. We hope this conveys our dependability and wisdom!

Pens Jargon Buster

Promotional Pen Jargon Buster

So you know which end of the pen to use. And you can sharpen a pencil without losing too many fingers. But if you want to know more about the writing instruments we all take for granted, our promotional pens jargon buster is here to help.

Glossary of Pen Terminology

ABS – a thermoplastic polymer used in the construction of some plastic pens and chosen for its toughness and durability.

Anodising – an aluminium pen is placed into an acid electrolyte bath and an electric current is passed through. The aluminium is oxidised resulting in a bright and durable finish.

Ballpen – another term for ballpoint pen. See definition below.

Ballpoint pen – a rotating metal ball is suspended beneath an ink reservoir. As the ball point is applied to the writing surface, the ink flows from the reservoir, coating the ball and being deposited as it rotates.

Barrel – this is the central component of a pen and is the hollow tube that house the refill and pen mechanisms. A pen barrel is usually a slightly tapered cylinder in shape.

Base metal – sometimes called the ‘substrate’, this is the metal underneath the outer layer of a metal pen. When a metal pen is engraved, the outer layer is removed and the base metal is revealed.

Biofree™ – this is an anti-bacterial additive that can be found in some plastic pens, such as the Vogue Biofree Ballpen. It suppresses the growth of bacteria, fungus and mould, making it ideal for the healthcare, pharmaceutical and catering industries.

Breather hole – some pens have small holes drilled into the cap to equalise pressure and prevent ink from seeping out.

Chromark™ engraving – available on selected Pen Warehouse metal pens, this is engraving with a vivid mirror finish.

Cap – a cover that goes over the top of the pen to stop the ink from drying out or escaping, and to stop the tip from getting damaged.

Clip – the pen clip was originally introduced by the Waterman pen company, designed to clip to a pocket to prevent the pen falling out, and has been a standard feature of plastic and metal pens ever since.

Dokumental – a German ink manufacturer renowned for its high-quality and durable inks.

Dry wipe marker – a marker pen suitable for using on a whiteboard as it is non-permanent and can be removed with a dry cloth.

EcoAllene – an eco-friendly material made from recycled artificial materials, such as Tetra Pak cartons.

Ferrule – the metal ring at the top of a pencil used to house the eraser. The pencil ferrule is usually made from brass or aluminium.

Fountain pen – a pen which contains a reservoir of liquid ink which is drawn into the nib and deposited onto the paper through a combination of capillary action and gravity.

Frosted – this refers to a fine sand surface texture on translucent plastic. The finish can be moulded or spray coated.

FSC™ certified – the Forest Stewardship Council promotes responsible management of the world’s forests and will only lend certification to products made from sustainable wood.

Gloss finish – a shiny finish such as that found on a polished plastic pen or painted wooden pencil.

Grip – the section of the pen towards the tip that is held when writing. This is usually distinct from the barrel as a different colour, material or texture, such as the rubberised grip found on the Spectrum Max Ballpen.

Injection moulding – a manufacturing process commonly used for plastic pens. Heated material is injected into a mould where it cools and solidifies. Most pen barrels are not perfect cylinders and actually have a tapered shape so they can be removed from the mould.

Inkredible™ – smooth-flow ink technology available in a number of The Pen Warehouse’s products

Lacquering – a lacquer coating is sprayed onto a metal, providing a hard layer with a gloss finish.

Lead – the lead of a pencil is actually a piece of graphite. When this substance was first discovered it was thought to be a type of black lead and was initially called ‘plumbago’ which comes from the Latin for ‘lead’.

LogoClip – exclusive to The Pen Warehouse, LogoClips are pen clips available in a wide range of shapes and styles which can be printed with a full colour design.

Matt finish – a non-shiny finish, the opposite of gloss. Might also be written as ‘matte’.

Mechanical pencil – a pencil with a propelling lead that doesn’t require sharpening. These pencils are usually made of metal but can also be plastic.

Nib – the writing tip of a fountain pen which uses capillary action to deposit ink on the page. Fountain pen nibs are usually made from stainless steel or gold alloys.

Nose cone – the cone-shaped component of a pen that houses the tip of the refill. The nose cone has a hole in the centre for the tip to extend from.

Push-button – this is the mechanism used in most ballpens to extend the refill and involves pushing a button at the top of the pen.

Refill – the component of a ballpen or rollerball that contains the ink, so called because it can be replaced when the ink runs out.

Rollerball – a pen that uses a similar ball bearing mechanism to a ballpoint pen, but which uses lower viscosity water-based liquid or gel inks for smoother writing.

Rubberised – coated in a thin layer of rubber, often used for the grip of a pen to give a soft feel with slight padding.

Satin finish – an increasingly popular finish on pens, this has more sheen than a matt finish but is not as shiny as a gloss finish.

Stylus – a device used to make inputs on a touchscreen phone or tablet. A resistive touchscreen responds to the pressure made by a stylus, whereas a capacitive screen uses current from the human body and therefore requires a conductive stylus.

Substrate – this is the material beneath the outer layer of a pen. An aluminium pen might have a brass substrate, for example, and this will be revealed when it’s engraved.

Twist-action – a mechanism found in some metal and plastic pens. The barrel is split into two pieces, with one piece rotated in relation to the other to extend or retract the refill.

UV marker – a type of marker that deposits ink that can only be seen under Ultraviolet (UV) light. It is often used to mark objects for security purposes.

Blog Posts Image for Printing Terminology – Promotional Products Jargon Buster

Printing Terminology – Promotional Products Jargon Buster

Don’t know your ‘screen printing’ from your ‘pad printing’? Thought that ‘debossing’ was your manager getting the sack? Can’t even spell ‘MOQ’? Our handy glossary of commonly used printing terminology is here to help. You can bookmark this page for future reference or please feel free to share with your colleagues.

Glossary of Printing Terminology & Acronyms:

AI file – this is an Adobe Illustrator file and has ‘.ai’ at the end of the name. This format is usually requested for spot colour artwork as the colours can be separated into distinct layers for individual printing.

CMYK – this is the colour format used in printing and refers to the cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks that are combined to create a printed image. If an RGB display image is converted to CMYK for print, some colours may be subtly modified in the process.

Cropping – the process of trimming artwork so that it occupies a smaller area or removing unwanted elements from the around the edges of artwork. It is not the same as resizing as it involves removing some of the image.

Debossing – a design is stamped into a surface using a metal die to leave an indentation. This is the opposite of embossing.

Digital printing – an ink jet printer fires microscopic droplets of ink onto the product surface. This allows photographic-quality prints in an almost limitless spectrum of colours, gradients and shades.

Doming – full colour images are digitally printed onto self-adhesive labels which are then coated in a thick layer of resin. This creates a raised 3D effect.

DPI – stands for ‘Dots Per Inch’ and refers to the number of dots that make up a printed image. A higher DPI will mean higher quality printing. We recommend 600dpi for printing standard-sized artwork.

Dye sublimation – a design is digitally printed onto a transfer paper and then heat transferred onto the product surface, resulting in great adhesion and quality. Due to the high heat and pressure involved only certain materials are suitable for this process.

Embossing – this is a raised design on the surface of a product and therefore the opposite of debossing. Ink or foil may be applied to the relief area or it can be left as a ‘blind emboss’.

EPS – an Encapsulated Postscript file. This is another format used by Adobe Illustrator and allows individual elements to be edited and colours split into separate layers.

Full colour – artwork that is photographic, has gradients or shading, or has a complex composition. This would have to be digitally printed as it could not be printed as separate layers of colour.

JPEG – this is the standard format used to save bitmap artwork. It is primarily suitable for web and onscreen display but can also be digitally printed if the resolution is high enough and saved as CMYK. Not suitable for spot colour printing.

Laser engraving – concentrated light energy is applied via crystal rod. This removes the surface metal of a product to reveal the base metal. Only suitable for metal products.

Layers – an Adobe Illustrator file or PDF can be made up of a number of layers meaning elements can be edited independently of one another. This is ideal for spot colour printing as colours can be printed as separate layers.

Lead time – the period of time from a supplier receiving a signed-off order to dispatching the final printed products, usually measured in working days.

Line colour – Adobe Illustrator files are usually composed of vectors, meaning a number of distinct lines and shapes. This might be referred to as ‘line colour’ artwork and allows elements to be edited and colours printed individually.

MOQ – stands for Minimum Order Quantity and is the smallest order size for a printed or engraved product, usually governed by the cost of setting up the print run.

Origination – this is the process and associated cost of setting up a print run. The term origination tends to refer to digital and laser engraving setup, while ‘screen’ refers to setting up spot colour printing. The term ‘setup’ might also be used to generically describe any of these setup processes and costs.

Outlined fonts – an artwork file with typed text uses fonts to display that text. If the artwork is sent to a printer or a colleague who does not have those fonts, the text will not display correctly. Therefore fonts should be converted to outlines before submitting artwork. This turns fonts into vectored shapes. Note that text cannot be edited once converted to outlines.

Pad printing – a silicone rubber pad is used to transfer the artwork from an etched metal plate. This is ideal for printing to curved surfaces such as the Contour Ballpen.

Pantone colours – the Pantone Matching System (PMS) is the industry standard set of colours. While it is possible to match spot colour printed artwork to Pantone colours, it is not possible with digital printing.

PDF – Adobe’s Portable Document Format has become the industry standard way of saving print files. A PDF will usually be editable in Adobe Illustrator and therefore suitable for spot colour printing.

PNG – similar to a JPEG but can have a transparent background. A PNG can be digitally printed if high enough resolution and in CMYK format.

Print area – the area of the product that can be printed. The size of this area depends on the shape of the item and the printing method used. Most pens from The Pen Warehouse have multiple print areas to choose from.

Proof – this is a visual representation of artwork, used to approve it prior to print. Once the proof is signed off by the customer the go-head to print is given.

Registration – when multi-colour designs are pad or screen printed, each colour is printed as a separate layer. Registration refers to lining up these layers to form the complete design. Close registration means all the elements are accurately aligned.

RGB – this is the colour format used for online and onscreen display and refers to red, green and blue coloured pixels. It will need to be converted to CMYK for printing and this may result is some colours changing appearance.

Screen charge – creating a screen for printing and setting up a screen print job is a time-consuming process. Most printed product suppliers will charge for this setup.

Screen printing – a woven mesh is stretched over a frame to create a screen. A stencil is placed under the screen and ink forced through onto the product. This is a cost-effective print method, particularly for large jobs.

Spot colour – this is artwork that will be printed as separate colours using methods such as pad or screen printing. Acceptable artwork file formats include.ai, .eps and .pdf.

TIFF – these are bitmap images like JPEG and PNG but tend to be more suited to print, assuming they are high enough quality to begin with.

Transfer printing – artwork is digitally printed onto a specially formulated film and heat transferred directly onto the product. This method offers high adhesion and is suitable for a wide variety of materials.

Transfer wrap – digital transfer printing is used to wrap an image around a 3D object, such as the entire barrel of a pen, as in the case of the Contour Wrap Ballpen and System Ballpen range.

Vector image – this is artwork that is made up of lines and shapes, meaning elements can be removed or modified and colours separated into layers prior to print. Fonts must be converted to outlines.

Pierre Cardin

A History of Pierre Cardin

Pierre Cardin was born in 1922 in San Biagio di Callalta, Italy, at his parents’ holiday home. His was a once affluent farming family whose land had been devastated by some of the fiercest battles of the First World War. His parents moved back to their native France in 1926 and Pierre was raised in St. Etienne, a coal-mining town in eastern central France. He had trouble fitting in as he was considered an immigrant and was bullied at school.

Pierre Cardin’s father was a winemaker and had expected his son to adopt the family trade. When the young Pierre showed an aptitude for art and design, his parents hoped he would use his talent to become an architect. However, it soon became obvious that Cardin junior was not interested in taking that path. Pierre was instead drawn to the world of theatre and ballet, and particularly fascinated by the costumes and set designs. At just eight years old he was designing dresses for a friend’s dolls and his true passion was beginning to emerge. When a school inspector asked Cardin’s class what they wanted to do when they grew up, Pierre declared, without hesitation, “a couturier”.

Embarking on the Path to Fashion

In 1936, at the age of 14 years old, Pierre Cardin started as an apprentice for Chez Bompuis, the best tailor in St. Etienne. It was here that Cardin learned the art of tailoring suits that would inform his work for the early part of his career.

By 1940, France had been overrun by the Nazis and St. Etienne was occupied. Pierre decided to head for Paris, setting off on his bicycle with a few meagre possessions. After being robbed by Nazi soldiers, he detoured to the town of Vichy, a glamourous symbol of unoccupied France. He found work at the clothing store Manby where he made suits for women.

Cardin was called up for compulsory labour in German factories in 1943. He went on the run before a leg injury exempted him from conscription. Instead he was sent to do administrative work for the French Red Cross, where he developed the humanitarian interests that are still important to him today.

Pierre Cardin eventually made it to Paris towards the end of the war; the young fashionista finally found himself in the fashion capital of the world.

When the war ended in 1945, Pierre Cardin went to work for the fashion designer Paquin, then had a brief stint with the Italian clothier Schiaparelli. He also studied architecture, although fashion was still very much his focus. During this period Cardin teamed up with director Jean Cocteau and designer Christian Berard and made numerous costumes for films, including the 1946 production of “La Belle et la Bête”, or “Beauty and the Beast”.

Pierre Cardin’s big break came that same year when he landed a job at Christian Dior. As one of the most internationally recognised designers of the day, Dior was preparing to open his own fashion house. Cardin was part of an elite team chosen to work on the new “House of Dior” collection, designed to emphasise femininity after the austere war years, and Cardin continued to shape the direction of Dior’s “New Look” over the next few years.

In 1950, after honing his trade while working for other people, Pierre Cardin decided he was ready to go it alone.

Cardin Sets Out on His Own

Cardin set up his own fashion house and was almost immediately successful. In 1953 he launched his first haute couture collection of women’s clothing. While his initial work was widely respected, it was with the launch of his famous “bubble dress” the following year that Cardin found international success. 1954 also saw Cardin open two boutiques, Eve and Adam, with Paris’ first boutique for men following three years later. It was around this time that Pierre Cardin set his sights on Japan as a potential market – unheard of among European fashionistas – and his designs were also influenced by his travels there.

As well as a revered designer, Cardin was an astute businessman and towards the end of the 1950s realised that the market for high fashion was limited to a niche wealthy clientele and more money could be made by selling simpler, cheaper versions of his designs. This was the emergence of “ready-to-wear” clothing. Cardin is quoted as saying “Why should I work only for rich people?”

In 1959, Pierre Cardin opened his first pret-a-porter boutique in Paris. This provoked the ire of the Chambre Syndicale, the federation that governed the French fashion industry, and he was briefly expelled from membership. The Chambre Syndicale was a conservative body and saw ready-to-wear as a threat to the traditional values of the fashion industry.

Cardin pressed on undeterred.

A Brand is Created

The 1960s were busy and successful for Pierre Cardin. It was during this period that he introduced his famous “Space-age” look – futuristic, angular designs that were far removed from the soft, female shapes he had worked on for Dior. These were revolutionary items of clothing, not just aesthetically but also in the way new materials were used to achieve the look Cardin wanted. His designs were strange and alien and were an immediate hit.

As well as this avant garde fashion, the 1960s saw the launch of Cardin’s first clothing line for children, and a new casual style of men’s dress that had a major impact in Britain and America.

He also created a system of licences during this period – a practice now commonplace but unheard of at the time – and was the first designer to launch a clothing collection where the garments displayed the designer’s logo. Although Cardin can’t be credited with inventing the idea of the designer label, he was certainly its most influential and enthusiastic proponent.

In 1971, Pierre Cardin opened his own venue in Paris to show off his collections. The “Espace Cardin” allowed Cardin to exhibit his work without the approval of the traditionalist Chambre Syndicale, and he also used the space to promote new artists, musicians and theatre performers.

Cardin was not content to limit his work to clothing and accessories. By the 1970s, his already established brand allowed him to branch out into new fields. Pierre Cardin furniture was characterised by his trademark futuristic designs where traditional cabinetmaking and lacquering techniques were married with sci-fi aesthetics and bold geometry. Perhaps Cardin’s foray into furniture-making had always been on the cards – it is said he designed his first piece of furniture at just eight years old.

The burgeoning Pierre Cardin brand even moved into industrial design. He developed a number of “themes” that could be applied to a wide range of products, each carrying his name and logo so as to be easily recognisable as Cardin branded. In 1972 he was commissioned by the automobile manufacturer AMC to design the interior of a special edition Javelin, with a bold design considered outlandish at the time. Towards the end of the 1970s he even put his name to a Pierre Cardin branded executive jet.

Perhaps Cardin’s most iconic creation of this period was his Palais Bulles, or “bubble palace”, in Cannes, South of France. With the help of architect Antti Lovag, this audacious project was started in 1975 and finally completed in 1989. The finished villa is famous for its bulbous, alien construction. It occupies 1,200 square metres and includes 10 luxury rooms, a tropical garden, swimming pools and a 500-seat amphitheatre. It is furnished with Cardin’s own creations, as well as the work of other contemporary artists.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Pierre Cardin’s influence further spread across the globe. He was the first Western designer to exhibit in China and the first to open a boutique in Russia; he designed uniforms for Pakistan International Airlines and redesigned the national costume of the Philippines.

In 1981, he bought the famous Maxim’s restaurant in Rue Royal, Paris and soon opened further Maxim’s in Brussels, Beijing, New York and Moscow. Cardin-branded food products were released to complement the chain. By 2008, Pierre Cardin had opened his tenth Maxim’s restaurant.

Today, Pierre Cardin has become a highly regarded brand that is recognised the world over and we are proud to have the name adorn our Pierre Cardin executive pens and Pierre Cardin. To view our collection of Pierre Cardin executive pens, click here.

Thumbnail Image of A.T Cross Logo

The History of A.T. Cross Company

The A.T. Cross Company is America’s oldest manufacturer of writing instruments with a history that extends back for almost 170 years.  The era into which the A. T. Cross Company was founded saw great change in the writing instrument industry.  Many writers were still using quill pens or had recently made the transition to more durable dip pens made from a range of precious or durable metals.  Cross’ contribution to this period of pen evolution was the first stylographic pen, often cited as a technological ancestor of the ball point pen in 1879.

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The History of A.T. Cross Company
Thumbnail of Roman Lead Stylus Pencils

The History of the Pencil

Graphite, used in the core of the modern pencil, is not the first example of an element hewn from the ground and used as a mark making tool. This process dates back to the very first examples of human art seen in the prehistoric cave paintings created using charcoal and chalk in the era between 40,000 and 10,000 BC. These substances were ground and mixed into a paste with either saliva or animal fats and smeared onto the porous cave walls.

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The History of the Pencil
Political Graffiti - Kilroy was Here

The Writing on the Wall – Graffiti as Art, History and Politics

In the crypt of the Basilica in Lourdes, south west France, the walls are covered with graffiti. The temporary boundary fences placed around the ruins of the World Trade Center were covered with graffiti within days of the September 11th terrorist attacks. These disparate places and times are connected not just by our common understanding of graffiti, but by our collective need to express often overwhelming emotions and leave our mark for others to identify with. It seems that the tradition of the unsolicited public expression of beliefs and ideas is as old as humanity itself.

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