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From a notebook...'that notebook'

Arguably, ‘the notebook’ is one of the most personal day to day items one will use and becomes more so every time an entry is added.

To many, a notebook is simply a bundle of papers bound together with a cover attached. But the truth is a notebook records history in the making. What at the time is a simple scribble or unimportant note can often turn out to be a critical insight into the past. For those who collect their notebooks, they will become a point of reference and offer the opportunity to flick back in time.

The ‘notebook’ is a place which harbors everything from our to-do lists to our deepest thoughts and feelings. It’s a place where ideas are born, seeds sown, important business notes penned, first sketches doodled and even the initial outline of books written.

This most treasured piece must therefore incorporate so very key design features. One of my most frequent questions I’m asked is ‘How can you make a notebook unique?’ ‘It’s simply a book of blank paper’… how wrong they are! They key is in the detail.

Unisex – A well designed book should be stylish enough to be unisex but also gender specific if required.

Cover – this must be tactile, classy, timeless and elegant.

Colour – A strong selection of cover colours is vital. The details and features should be unisex but the cover colour can be gender defining.

Elastic – too thick and it looks basic, too thin and it looks cheap, to weak and its fails to serve its purpose and too strong it’s unusable.

Ribbon – thickness and texture is critical. Plain nylon gets dirty and looks cheap; a simple texture such as gross grain adds a beautiful detail and gives good light reflection and deflects dirt. A texture should complement the cover and adds subtle and tactile detail which is so subtle you would only notice it if it wasn’t there.

Page count – this is very personal. In general a well-designed book should have enough pages to last, but not so many one is still using the same notebook for years. We all love starting a new notebook! Physiologically a fresh start and a shiny new product is important especially for a product with a luxury feel.

Paper – Colour, weight, functionality and personality are key features. White is basic, cream is sophisticated. White reflects light, cream does not.

Paper weight - heavy but not too heavy. The book must be light in weight to ensure they are usable but paper thick enough not for ink to run through.

Lines – too wide looks average, too narrow and it’s impossible to use. Too dark looks harsh and the page looks messy when written on, or worse, opening a book with lines more akin to a zebra crossing and our imagination will shut down immediately! The design of the pages must encourage us to put pen to paper.

Spine – stitched and glued. A book where the pages fall out is pointless. We must be able to rely on our trusty friend to stay in one piece! Pages should always lie flat when opened. Perforations are helpful useful as they allow us to share pages but not make a mess when ripping gout pages.

Branding – for a timeless design, branding must be un-obtrusive yet memorable, eye-catching and tactile- a tall order! Your customer must be able to buy into a brand and the entry to this is your logo. For Rollo London, every piece has a striking 3D Greyhound dog charm adorning the front cover and a blind emboss on the rear cover.

Tipped page edges – Gold or silver tipped pages add je ne sais quoi.

End papers – add a pattern or a plain colour.

Pocket – a little place to keep those important extras. Particularly useful for business cards or material swatches!

Personalisation – add initials, the outline of a favourite animal or even a quite on the tipping pages…

Corners – square or rounded, angled or straight? Rounded is always stylish, hard to damage looks and by far the smartest long term.

A notebook is just a bundle of papers? Most definitely not! The design of a notebook is incredibly personal. Notebooks will be used by males and females of all ages and walks of life. Everyone from accountants, artists, authors, teachers, entrepreneurs, teachers, new mothers / fathers … the list goes on… no one design will fit all but certain traits or features are similar throughout and a will designed notebook will subtly embrace all of these.

For Rollo London notebooks, a combination of a tactile cover, textured ribbon, beautiful paper, striking 3D logo, gold tipped pages and beautiful belly band are to name a few, just some of the many key design features which make these notebooks so special.

Visit to purchase your own Rollo Notebook

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