Doodles - meaningless scribbles or insights into the physic?

Do you doodle? Maybe you don’t even realise that you do until you look back at your work.

Are yours elaborate masterpieces or unrecognisable markings? However they appear and whether you believe they provide insights into our deepest subconscious or not, the simple doodle is an intriguing thing.

Doodles are defined as a drawing made while a person’s attention is otherwise occupied. So, why do we doodle? Boredom, stressful meetings, idle moments, for fun?

Having spent a little bit of time thinking about the subject I realised I doodle far less than I used to. I remember my files at school and university being awash with patterns and scrawls. This isn’t to say I wasn’t listening –my mind was honestly absorbed by the lecture! So why do I doodle less now? I think it’s a matter of time and space (headspace that is). Sadly, it would feel like an indulgence, a waste of time when there is so much to get done all the time. Also, clearly a computer features far more in my life now than it did whilst I was studying many moons ago. And here in lies another benefit of paper and pen over the computer screen, which physically and emotionally do not allow for these expressions of self.

Doodles are intensely personal, I feel that I would be quite embarrassed for people to see my childish squiggles, particularly when I am surrounded by fantastically creative people (don’t panic, I do not get involved in the design aspect of the business!)

Despite my recently realised but clear reservations about doodling, there are benefits which maybe I should consider…

It actually helps you pay attention (see I told you I was concentrating in my lectures).

It gives you an emotional outlet, those pen marks deep into the paper repeated over and over may just suggest a little frustration! It can provide a release from tension and pressure. Underlying preoccupations may surface whilst we idly draw. Allowing our mind to wander in this way does suggest why doodling should be very good for our mental health.

Doodling enhances creative thought. The mental state of doodling is between daydreaming and awareness and therefore provides fertile ground for new ideas. Remember that the next time you get caught in the act by your boss!


And of course, there are pages and pages of detailed interpretations of what every line, swirl, heart, animal or stick person drawing means. Because we doodle without thinking, the idea is that they can provides insights into our psyche. Different people will doodle different things and these will also vary depending on mood. Ruth Rostron, handwriting expert, has written a fascinating piece on the meanings of doodles, see the link at the bottom to read the article. Here are just a few of her interpretations to give you an idea; circles, squares and triangles are hugely symbolic and can be linked with our basic needs for love, security, sex and survival. Rostron also explains that the position on the page is also significant. The top of the page is associated with dreams and aspirations, the bottom with security and material concerns, the right with the future and the outside world, and the left with past and family.

Clearly doodles aren’t new, they have been around as long as we have had a bit of a cave wall and a stick to draw with. Recently the fashion industry has hijacked the doodle, brands such as Saint Laurent and Burberry have released products with added scrawlings. The Reebok ‘Insta Pump Fury’ trainer covered in doodles achieved almost grail like status and reached prices of £600.

Epilepsy Action have harnessed this idea and created a ‘National Doodle Day’, on which they auction off doodles (I say doodles, they are a million miles far from the scribbles that grace my notebooks) of celebrities on E bay to raise funds. This year’s Doodle Day is Friday 21st September and we thought this was brilliant, so we wanted to get involved. So, we will donate a percentage of the profit from any orders placed on this day to Epilepsy Action.

Feeling inspired? Our notebooks are the perfect place to let your pen (and mind) wander. Allow your staff the opportunity to benefit from this idle (but highly productive) pastime by arming them with a smart, customised notebook which they can take everywhere with them. Or give branded notebooks as your corporate Christmas gift this year, a playful, useful and lasting offering which will set you apart from all the hampers.

It’s amazing how creative we can be without even trying. So, why not allow yourself this indulgence and remember, no one else has to see it!