“Write about what you know” was a thing we used to get told in our English lessons at school, and it's an attitude I've since decided applies to design as well. It's a thing I kept in mind during the Sugar Skull Spoon project (coffee is kind of a big deal in our studio) and during the CMYK Playing Cards Kickstarter (CMYK is kind of a big deal with the printers we use, go figure). So THIS TIME we've decided to use the same thinking on our newest product; the Hard Work Notebook.
Notebooks are not a new thing, and if you're like me they're something that takes up a lot of time in stationery stores, I won't lie - I've been known to stroke, flick through and even smell a notebook's pages in a shop. If the stock doesn't smell right I can't own it. This has resulted in a pile of empty notebooks that I love, but just don't use. We set out to design a practical notebook that people can use for any size project, one that is functional and robust enough for you to not be precious over the work you put in it, because in our experience this is when the best ideas are realised.
Some of the problems we have with other notebooks on the market include:
- Paperback covers - making it difficult to keep rigid to work on your knee on the move.
- Lines/graph lines/square print - affecting our propensity for creativity.
- Rubbish spine construction – making it hard to open the book fully.
- Too few pages – projects need to stray into extra notebooks.
- Too many features – gussets and pockets and perforations and elastic straps and integral ribbon bookmarks are all undeniably lovely, but can create a cramped gadgety feel for something that should in the end be a place for you to work through ideas in the freest way possible.
- Fragility – (this is a purely personal one) I once knocked a gin and tonic over during a deadline race and watched all my ideas and scribblings melt into a puddle of alchohol. Some people might say I shouldn't have been drinking on the job, but I absolutely blame the paper stock for this.
Introducing then, our Hard Work Notebook; A labour of love designed to help creative people work more easily. Made from stone.
- 2mm thick hard board covers (with radiused edges) – making writing without a work surface easy, and protecting the pages against damage.
- Flexible fabric covered spine – Allowing the book to open flat on any page without damage or obstruction.
- 256 super smooth stone pages – 20mm thick for people who like to work hard.
- No nonsense construction – 100% uncompromised work space, free from extra cluttered features.
- Isometric print – for 3D work, graphic design and geometric plans.
- Golden ratio print – for architectural designs and website/print layout proportion.
- Waterproof paper made from stone – to help in the fight against spills/tears.
- 130 x 207mm
The Hard Work Notebook measures 130 x 207mm and is perfect for anyone beginning a project in any creative field, the internal pages feature a combined isometric and golden ratio print guide, with a section in the centre stripped back to show a white golden ratio on blue background. Ideal for layouts of websites or work where proportions matter!
If we achieve our target we will use the money to produce a full production run of the notebooks, something which isn't possible without your help! During the Sugar Skull Spoon project I promised to write out hand-written thank you notes to everyone, and though it took AGES I feel like it's the perfect way to express how grateful I was at everyone's support, something I want to do again here.
FAQ: So there are two things we didn't explain well enough the first time round; what stone paper is, and what the golden section is! So here goes... (some of this may or may not be paraphrased from Wikipedia)...
Stone paper (also known as rock paper, paper from waste marble, mineral paper, or rich mineral paper) is a paper-like product manufactured from calcium carbonate.
Stone paper has a number of advantages over traditional paper made from wood pulp. It collects no static charge, is acid-free with a neutral pH value, has no grain, is water, grease and insect resistant, and tears with difficulty due to a latex-like texture. Having no grain, stone paper possesses a smoother surface than most traditional paper products, obviating the need for a coating or lamination. It burns cleanly without toxic fumes. The source of the calcium carbonate is waste material collected from marble quarries and offcuts which are ground and reduced to fine white Calcium Carbonate powder. The production of stone paper uses no water, acid and no bleach or optical brighteners.
The golden section (or golden ratio) is a mathematical description of proportion, based on the Fibonacci sequence, the numbers in this sequence follow a 1:1.61 ratio, which is a proportion found often in nature, because it's such a common form in the natural world, it's seen as pleasing to the senses, and is used as a basis for everything from The Last Supper, to Twitter's page layout. It's a great guide to have when designing compositions or layouts, so we included it in our book!
Risks and challenges
We've got the product to a production-ready stage with a manufacturer who has spent the last 12 months working on samples for us and putting up with constant changes to the design (which we are a lot grateful for), so the quality of the product is set in stone, There are still challenges to overcome though, as always!
The biggest one being delivery times, after two successful projects one of the biggest things I have learned is to over-estimate, rather than under-estimate the time a product takes to freight to the UK, the last two we ran were posted out a few weeks late because of delays in the shipping/unloading at the UK port, to this end we've allowed extra time on the schedule to take this into account, because letting people down on Kickstarter feels terrible!
We've got a shortlist of stretch-goals to introduce along the way too, but these are still being finalised so we'll keep them secret for now!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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