Moleskine - A Noteworthy Companion

Sketches by Karim Rashid

Few notebooks elicit such strong emotions as the little black Moleskine. Whether you love Moleskine notebooks for their portability and smart design, or loathe them for their price and pretentiousness, the slim little booklet boasts a legendary history that accounts for its cult status.

As the story goes, it was the canvas of choice for artistic greats like Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh, and Hemingway, who presumably penned The Sun Also Rises in one while frequenting Parisian cafes.

Drawing by Dave Eggers

And while the Moleskine as we know it— based on a description of handsome bound notebooks that travel writer Bruce Chatwin purchased from a now-shuttered French bookbinder—was established in 1997, the sleek volume can’t help but recall its prolific past, suggesting that you, too, could compose a masterpiece upon those glorious eggshell pages.

Collage by Mary Ellen Mark

With its comforting rounded corners, butter-soft cover, and handy elastic strap, the Moleskine has inspired contemporary creative types to continue the tradition. The iconic brand celebrates many of these creations through Detour, an ongoing travelling exhibition of notebook musings from present-day artists, designers, and writers curated by Raffaella Guidobono that began in 2006.

Collage by Christian Lacroix

Offering an insider’s peek at different creative processes, the project reveals that there are more ways than one to use a Moleskine: Tord Boontje cuts his up into his signature animal shapes, while Dave Eggers uses his to doodle. It is used by Toyo Ito, Sigur Rós, and Ross Lovegrove for sketching, Christian Lacroix and Mary Ellen Mark for collage, and Spike Jonze for cartooning.

Sketches by Toyo Ito

So the next time you find yourself bent over a desk, pencil in hand, ready to fill up a Moleskine with your magnum opus, don’t fret while you’re waiting for that bolt of inspiration to strike. Instead, remember that you’re in good company.

 Tiffany Jow


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