|he work was done on a consultant basis. At that time he had a studio in Shoredich, London, with several designers working on different projects but Geoff Hollington pretty much did all the Parker work himself. All of the interior, mechanical and fluidic design was done by Parker, but he worked closely with Parker's engineers to make sure space was efficiently used and that writing performance, cap fit, pushbutton action and so on were optimised. His long experience with different materials and the knowledge of the basic construction of the pen, ABS plastics, acrylics, brass, stainless steel, silver and gold made the cooperation work well.
— The basic decision was always ‘metal or plastic’, stainless or gold trim - decisions made strategically at the beginning of the project. Colours and finishes were a big issue of course, and for this part of the design I introduced Parker to Barron Gould, with whom I had close contact. Linda Barron and John Gould went on to work on many projects with Parker, specifically on colours, effects, finishes, pattern and so on, Geoff Hollington says.
He did most of the design work himself but before the finished product there was always a team effort.
— Most designs were made by myself, but the projects were run on a project team basis, with regular meetings between Parker engineering, market research, marketing and myself, at my studio, he says.
||e describes how important it is for a designer to have a really clear idea of what he's trying to achieve and he confesses that not every idea reached the production line.
— We used to write the design briefs and then get Parker to approve. That way we knew exactly what was required. Then you do loads of sketches until something clicks. The main projects I worked on for Parker were Insignia, Sonnet, Frontier and 100 but during my time as a consultant to Parker I also worked on many projects that did not reach commercialization.
Working with widely different designs like furniture and cameras he points out that the challenge of pens much lie in the restrictions of the very product. Again the restrictions only enhances the importance of having that eye for the details.
— Pens are very, very simple products in some ways: the have rotational symmetry, their size is constrained by ergonomics, as is the shape to a large extent; they are very well evolved - the clip for instance works well in pockets and bags and it stops the pen rolling off the table. So when designing a pen you have only a small space in which to move. Add the need for strong brand authenticity and the space becomes very tight indeed. That’s why, in my opinion, properties like proportion, balance and elegance are very important. It always astonishes me how badly most pen products rate in these respects. We used to work and fight really hard to get a shape where the cap looked equally good on the front and back of the pen, where the step between cap and barrel was minimised or non-existent. In a product of this size, a tenth of a millimetre is worth worrying about!