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New Designs from Moleskine

December 6th, 2011 · No Comments · Arts

It’s that time of year again to run out and get your 2012 Moleskine Planner or Journal. In the past few years, Moleskines have gotten extremely popular. For those who don’t know the history of the Moleskine, it was a popular type of notebook made by a small French bookbinder who supplied all of the stationery shops in Paris by the late 1800s. The original notebooks were a simple black rectangle with rounded corners, an elastic page holder, and an internal expandable pocket. Pretty soon, luminaries such as Vincent Van Gogh, Ernest Hemmingway, Pablo Picasso, and just about anyone else who  passed through Paris.

Despite their popularity, by the 1980s the notebooks had all but disappeared. But in 1997, a small publisher in Italy started to make them again, and it picked up where it left off as a favorite among artists and travellers. Today, it seems that you can’t walk into any bookstore, stationery, or airport gift store without seeing a big display of Moleskine planners and journals.

The original Moleskine design is still available in the form of journals, notebooks, and sketchbooks. Recently, they also started to introduce neat licensed designs such as this Pac-Man design.

I recently had the pleasure of trying out a new set of Moleskine Ruled Journals.


These are a little different from Moleskine’s traditional design. They’re 8 1/2″ x 11″ notebooks with thin lined paper inside, perfect for writing long travel journals.

Moleskine has had a feature on its Web site since 2009 where artists can submit artwork they’ve made in their Moleskine notebooks.  In the last two years, over 2400 images, drawings, and paintings have been submitted. This year, in celebration of this creativity Moleskine created a new collection called The Cover Art collection which consists of three Journals and four Diaries/Planners. Moleskine decided to select a handful of artists whose work to feature, and for each piece of artwork chosen, Moleskine makes a donation to a charity of the artist’s choice. Here’s a video explaining the concept:

The artists of these notebooks is Paul Wang, and the charity he chose is Urban Sketchers, an art organization devoted to the craft of location drawing. When you fold out the cover of each notebook, you see a beautifully drawn sketch.

This one is called “Old Oil Shop”. It’s a depiction of a grocery shop in Hong Kong with all kinds of cooking oils and preserved vegetables which evokes life in old-time China.

hong kong scene

This one is called “Wet Market”, and depicts a grocery stall in a district in Hong Kong called Shum Shio Po best known for its street markets.

hong kong market

(If you’d like to purchase these for yourself, they’re available on Amazon).

All are handmade and are even numbered with a quality control number. Overall, these notebooks were beautiful and in a funny way the quality and craftsmanship of these notebooks adds a bit of prestige and class to whatever you’ll write or draw in it. Whether you’re writing deeply personal words in a journal or the next great literary masterpiece, why write it in a cheap spiral notebook from a cheap office discount store, when you can write in a beautiful notebook that’s helped inspire great artists around the world?


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