Do You Use a MoleSkine® Notebook?


Posted on February 14th, by Andrew Kelsall in Print Design. 50 comments

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Every-so-often, I read either a blog article or comments section where a designer has mentioned how great the Moleskine® collection of notebooks and diaries are. The last time I read about one was in an article about journal designs by designer, Kyle Steed. I’m not one to follow the sheep, but on this occasion I thought I’d buy one and see what all the fuss is about.

After ordering my Moleskine® Squared Notebook, I received it after about 3 days (shown below). I must admit, I wasn’t overwhelmed by it at first-glance…after all, it was just a notebook.

moleskine-notebook-front

I looked inside to reveal 240 double-sided square-printed-pages. At this point, I did start to see the quality of the acid-free paper it was made from (image below).

moleskine-notebook-squared

The notebook isn’t a diary, although there is quite an extensive range of these notebooks available to cater for various tastes and uses. Overall, the design is I think is rather classy―and very functional. It has an elegant elastic band that keeps the whole thing together when closed, and has a page-separating tassel.

Why did I buy it? Well, when I’m out and about measuring-up large-format prints, etc, it sounds like a better prospect than having a stack of loose pieces of paper…which is usually the case. I also plan to carry it with me anywhere I go, so if I have a logo, poster or other design-related idea, I can jot it down and keep my musings in one place.

Have you ever had a Moleskine®? If so, which one did you buy―and did it aid your designs and idea development in any way?

BTW, whilst we’re on the subject, check out my site dedicated to Paper Art Designs.

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50 Responses to “Do You Use a MoleSkine® Notebook?”

  1. I love the Moleskine range. I love them enough to have written two articles about them for my site, heh :p

    I started with the pocket sized Classic ruled, then received a non-ruled version that had been engraved. I use the Extra Large Cahier ruled for writing my blog posts in first (got my second three-pack of these earlier this year — so, so nice to write in. Cardboard cover makes them easy to carry around too). and earlier this year I got a diary which is just gorgeous.. a day to a page on that beautiful stock..

    welcome to the club ;) It’s a fun addiction

    I find I write the best when writing in them.. i think it’s the feel of the paper, especially against a fineliner or graphite pacer.. it sounds odd, but the sound of the graphite breaking off onto the paper gets me excited and just feels right.. the ideas just flow.. I have no doubt it’s all in my head

    Alex Charchars last blog post..Art Director: Milton Glaser

  2. Have you pinged this to Ice Rocket?

  3. @ Alex,

    I had no idea that you’d written of these notebooks, I’ll have to nip over to your site and take a look at your articles.

    I used mine for the first time last night, to start designing a logo for my wife’s new business. Black ballpoint pens work really well on the paper…I can tell that I am now a convert to the Moleskine way :)

    Sidenote: I’m still having some issues with comment Moderation, hopefully, your next comment should appear right away all going well.

    @ Susan

    Ice Rocket? I think it’s on my pinglist. Is this a great service to ping to?

  4. I’ve been considering buying a few myself – still not fully convinced, though!

  5. @ Richard,

    I wasn’t convinced for the first few minutes, but now I’ve used it, I think I’ll be a long-term user.

    I bought it for £12.50, free delivery, so wasn’t priced too badly either :)

  6. Hi Andrew thanks for the post on my blog, thought I’d check your out in return, looks good.

    Regarding the Moleskine®, seems abit expensive for what really is a notebook full of squared paper! :-) I write so many notes and produces some many scribble that this notebook wouldn’t last long, though it does look great, thanks for sharing!

    Gareth Coxon – Dot Designs last blog post..Identify that font: ‘What the font’ for the IPhone

  7. @ Gareth

    It does seem a bit expensive, in one respect, but this notebook will probably last me all year, so in that respect, I think the quality is worth it. If it wouldn’t last long for you, you must be quite a “jotter” ;)

    Thanks for stopping my my site…

  8. Craig says:

    I use the same Moleskine that you bought above. I love it.

  9. Personally, I don’t see what all the fuss is about, but then again, those new Helvetica moleskins recently launched look quite tasty.

  10. @ Craig

    Maybe great minds think alike

    @ David

    I noticed that you use A4 graph paper for your logo design process. Don’t know if Moleskine do them that size though :)

    I saw the Helvetica Moleskins just the day after I received mine, wish I’d bought one of those red ones instead, but there’s always 2010…

  11. elle says:

    Perhaps I wasn’t aware of the cult like following to the moleskins.. but I too am an addict!

    I don’t do much drawing- just doodles (not a designer), mainly I use mine a lot for notes, concepts, etc- almost anytime I am out, I get ideas and have to write them down otherwise I just lose them… ugh!

    I am on my like 12th moleskin I believe- love ‘em *hearts* .. I know silly, but yes.. if its good enough to blog about right…. =P

    elles last blog post..How Aware Are You Really?

  12. I’m with David, don’t quite see what’s all the fuss about Moleskine, except the prestige and thoughts about Hemingway and Picasso being its first famous fans.
    Recently I bought a spiral notebook by Clairefontaine, 120 grid pages for $4 only (and that’s Canadian dollars), and another spiral sketchpad, also by Clairefontaine, 320 pages for $8 only, very happy with both.

    Red Moleskines are beautiful though :)

    inspirationbits last blog post..Striking Web Sites with Font Stacks that Inspire

  13. I think you’re right about the prestige of using a notebook similiar to Hemmingway and Picasso (turns out they’re not really that alike), but I think a lot of it comes down to the way they’re put together.. the pocket ones are so darn sturdy and well built — they can take a real beating and still look great.. and the stock is lovely to write on ;)

    That being said, I’ve got many notebooks I adore, and they’re not all moleskines — my faveorite books to sketch in are $8 spiral bound things that have a heavier, textured, stock

    Alex Charchars last blog post..Links: Ceramic Letters & Flowers

  14. @ elle

    You’re on your 12th? Wow..you must have a lot of thoughts. I’ve had mine a couple of weeks and have yet to fill 12 pages ;)

    @ Vivien

    Yeah, I have other pads too, but they were all too big for carrying around. To side with you for a moment, I wouldn’t rant-and-rave about them (except for this post, oh coarse), but I think they’re going to be with me, now I have one, until the end. But surely as a designer you’re tempted by the Red Helvetica one?? :)

    @ Alex

    With the detail and effort you put into you’re articles, it doesn’t surprise me that, like elle, you have many notebooks. Keep up the good work…

  15. oh, I’m of course tempted by the Red Helvetica Moleskine, I did admit that :) Though in order for me to write/sketch in it I would have to have at least two Red Moleskines, so I can frame one, and write in another one ;)

    The French notebooks that I got recently, are not bulky at all, I usually prefer carrying and writing/sketching in small to mid-size notebooks.

    inspirationbits last blog post..Striking Web Sites with Font Stacks that Inspire

  16. Hi again Vivian. Oh well, as long as us designers actually USE notebooks & paper, we’re still on the same page…er, mind the pun ;)

    One day I’ll probably be writing a post about the lost art of writing and sketching…but that’ll be a discussion for another day…

  17. Great post. I love my moleskine too, must be on my 6th now I think. The majority have been the same size as above, either plain or lined but I have also had the very small notebook and a couple of diaries along the way. Keep getting them at Christmas.

    For added effect – use a yellow Lamy fountain pen – boardroom standout!

    Ps – love the blog, really interesting and well designed

    James Jacobs last blog post..New Domestic Trailer for G.I. Joe Movie

  18. My pocket Moleskine notebook has changed my whole existence. It lives in my pocket and as such is always there for all my moments of wisdom, clarity, etc. Without such a great little book I used to have many separate sheets of notes which were often lost and which never reached maturity as a result.
    Moleskine rocks

  19. @James

    Wow, your 6th? You must have many thoughts ;)

    I’m not really one for Fountain Pens, just the ‘ol Bic ballpoint for me I’m afraid, but glad it works well for you.

    Thanks for the complement on my my blog design.

    @Dave

    That’s the dilemma that I had, always writing stuff here, there and everywhere! They’re certainly a handy notebook to behold, thanks for commenting…

  20. Never heard of one before now actually, but does David Airey use one because when you see his sketching for his logos it’s on that same sort of lined paper.

    Maybe he just used bog standard ‘school maths paper’ ha ha ;)

    Wouldn’t a maths book do the trick just as well? lol…

    Amanda Vlahakiss last blog post..Where Is Tara & The Weather Pops

  21. Kate says:

    I can’t say I’ve ever owned a Moleskine, but I’ve heard a lot about them (all good – not a single bad remark). I might give one a try in the future, and I definitely think I’m be swaying towards a squared paper one like yours. I currently have a bog-standard notebook from Paperchase, but squared paper nevertheless ;)

    Fab blog though, thinking I’ll add it to my blog roll so I can keep an eye on it.

  22. @Kate

    I’m well-into mine now. Use it for almost everything, and I’ll definitely be buying another once full :)

    Thanks for the compliment…

  23. [...] many photos, here came the most important aspect of the project—measuring-up. I whipped out my Moleskine® notebook at various stages of being escorted around the warehouse to jot-down exact—yes, exact [...]

  24. [...] my thoughts with pen and paper. My tools of choice are a simple black Bic® Ballpoint pen and a MoleSkine® squared notebook. The image below shows how I started the logo design [...]

  25. Have you seen the price of the Helvetica ones?? You’d have to be SERIOUSLY irresponsible with money to even consider it!! Haha.

    They ARE nice and I’ve used them in the past but I honestly don’t think the quality is any better than the higher quality offerings at WHSmith. That’s what I use now and I think they’re brilliant.

    I’d love to rely solely on moleskines but I can’t justify it – when I design, I scribble ALL over the place, colour hex codes, pixel dimensions, enclosing div ids, etc etc. and I go through paper quicker than a curry house toilet.

  26. @Luke → Pricey? Yes—but now I’ve been using one for over 6 month, I’ve found it useful because it was a pricey book. It makes me remember to write every thought so I won’t loose random pieces of paper. I know that their all in one place, in a quality notebook. Yeah, I could choose a cheaper one, but I’ve bought the ‘ol WHsmith type in the past. Did I write all my thoughts and ideas in these books? No.

    I’m sticking with the Moleskine ;)

  27. Daniel says:

    I like the Moleskine line. I used to have a lined journal for when I was more of a writer, but I recently bought the same one you have, the medium hardcover notebook with squared pages. I haven’t found any other notebooks with squared pages, and I like that it’s easier to draw in this than a lined notebook. I also have small handwriting, and the grid is smaller than the lines, so it all works out well.

    I carry mine around with me everywhere I go along with a set of colored pencils and a pen. I like to sketch things I see that might be good inspiration for future designs.
    .-= Daniel´s last blog ..Design-a-day, round 2 =-.

  28. fjpoblam says:

    I like Moleskines, too. But I keep going back and forth, tending to favor a notebook that also comes in that variety of sizes: Rhodia. Made in France. High grade vellum.

    You can find them in art stores. My favorite is the little 2.9X4.1in., cross-ruled – fits nicely in my vest or shirt pocket. Nice thing about Rhodia is, you can sketch out a note or drawing, then remove the page (perforated at the top).

    I like the small Moleskine, though: that secret pocket in the back!

  29. i’ve had a moleskin for about a year or more now and i love it. no rules on the inside, just blank pages. the quality of the book is inspiring and the pages just scream out for artwork.

    a guy i know out in portland also laser engraves covers for them with your (or any other chosen) design. he used to be able to engrave right on them but apparently laser engraving the moleskin itself releases some sort of toxic chemical?

    worth the look: http://www.engraveyourbook.com/

    here’s a glimpse of mine: http://bit.ly/5CbpF5

  30. I only wish the grid lines weren’t so heavy in Moleskines. I like Miquelrius grid color and weight a bit better :]
    .-= Bruce Colthart (@bccreative)´s last blog ..Spontaneity – and Tedium – in A Street Concert Broadside Design: A Dissection =-.

  31. @Daniel, fjpoblam, Steve & Bruce → Thanks for all your input :)

  32. Ricky says:

    Yes I love my Moleskines. I carry 2 with me everywhere I go. One is for sketching and one is for writing and planning blog posts and such. I’ve used the blank variety for years now and LOVE ‘em!
    .-= Ricky´s last blog ..How To Repel Friends & Frustrate People – Part 2 =-.

  33. countzeero says:

    At the risk of sounding elitist I have to say I have been using moleskines for years. I use the unlined pocket notebooks when out and about and have the same squared one that you bought for meetings and on my desktop. They aren´t the cheapest but they are tough and the paper quality means it is a pleasure to write and scribble upon. Welcome to the moleskine user club!

  34. Love the moleskine notebooks. I use the Small and large blank ones to jot ideas and notes on.

    Small one is ideal to stick in a bag or pocket.

    Moleskines are actually a joy to use as well and you find yourself using them more because of that.

  35. Im one of those people ‘irresponsible’ enough with their money to order the helvetica moleskines… so beautiful.

    We are designers! We spend tons of money on nice apple computers… what’s a few (or more than a few) measly bucks on a nice notebook?
    .-= Niki Brown | The Design O’Blog´s last blog ..What To Include In Your Graphic Design Portfolio =-.

  36. @Ricky → I’ve nearly filled my squared one now, so I think I’m going to try one with blank pages next. See how it goes…

    @countzeero → Yes, I think I’ll be in the moleskine user club for the foreseeable future :)

    @Ralph → I have definitely found the joy of just using a single notebook to collate all my thoughts and ideas. Before, when I just used the odd piece of paper here and there, I never wrote designs ideas for other projects, as they would just get lost. Now I’m using a Moleskine, I tend to write everything down as it’s a joy to use.

    @Niki → Yeah, I agree. I tried to buy one of those Helvetica Moleskines when they first came out, but couldn’t get hold of one :D

  37. Gemma says:

    I have the A4 grid notebook for my layout wireframing work and I also use it for sketching logo concepts. I got one from Amazon.co.uk for about a tenner. It is a joy to use and I’m unlikely to go with any other brand.

    I also recently started part time art classes so I’m going to be getting a sketchbook from Moleskine soon for my sketches and ideas. I’ll be enrolling on the Foundation Diploma course at my local college next year and I have to build my portfolio this academic year so these Moleskine sketchbooks will come in very handy.

    Well worth the price.

  38. @Gemma → I hope your Foundation Diploma course goes well; a Moleskine will be a fine companion :)

  39. Gemma says:

    Thanks. I’m planning on buying these Pac Man limited edition Moleskin notebooks too from Amazon, they remind me of the 80s and they look cool. Check them out if you haven’t already! :)

  40. [...] published recently on SkineArt.com, a gallery where uses submit their creative works produced in Moleskine® notebooks (Moleskine is pronounced mol-a-skeen’-a).Here’s the blurb about the image I [...]

  41. [...] Dominic to answer some questions about the proposed logo design, I set to work sketching in a Moleskine® notebook.↑ Here is a print-out of the final design. As can be seen, the design is based on guitar-pegs.↑ [...]

  42. [...] CD Sleeve design. As always, I sketched a rough plan of my intended illustration. Nowadays, I use a Moleskine® Notebook to collate my thoughts and ideas.◥ As can be seen in the image above, I only required a very [...]

  43. Belgie says:

    A friend gave me a Moleskine pocket sketchbook for my birthday last year. In the last year, this little sketchbook has become an almost constant companion, accompanied by a small bag of Prismacolor pencils. I’ve never been able to keep a written journal for more than a few days, but my Moleskine has become a visual journal. It’s the perfect size to slip into a bag, purse, or even a pocket, and unlike many sketchbooks, is so well bound that it can take almost anything without losing a single page.

  44. Gemma → I’ll check them out…

    Belgie → Yeah, they are made of such quality materials that you wan to look after it – and use it too. I’m on my second now, and they’re great to work with.

    Thanks for commenting…

  45. [...] involvement.Stage 1: Mindmapping and sketchingLike all of my logo design projects, I get out my Moleskine® and get to work away from the Mac:↑ Mind-mapping and initial sketches.↑ Further sketching and [...]

  46. Michale Boldosser says:

    I am curious to find out what blog system you happen to be utilizing? I’m experiencing some small security problems with my latest site and I’d like to find something more safeguarded. Do you have any suggestions?

  47. aris says:

    i have 2 unruled and 1 big organizer. i love these things.

  48. Sara says:

    I use Moleskine for EVERYTHING. I have a small sketch book for when I dont carry my backpack. Other than that, I journal in a lined soft cover, I sketch and work on designs in a large unlined notebook (more pages than the sketchbook)

    Im fairly certain I have a problem.. But the paper quality is a big deal for me, and I dont mind spending a little more on a sketchbook that will last me a long time even after I fill it up.

  49. Martins says:

    Here is a smashing new sketchbooks just coming to an attention of designers,architects and other creative professionals. Rustic and robust handcrafted feel with quality materials such as keaykolour recycled paper, absorbing all popular mediums and not only. They are called BlokBooks https://www.facebook.com/blokbook
    What do you think?

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