Friday, September 30, 2011

Hacking Moleskine Notebooks

If you thought analogue formats were free from being hacked, think again! We all like to personalise our Moleskine Notebooks and adapt them for different purposes. Whether you call it Hacking your Moleskine, Pimping your Moleskine or perhaps in the above example Wiring your Moleskine, it's all the same kind of thing. Embracing the big open platform and making it your own.

The above project was part of the Objectivity Workshop at New York's Eyebeam and comes from Fashion Designer Diane Eng. Personally I think it's good to see the Reporter Notebook get some love - it's an overlooked format and the softcover version is an awesome portable format.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Just Landed: Pijama Laptop Sleeves!

Pijama - Hand-sewn in Milan

Well this is very exciting and very timely for us - we have just received the super cool Pijama Sleeves! Pijama sleeves suit all kids of digital technology - iPad sleeves, Macbook Sleeves, iPhone Sleeves and they suit all kinds of models and brands.


It's exciting because, well, look at them! Each sleeve is sewn in Milan, Italy using, and as an homage to, favourite fabrics and textiles. Pijama is actually a very young, cutting edge company. It was started in 2006 by an architect and a fashion designer, so you get the best of both worlds - attention to detail and style.


I'll guess that these are designed by cool young Italians and probably made in some super sleek sewing room equipped with espresso machine and some trendy obscure Film Noir soundtrack playing in the background. Having said that, the fact that they are sewn by hand and kind of look like the cushion covers from my Gran's old place mean that I can't help but see some hilarious old Nonna knitting iPad sleeves while the bolognaise simmers in the background.

Nonna's finest!

But no, don't be fooled! Pijama is very now and very on-point, taking pride in their innovation in design and attention to quality materials.

Scratch-resistant inside!

The inside of the sleeves is neoprene. This stuff is soft, a little stretchy and scratch resistant. The outside may be classic tweed, vintage cotton or dandy wool. Invariably, it delivers that endearing warmth that makes touching things fun! You'll start taking your iPad everywhere, even over to Nonna's!

Dandy Wool!

And this is what you're supposed to do with your Pijama. They're lightweight and easy, effortless. Just a trusty velcro closure, no buttons or zips, nothing bulky, just a nice way to protect from scratches and to avoid buying one of those anonymous generic things that most people have chosen to settle for.


Check it out! Oh and it's timely because we just got a new MacBook Air and it is thus far sleeveless...decision, decisions...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Newspaper Taxi Competition - We Love Mail!

Check out this competition from Newspaper Taxi! Trust me, we are very very impatiently waiting on our delivery of Rifle Paper goods and it is definitely worth the effort for a chance to win even one Rifle card! It's really beautiful stuff! Click through to Newspaper Taxi's Facebook for more details about the comp!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Just Landed: Frankie Diary 2012!

Just Landed, direct from Frankie Press, we have the super cute Frankie Diary 2012 and Frankie Calendar 2012!

We saw images for these and thought that they looked amazing but i was still really shocked with how nice the quality is. The diary cover in particular is so warm, a really coarse thread which is nice like book linen times a thousand!

The sections inside are all individually designed and actually really helpful. When anticipating these I was confident they would be really cute and stylish but was maybe dubious about how well thought out they would turns out Frankie know a thing or two about diaries!

I mean check this out: Title Page / Yearly Planner for 2 years / Monthly Planners / The Weekly Diary / Budget Pages / List Pages / Notes Pages / Sweet Cut Out Calling Cards / Address & Contacts / International Time Zones / Inner's covered everything.

And to prove they really know what they're doing, the paper stock is really keeps the tactile joys coming with each page turn.

And if I haven't said how unfailingly, irresistibly cute it is, well it's worth mentioning.

So that's the diary - it's really nice, you'll be so happy to carry it around every day...365 days of warm, personal design goodness. The Frankie calendar is obviously not for carrying around with you but it is 365 days of goodness for your wall.

You can see all the illustrations (12 different contributors) by clicking through. I won't need to comment on how cool and quirky they are - above is my fav! The images might not show you the paper stock though. It's seriously beautiful thick card. Again, Frankie know what they're doing with calendars!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Moleskine Travelling & The Open Platform

I kind of felt like talking about Moleskine Travelling today and so I typed my thoughts below. It actually reads like some impassioned call to arms, which was never intended, but come to think of it, I now realise that they're worth the enthusiastic support! The design is so convincing, the idea about as utopian as an excursion into material goods can be...I think I'm hooked!

To all of us in design stationery, Moleskine is a brand that requires no introduction. Obviously, Moleskine notebooks are widely appreciated for many reasons and by now I imagine most Moleskine fans are totally smitten with their new Moleskine pen and/or pencil. I myself vouch for the pencil with alacrity and the accompanying sharpener is so good I actually giggle when using it.

And everyone is really happy with this. A notebook. A pen. It makes sense, it's an obvious and some may contend even belated development. But there is also Moleskine Travelling - Bags & Cases - which, for brevity, I am just going to call 'the bags'.

Now, most people don't automatically see the link for these like they see the link for the Moleskine pens but I can tell you that the bags are even more sensible, more well married to and more central, philosophically, to Moleskine than their pens are.

A Moleskine notebook is simple and straightforward in many ways. You'll see them referred to as an 'Open Platform' and this is a good way to think about them. There is no specific direction, no obstruction to your thoughts or how you wish to construe the world.

A Moleskine notebook is there to be by your side, unfailingly acquiescent to you and your way of seeing and recording whatever crosses your path. I imagine that most Moleskine notebooks are now being used for work-related exercises, whether conceiving things, designing them or ticking off all the boxes needed to realise them. However, when first designed, a Moleskine notebook was always intended as a travel journal.

They're light, portable and durable. They keep the contents safe with archival quality paper, their inner pocket and an elastic closure. It's all about moving through the world, getting the most out of it and keeping it safe. In the case of a notebook what we safe-keep is intellectual - an idea, a sketch, a reminder.

In the case of a bag, what we safe-keep is more material. It may be a notebook, an iPad, a camera etc...but it's the same central principle of moving through the world and keeping the things you hold dear safe.

As far as design specifics go, there are many similarities. You'll note that they're black, with rounded corners, elastic closure, ivory lining, in case of loss labels and moleskine material construction. So that's the superficial stuff all lining up nicely.

But it's this idea of, rather insistence on, the Open Platform that distinguishes the bags. They are basically a blank canvas. Aesthetically, you can have fun with the ivory lining. Functionally, you choose how to set them up. There are accessory cases and pouches rather than built in areas so you can choose where and how to store and carry your stuff.

They're very personal. They come to reflect how we travel around, whether interstate or into Uni, and who we are. Whether there are plenty of notebooks and pens or just an iPad inside, we only really take what we need and what we need has to be cared for. We need it, after all...I mean, we're moving around a lot, more than ever, so what we take with us is really important. I guess it's all about taking only those things that suit us as individuals. Why shouldn't this idea be extended to the bag that's carrying these things?

I really like the bags, they acknowledge, more than any other bags I've seen, that we're all very individual little people and we all see and move through the day differently. Totally acquiescent to ourselves and our daily adventures.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Just Landed: Whitelines Notebooks!

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Whitelines is here! It's finally here! The unique and interesting concept in creativity has finally hit our shores! It was sufficient news for the Whitelines team in Stockholm to mention it online and sufficient news for all of us here to change notebooks!

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To bring you up to speed, Whitelines is Designed in Stockholm, Sweden - home of the brains behind the idea, Olof Hansson. He calls them non-conflict lines and that term pretty much sums up the whole concept.

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To elaborate, in Olof's words: "We have been using paper with dark lines for ages. You probably used it in school as a child, perhaps tried to put a small minus sign just above the line to make it visible. At work you may have made notes from a meeting and not been entirely sure what a syllable or word meant because it clashed with the dark line crossing over it. You know, the pen makes dark lines and with dark lines on the paper we always have to put in extra effort to separate them."

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The paper itself is a low-glare shade of grey which is designed to reduce glare and again make reading and interpreting easier than on the conventional white with black line counterpart.

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It's more than just a novelty - it works. It's a hit with most people who use it, especially those who have to share their work, upload it, scan it or photocopy it.

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The grid ruling Whitelines in particular is a really handy format. Those little points of detail in the graph, sketch or design which otherwise clash with the dark lines show up incredibly clearly.

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And speaking of design, the 3D Pads are really really cool. The Perspective pad was designed with a Swedish industrial design company and is so handy for thinking on paper about 3D-space.

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And the paper itself is really nice for writing. Whitelines is well reputed among the pedants at theFountain Pen Network though you may have to put the ambers, pinks and turquoises away when using it!

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The formats - lined or squared - are bound in a variety of styles, each of which is tweaked a little to suit the intended purpose. That Hard Wire format is a total winner for me, though i do like the perforations in the soft wire format.

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But it really is the paper which is the star here...or rather, what you write on the paper. Designed as a humble vehicle, ever the deferential medium, it sits back, fades away into absence, and lets your work take the spotlight.

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They say it's all about supporting your creativity, or perhaps, as Behance would say, Showing your ideas some respect! Both very apt indeed!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Just Landed: Ask Alice Stationery!

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Ask Alice is Melbourne's very own design stationery label - all designed and produced from the hand drawn illustrations of designer Sass Cocker.

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Sass is really lovely, great to get in touch with, and comes across as really interested and caring. This clearly translates in her work - a thorough interest in making sure we're all happy!

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It's an idiosyncratically Melbourne range - a closed loop of production that all happens within a few kilometres and turns out stationery that really gets you once you hold it.

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I mean these images look really cute but once you actually hold one of those hard cover notebooks in your hand, you'll be nigh on swooning! That silk linen cover is so nice!

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And i can't help but contemplate that fox's personality as he returns my gaze!

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All products are made from recycled card and paper, printed with vegetable based inks and use minimal packaging - all of which is biodegradable. Notebooks, hard cover books and a really cool postcard book, all from hand drawn sketches by Sass herself.

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Each item is made to be used lovingly, with a feel of quality that only comes with attention to detail and care.