Funding Friday: A Modern Composition Notebook

We are going analog today, pencil and paper analog.

I backed this project to make a modern version of the iconic composition notebook.  Maybe you will like it and back it too 


Comments (Archived):

  1. Matt Zagaja

    I learned long ago that it’s appropriate that paper is made of dead trees because it is where my thoughts and ideas go to die. It surprises me how much the paper notebook works for other people; if I write my ideas down in paper one of three things happens: I forget about it and never see it again, I remember and can’t find it, I find it but cannot read my handwriting.

    1. LE

      that paper is made of dead treesActually the tree is living generally when it is cut. So paper is actually made from live trees. Just like hamburger is made from live cows.I remember and can’t find itCreate an index and keep the index in a text file on the computer.a101 – Thoughts on new supreme court justice (and any keywords)a102 – What to write on birthday card for wifeI am actually trying to work on a similar system for keeping track of paper file folders that are overrunning my office. I have high capacity scanners but no time to scan. So I am just going to take the file folders and create an index and put them in boxes randomly and find what I need by index. (Easier than labeling boxes with content and trying to organize.)

      1. Richard

        The Giving Tree, one of the best short stores of all time.As to your folders, that approach will work approach but refilling will blow it to pieces. Invest in a personal organizer 4x a year

      2. onowahoo

        We’re amputating cows now and keeping them alive while we harvest their meat?

  2. JimHirshfield

    Ya know, about half way through the video, I had this idea that I was going to make a farcical comment about my Kickstarter for the “iconic” pencil. The history and tradition of yellow…the mystery and tragic story of why the eraser is red. A sentimental and nostalgic pull at your heart strings for the “simple lines”…”a pencil for adults”…”a pencil for modern times”. And then the pencil-lady appears front and center in a supporting role. Poof!

      1. JimHirshfield

        Tell me you have seen this.I have seen this.

  3. William Mougayar

    I have a pile of at least 25 of these notebooks dating from the mid 90’s when I started using them. I used to go through 1 or 2 per year, but now going more electronic on the smartphone. https://uploads.disquscdn.c… Now, I’m using a tiny 5×3 notebook size, and most of my notes go into Google Keep, Google Docs and the smartphone’s Notes app. I like the production quality updates in this project, but would have loved to see a smaller size option, and more fancy covers.

    1. onowahoo

      I carry a small pocket notebook but id love to have all my notes automatically transcribe to digital so I can open my pocket notebook and see my larger notebooks’ notes and vice versa. It also helps because most information I keep is not serial but my notes are; the same subject may be on pages 1,3,5,8 and 13 and is like to not flip through to find them.

  4. Jess Bachman

    I’m a big fan of paper, pen, and notebooks. But this kickstarter is some mastaurbatory Bierut worship channeling Jon Ive for sure.Best notebook I used so far, Leuchtturm 1917 Whitelines Link (A4 dotted). Look it up.Leuchtturm makes the best quality notebooks by far. Once i switched to Whitelines I never looked back. And the Link allows me to easily digitally archive all my pages.

  5. Mike Zamansky

    Can’t talk about notebooks without talking about pencils.I’d recommend the Palomino Blackwing 602:

    1. Anne Libby

      Great storytelling in the video.I backed another Kickstarter featuring some of Caroline’s Weaver’s pencils, fun to see her in the video

    2. PhilipSugar

      Learned something new. Thanks.

  6. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Huge case of expensive solution looking for a problem.If something iconic is so, solely for its functionality and low production cost (the staple, bic-biro, paper – clip, flip-flop, styrofoam cup) and you try to make it into something it is not – you waste resource effort and serve nobody except those who have nothing better to worry about.Yes there are expensive versions of all of these – I don’t use them ! And i would question the judgement of anyone who puts value on the deliberately over-priced. I am also annoyed with myself for bothering to be bothered.

    1. Twain Twain

      Some people will happily shell out for a Montblanc Meisterstück notebook which is $390. https://uploads.disquscdn.c…Meanwhile, my day-to-day notepad is the Silvine ($4) which is the only one with narrow lines and paper quality that suits my automatic pencil.https://uploads.disquscdn.c…It’s nice, though, to gift notebooks even in the age of tablets and electronic diaries.

      1. PhilipSugar

        We also use these:…And carry our stuff in these: http://www.saddlebackleathe…But I couldn’t give a crap about many things. But what those buy me is happiness. That is priceless.What makes me happy not might make you happy, and that’s just fine.I travel a ton, and I have had many people look at my dress and my bag and pen and just shake their head. Why care?I only wear shorts and a t-shirt and sandals until it snows. I never wear long pants even when it does snow. My coat is an old barn coat.…I run the Delaware office, the MN office decided for Halloween the contest was who could dress like me!! (they really dress nicely). Priceless!!

        1. Twain Twain

          Whoa, Philip! That’s a serious bag! Those are the types of bag that last 50+ years and are handed through the generations!Best pen in the world is this 0.28mm Uniball Signo which is $2:https://uploads.disquscdn.c…Most OTT is Montegrappa Bruce Lee at $290,555.https://uploads.disquscdn.c…@le @jlm — How’s this for artwork and items held for future generations.

          1. PhilipSugar

            That bag is guaranteed 100 years. And when somebody gets a handwritten not from me on my stationary which I do every day, getting it with a quill pen makes them remember it.

          2. PhilipSugar

            Bought the Pen.

    2. LE

      Huge case of expensive solution looking for a problem.Ok then. What problem does artwork solve? What problem is solved by buying any luxury product that a less expensive product can easily handle? McDonalds solves the hunger problem but so does French Table. A Hyundai solves the transportation problem but so does Porsche. [1] Harvard solves the education problem but so does a community college. This product is about art and enjoyment and the party in your brain. (Harvard has that as well..) Further I know someone who gets a kick about buying those overpriced moleskine notebooks. [2]This is art, a conversation piece and what you think you are when you buy one for those that can appreciate the effort and quality of this product. It’s a coffee table conversation piece.The video gets my “shovel the shit” award for high end quality loved the Jony Ive sounding voiceover.By the way don’t ever forget that you don’t ever own a Patek Philippe, you are only holding it for the next generation.[1] And along those lines who needs a 7 speed manual transmission when the PDK will solve the gear shifting “problem”. I do actually.[2]…… https://uploads.disquscdn.c

      1. JLM

        .Haha, I just gave two expensive Swiss watches to #1 son because I got tired of looking at them. One was the thinnest B & M I’ve ever seen. I had them cleaned and it cost $500/each.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. LE

          Geez. All I got from my Dad when he died was an old Pulsar and a Seiko. Back in the 70’s when it was made you could take your pulse with the pulsar. My niece got a Seiko as well. She actually wears it everyday in college. I think it’s a retro thing with her. My dad inveterate-ly would buy jackets and all sorts of laptop and carry bags. If you went and visited him you ended up with any you wanted as well as all sorts of electronics that he got tired of looking at…https://uploads.disquscdn.c

        2. mikenolan99

          When my dad passed last year he left me a few watches… the most prized was a 1978 Gold Omega. His staff at WIND Chicago – Westinghouse’s AM in the mid-west – kicked in to give it to him. The inscription on the back… 50KW DirectionalOnly means anything to broadcasters… so awesome…

          1. JLM

            .’Great memory.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Lawrence Brass

      I love the feeling of graphite on paper. Digital still don’t get it right, maybe the Apple Pencil? I haven’t tried it yet. Tin box disclosure… When will disqus fix image upload?

      1. Twain Twain

        Digital ink is just so different from graphite …A pencil in the hand is actually a lot more efficient and coherent for the brain than two hands on the keyboard with the occasional press-down of the thumb on the cursor trackpad or one hand on the mouse and its 2-click buttons! https://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.c…It’s just that the computer can hold more content and it connects us to the Web where we can share that content.But, in terms of UX, the pencil is more humanistic.

        1. Lawrence Brass

          How to simulate the drag the paper excerts on the tip? Can texture be simulated on a solid surface with vibrations? Apple’s taptic engines scratch the surface of the possibilities.There is a fundamental requirement for any simulation of the physical world, it is latency. Get over the acceptable limit and the untrained (natural) brain won’t buy it. The first test I do when trying a digital pen is to draw a circle continuously, you will notice the drawn curve chasing the pen tip. The larger the gap the less real it will feel. Have you noticed some notebook or desktop cameras where you can actually see yourself blinking? This is so obvious but yet so often ignored or misinterpreted by hardware and software designers.The real problem is that after some training, the brain will adapt and compensate for any excessive latency if it is bearable, so a suboptimal experience becomes acceptable and sets in. If you are lucky no one will notice and you will be safe. I think of it as leaving an open flank for your competition. Go for near real time if you can afford it.Michael Abrash has been an inspiration over the years, here is a piece of his experience narrated by himself on this issue:http://blogs.valvesoftware….

          1. Twain Twain

            Thanks for sharing!Latency? We can now suspend time itself!*…I swear to goodness that when I was 19 and creating products in the labs of subsidiary, I tried to suspend colored jelly spheres in fizzy orange drinks by viscosity experimentations — similar to Lava lamps except without the heating element to stimulate the oil to rise.https://uploads.disquscdn.c…So simulating the look+feel of graphite on paper is a surface tension and latency problem.Probably, to your grand-daughter, she won’t even have any impression of how graphite on paper is supposed to look because she’ll be conditioned to the Apple Pen and digital ink.Just as this generation have limited experience of what typewriter punches onto ink ribbons transferred onto paper looks like.

          2. Lawrence Brass

            It is always a pleasure to share with you Twain.You make an important point. Is simulation of previous human sensorial experiences worth the effort? Why don’t we invest our time in perfecting the current digital experiences instead?Relating to past experiences, specially childhood, is a very powerful thing. When you can tune in with a whole generation common childhood experiences, you get a handle on which you can build upon. Expose any millenial to 8 bit music and pay attention to the smile in their faces. :)The other side is relating digital experiences with physical nature and humanity which is timeless and independent of generations. As a da Vinci disciple you surely agree with that.Grand daughter experiences are balanced, thanks to her mom and dad, so she uses color pencils and paper too, even water colors. Just this week she gave me a drawing as a present, as she usually does, and I put it on the copier and guided her to operate it to get a copy. She was thrilled waiting for the outcome which somewhat dissapointed her because it was black and white. She grabbed the copy, went back to work and fixed it promptly coloring it just the same as the original. It was very funny.You are a mad inventor since very young! 🙂

          3. Twain Twain

            Haha, likewise, Lawrence, it’s a pleasure to interact with you.Digital experiences with physical nature and humanity:…Re “relating to past experiences, specially childhood, is a very powerful thing,” I’m constantly connecting things I’ve learnt as an adult back, to cross-check with what I thought I knew as a child.The suspension of jelly spheres in a carbonated drink had its origins in the time I first discovered that orange juice curdles milk when I was 6. I wondered why two liquids would produce solids when it wasn’t even cold. I put the mixture into the freezer and wondered if the solids would dissolve and then I’d have a nice orange milk ice lolly, haha.

  7. Thor Snilsberg

    All my ideas start on paper. Every time I have switched to moleskins, legal pads, or my phone – I switch back to composition notebooks. For ages I collected all my notebooks. Recently, I’ve started the practice of flipping through an old one, mining a decade old idea, resource or contact before recycling it.

  8. Sebastian Aldasoro

    I love it. Each time I go to the US or some friend from the US comes to Argentina I ask them to bring me different size composition books. This one looks sweet.

  9. Patrick McKenna

    Finally I get to completely disagree with Fred. The productivity lift to cost increase absolutely makes no sense. Comp priced at $19 for one book and $170 for 10 vs regular notebook cost of $3 each and $24 for pack of 24 (Staples). The beautifully done video highlights the point that the design is not proprietary which is rare for an iconic product. This project wants to reverse this through nearly SNL level faux distinctions. However, I look forward to my Christmas Stocking stuffed with beautiful Comp notebooks because what else do you get the guy who needs nothing and doesn’t wear ties…WGH (With Good Humor)

    1. LE

      The productivity lift to cost increase absolutely makes no sense.I would argue that to some people who are moved by the product quality and price point they would have more creativity when using this notebook. Not me but I can see it having that impact on the right person. You know after you wash a car it seems to drive nicer. I think it’s the smell infused in the car wash liquid.

  10. Patrick Briggs

    It doesn’t solve the two biggest problems with composition notebooks: 1) the margins and line spacing is way too big 2) no graph paper option.I don’t understand why there is a lack of graph paper options, it’s all the people around me use…

    1. Ryan Frew

      The binding itself is the biggest problem with composition notebooks, in my opinion. Spiral notebooks leave the paper on a flat plane, which makes them way easier to write in.

  11. mikenolan99

    I did my whole MBA using small, graph moleskins… still have the stacked up. I now use the slightly larger size… note the “Hairband” hack… makes it easy to clip a pen, slide a receipt are snap loudly to annoy people…Bonus: Exact size of an Ipad Mini.https://uploads.disquscdn.c

    1. LE

      moleskinsI actually just made the same mistake when researching for my comment. It’s ‘moleskine’ not ‘moleskin’. And amazingly the company hasn’t locked up the domain name.

      1. mikenolan99

        I just noticed all the typos in my post… mobile is still a pretty bad environment to write…

        1. jason wright

          Very true.

      2. jason wright

        I’m sure they’ve tried, with money and with lawyers.

        1. LE

          Almost certainly not. This is an easy one to get if you know what you are doing.

    1. Twain Twain

      That Lamy is beautiful (even if it is $70) but I’d remove the clip.For about the same price, there is this pencil:https://uploads.disquscdn.c…I tend to prefer slim pencils rather than cigar-shaped ones.

  12. CJ

    Can I buy into the production team creating the video? Holy Cow! I barely write a page worth of notes traditionally in a year but the video really made me want to purchase this. Well done!

  13. Mario Cantin

    No more pen and paper for me. I’m writing a novel right now on the notes app on IOS. I can type sitting at my kitchen table on my iPad and keyboard, then take pick it up somewhere else with with my iPad mini or iPhone phablet, dictate some passages even, etc., and it all syncs. When I’m done a chapter, I email it to myself and download it to my laptop into MSWord. I keep a zillion thoughts on the notes app and don’t lose them. Later we’ll have chips or nanites in our heads that’ll do the same, and the trees will be free to make oxygen, hopefully…

  14. JLM

    https://uploads.disquscdn.c…My current collection of active Moleskines, which order my life. Some of you reading this are in those notebooks. You know who you are, don’t you?I have notebooks going back to my first year in the Army. In one is the name of a kid who was killed under my command, the first one. I used to trace a dog tag and put the name and other info inside the dog tag and then a check mark when I wrote the letter to his parents.There is blood and mud (from foreign countries) on some of those pages and there is all of me in every one of them.I can remember that moment and what I said in that letter as if it were yesterday but I cannot remember what that kid looked like.I recently found a notebook of my Dad’s which had a letter discussing a fire fight that happened in WWII when he lost a man a couple of days before the end of the war.Our notebooks are our personal history. Sometimes when I go back and read an old notebook, I ask, “Was I really that naive?”The answer is “yes.”JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. LE

      It’s interesting that you are a pack rate for memories. I am the same way. Even if I didn’t sort of know you I would find your things interesting to rifle through.I remember an older mentor-esq guy that I knew. I went into this office and there was nothing laying around no paper nothing to “look at later”. No magazines, no flyers, clean desk nothing on the floor nothing anywhere. Yet it was his office for 20 or 30 years I am guessing.When I was growing up my Dad’s office was always filled with things that he found interesting that he would get to or felt he needed later. At the house he would keep all sorts of things for later reference or artifacts from his time overseas.The “mentor-esq” guy was simply not curious in that way. Or I guess not sentimental. I remember him saying “if I don’t have a use for it now I get rid of it”. The funny thing is whenever he had a question about something he would ask me and/or ask or suck off of others for help instead of having the knowledge or resources himself.For everything I have saved since high school I wish I had saved 10 times as much.

      1. mikenolan99

        My old Computer Science professor – in the 80s – used to have a damn messy desk. Every now and again, he’d sweep everything into a paper box, label it with the date, and stack it against the back wall. There were dozens of boxes. I asked him about his filing system, and he said it worked pretty well – if he really needed something he’d just have to kinda-sorta remember when he last saw it. But he rarely bothered…

    2. William Mougayar

      yup. I can’t part with my old notebooks either, as there’s a part of me in each one, throughout the years.

  15. Salt Shaker

    The tote trumps the note. Buy the tote, get the note. Think they got it backwards.

  16. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:We embrace both methods of physical note writing (Franklin’s system in the nineties) and now digital with Google’s amazing KEEP application. (Hope they Engineers don’t convince the C-Suite at Google to nix and replace as which has become habitual).Not using the Mont Blanc pens would be out of the ordinary. (Bury our pens with us)

  17. jason wright

    I like to jot things down on paper. I’ve got notes scattered all over the house. Last night I woke up at 4 am and scribbled a couple of reminders. Digital is too modern :)The video reminds me of the way Jony Ive prattles on about his latest creation.Waffle.

  18. BillMcNeely

    I backed the project. My long standing legal pad habit ends up in tatters in my backpack. Personally I loved the bounded green military notebooks I used as a platoon leader

  19. Kelly Taylor

    The appreciation for iconic, quality, physical things that aren’t gadgets strikes a chord with me. I work in AI everyday but still get the WSJ delivered each morning. I know that’s weird but I feel like it grounds me in something “real”.

  20. Susan Rubinsky

    Offering these with unlined paper is genius. I buy moleskins and black wire-bound sketch books because I prefer unlined paper. These are in the same price range. LOVE it!FYI, my son buys books similar to the old fashioned Composition books at Artist & Craftsman (in Chicago) that have unlined paper. They are offered in an assortment of colors — both the covers and the paper inside. Of course, these are of low end, low quality construction. But perfect for a poor college student. https://uploads.disquscdn.c

  21. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Ha – So staples are in on this making people buy crazy stuff because”it’s so expensive it must be better !” — “Yeah, we’ve got that.”Staples headed ridiculously up market I guess – OR maybe it’s all over-inflated BS

  22. LE

    All the Patek ads are very metrosexual with actually kinda gay overtones I’ve noticed. Nothing is an accident in high end advertising so I must be right. At least the kid won’t get cancer like the Marlboro man did.

  23. Susan Rubinsky

    I play with markers and colored pencils. I bring black wire-bound sketch books to meetings. I’m the Internet Girl who uses paper and colored pencil to iterate designs for my clients. They love it. They often ask for copies of the sketches at the end of the project. One client framed my sketch and hung it on the wall in his office (this was years ago).