Look around. What’s on your desk right now? A workspace is both a reflection and an extension of the brain. Pens write thoughts into notebooks, books inspire ideas and coffee cups reveal how many hours we’ve slept. In 2013, a study from the University of Minnesota even suggested that a messy desk can boost creative thinking while a tidy one can encourage habits like healthy eating.
Whether muddled or methodical, there’s likely some form of paper and a writing tool around. While your ideas might be the same no matter what you choose to write them on or with — if Elon Musk writes you business advice on the back of a napkin with a crayon, you take it seriously — presentation matters. You wouldn’t show up to an important meeting wearing a dirty shirt or muddy sneakers. You want your appearance to communicate to people that they can rely on you. A notebook and pen are accessories, and their attractiveness and sophistication transfer to the owner just like clothes.
But it’s not only about how others perceive you. It’s about how you perceive yourself, how seriously you take your own ideas. Tools give us creative permission. The right camera can be the catalyst for a photographer to start a project. The right piano can prompt a musician to write a song. The right notebook and pen can encourage a person to explore new concepts, connect the dots between them and bring ideas to life.
But if an idea isn’t written down immediately, it’s at risk of being forgotten and lost forever. So whether you’re looking for an emblem of your dependability and aptitude or the creative permission to start a new project, the following notebook and pen brands will make sure you never lose another.
One way to inspire creativity is to break out of regular routines and habits. It’s as simple as taking a different route home from work. That’s the idea behind nuuna’s Not White notebooks. You might have been a child the last time you wrote on colored paper — with not a care in the world and no concept of conformity.
But nuuna’s notebooks aren’t made for children. They’re thoughtfully designed in Frankfurt for ease of use and constructed using sustainable materials such as recycled leather, traditional bookbinding linen and premium opaque 120 g Munken paper. nuuna’s Not White notebooks come in yellow, red, blue, grey and black, and the bold colors extend to every page. Each one also features a practical strap that holds a phone and pen.
Since the 18th century, Pforzheim — or Goldstadt (Gold City) as it’s nicknamed — in southwest Germany has been famous for its watchmaking and jewellery industries. Waldmann was founded here in 1918 and the company continues to use the handcrafted techniques likely learned from the region’s watch- and jewellery-makers.
The Tuscany Ballpoint Pen is named for its shape which resembles the Tuscan cypress tree. While there’s a choice of three metals, the 24ct. gold plated edition is pure elegance. If you’re looking for something truly special, you won’t find another like it.
British paper goods brand ola works exclusively with UK-based manufacturers to create items inspired by architecture and abstract geometry. Great design is about practicality and usability but also providing joy to those using a product. The team behind ola combines all three and the Layflat Notebook is a perfect example. The “Layflat” design makes it easy to use while the Sol print and clean construction make it a pleasure.
For some, committing something to paper without the option of erasing it is inconvenient or anxiety-inducing. Kaweco has been making writing implements for almost 150 years and pencils since the beginning of the 20th century.
This special edition Mechanical Pencil has a clean design and looks as sophisticated as a quality pen.
The idea behind NOTEM’s Even Notebook is to simplify your workday by putting everything in one place. It features different page layouts to organise everything from to-dos and appointments to projects and one-off notes. The green hardcover is stylish and refined, ideal for those taking note of how they present themselves in professional settings.
Otto Hutt was founded in 1920 by Karl Hutt. A fervent supporter of the Bauhaus movement, Hutt started the company to introduce Bauhaus principles to the design of fine silver writing implements. To this day, Otto Hutt is an emblem of craftsmanship, manufacturing expertise and technical precision.
The design 03 Fountain Pen is a sleek and modern design that combines past with present. It’s perfectly balanced to sit comfortably in the hand and each is engraved with a unique six digit code. Feeling fancy? Add an 18ct. gold nib for good measure.
What distinguishes Monograph’s Tome notebook from the others we’ve included are the index tabs that make it simple and efficient to organise. It also includes ruled, dotted and plain pages making it flexible depending on your needs.
Monograph is part of the Society of Lifestyle brand which designs unique homeware items for considered and creative homes. It is informed by Scandinavian design principles blending style with purpose.
Words: Aaron Howes