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.

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