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Take Notes: Nine Digital and Analog Notebooks

by Leonora Oppenheim
on 29 August 2008

In the spirit of the back-to-school season, this week we highlight a few products to help keep you organized and productive as you resume your routine.

Everyone needs a good notebook whether at school or work. They are our to-do lists, diaries and scribble pads. Although we like the traditional Mead and Five Star varieties, the following are our selection of eco-friendly, well-designed or just plain pretty notebooks.


Awagami - +1 Notebooks
Awagami is a Japanese stationary company steeped in the 300 year tradition of Washi papermaking. The Awagami+1 series was released earlier this year, and features these notebooks, designed by Craig Anczelowitz (pictured above). They come in hand-printed Yuzen paper or the more subtle Syurro, which is made from eco-friendly rice straw paper. You can find them at select stores in four continents.

Remarkable - I used to be...Notebooks
All of Remarkable's products are made from all different kinds of recycled UK waste, hence the phrase "I used to be." Featuring a whole range of notebooks including A4 and A5 sizes which use recycled paper, covers are made from car tires and retail waste such as food, fashion and gift packaging. You can also check out their pens and pencils made from materials such as CD cases, plastic cups and polystyrene packaging. A fun, funky and eco-friendly brand, purchase their notebooks for £4 at Remarkable.


Mateo Ilasco - Ikat + Stitch Tree Journals
Beautiful journals created by designer, writer and illustrator Meg Mateo Ilasco, each cover is hand screen-printed around a 60-page sewn quality textblock from Italy. It measures 4.75" x 7" and uses recycled paper. The journals come as a pair, one Ikat journal (above left) and then your choice of either the blue or yellow Stitch Tree journal (above right). They are available to buy online at eco-boutique Beklina for $36.


The Cottage Industry - Portait / Landscape Sketchbook
A thoughtfully designed sketchbook, pages gradually shift from from portrait to landscape format as you progress through the pages. Start from either side and work your way through the 210 differently sized pages accommodating any situation. It was designed, created and hand-bound in the Netherlands as a signed limited edition of 500. The Cottage Industry is a collaboration between designers Damian O'Sullivan and Lisa Smith who are based in Rotterdam. Purchase the Portrait / Landscape Sketchbook for €55 from The Cottage Industry.


Vickery - The Himalayan Journal
The Himalayan Journals measure 9.25" x 13" and are made with 96 pages of Lokta paper from Nepal. The hand made paper is sourced from the bark of the Daphne bush which grows naturally in the Himalayas at altitudes of 6000 to 10,000 feet. Lokta produces a soft and strong acid-free paper with a natural color and beautiful texture. They are available to buy online from Vickery at $36.


Moleskine - Volant Notebooks
We can't fault the classic Moleskin notebooks for becoming so popular. They are still every bit as desirable as when Hemingway used them. However, we also like the variations and themed products that Moleskin are now producing. Simple, chic and practical, the new Volant series come in ruled or plain acid-free thread bound paper and are sold in pairs of contrasting shades of the same colour—blue, green, pink or black. There's a size for every conceivable need—extra small, pocket and large. Available from Mojo starting at £4.


Another eco-friendly variety, Myndology notebooks use 100% recycled products, are printed with soy ink, produced using hydroelectric energy and come in an array of different sizes and colors. Designed by Duffy & Partners, they are similar to a three-ring binder in some respects. Disc Binding allows you to pull out sheets of paper, re-organize and put them back in. Reusable, refills are also available so you potentially never have to purchase another notebook again. Available for $3 to $10 at select retailers and online at Myndnology.


One of the more slept-on features of iPhones in our opinion is the ability to ditch paper products in favor of applications that do more than simply provide a place to jot down thoughts. Omnifocus is one such helpful tool, managing tasks with technology that makes it effortless to prioritize, organize and sync with Mac. You can download a free trial or purchase a license for $80 from The Omni Group.

Like Omnifocus, Evernote seamlessly syncs across multiple platforms but the emphasis here is on capturing and organizing information using any number of methods, including pictures, email, screenshots, audio recordings and more. A basic account is free but you'll have to pay $5 monthly or $45 for the year to get the premium service that enables more data uploading.

Other Cool Hunting favorites include the Muji Chronotebook, Behance, Studio Matador and Start Here Notebooks.

With contributions by Ami Kealoha, Doug Black and Tim Yu

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