Probably one of our most recent design classic the Moleskine comes from an Italian manufacturer, papermaker and product designer and was co-founded in Milan in 1997 by Maria Sebregondi.
Moleskine produces stunning re-imagined classic notebooks stylised to follow the aesthetics of a ‘traditional’ black notebook with rounded corners and ivory-coloured paper. Bound in cardboard with a sewn spine that allows the notebook to lie flat. An elastic band is used to seal the cover, a ribbon bookmark is included along with an expandable pocket inside the rear cover.
As the historical note found in each Moleskine’s expandable pocket tells us, legendary authors, including Hemingway and Chatin and artists, Van Gogh and Picasso, used simple rectangular black books with rounded corners sealed with an elastic strap as made by a small French bookbinder. Indeed it appears that this notebook was Bruce Chatin’s favourite and it was he who christened it “moleskin”.
In 1986, the family owned manufacturer of the little black notebook in the French city of Tour went out of business which prompted Chatin, prior to his departure for Australia, to try to buy as many copies as he could, with little success.
Maria had the idea of resurrecting the iconic notebooks and put it to Modo & Modo who subsequently trademarked the Moleskine brand and began production. By 1998, Modo & Modo were producing 30,000 notebooks a year.
In 2006, with demand apparently outstripping supply, Modo & Modo SpA was purchased by the private equity firm, Syntegra Capital. In August 2006, investment fund Société Générale Capital purchased Modo & Modo SpA, and invested in its continued expansion and diversification, changing its name to Moleskine Srl.
In March 2013 the company announced an IPO, becoming a joint-stock company and renamed Moleskine SpA.
Moleskine’s assessment of their simple and beautiful product is that “it represents, around the world, a symbol of contemporary nomadism, closely connected with the digital world.”
My Moleskine Notebook: I have used two notebooks for years Moleskin is my preferred notebook when travelling or in meetings. Its ivory acid free paper is very forgiving for my scruffy handwriting and its size sits well next to my iPad.
Given the final comment from Molekine, just above, I have been in numerous meeting particularly with those involving either an entrepreneur or an investor in the world of digital media and the vast majority arrive with a pen and their little – usually black -Moleskine.
There are other beautiful colours available, my wife particularly loves the red version, which I suspect stands out well in the dark depths of a large handbag.
Your Moleskine Notebook: Please feel free to share your experiences of Moleskine notebooks. We’d really like to hear them.
Photo from Moleskine