Once upon a time in February, I casually tweeted that I was picking up a new Moleskine at my local Chapters. Specifically, I mentioned that I was making a move to a Plain Moleskine from the Ruled and Squared ones that I was previously using.

What followed from this single, unassuming tweet about my preference in notebooks, was a string of replies from others who were equally passionate about the type of Moleskines that they felt were superior.

It’s funny that, at some point, the Moleskine became an icon in the industry for creative ideas. If you held one walking down the street, others would immediately assume you were amongst a creative class. At coffee shops, you’d get subtle nods of approval from others who you could only assume were also creative because you saw them with a Moleskine. You’d even snicker silently anytime you’d meet with someone who, heaven forbid, was using a different brand of leather-bound notebooks. The Moleskine would end up giving you more than just 240 yellowish acid free pages – it’d give you social status. (At $27.99 a piece, it better.)

But back to the point. It dawned on me while seeing everyone’s tweets that, not only was there a cult following behind these humble little notebooks, but that everybody uses their Moleskines differently. Everyone has a system, a convention and a ritual that defines the way a Moleskine fits into their lives. This sparked some curiosity, so I dm’d a few fellow Moleskinners and asked: how do you use your Moleskine? With their permission, I’ve posted their responses below.

Karim Awad
Principle & Creative Director at Big Time Design & Communication

What Moleskine style(s) do you use? 

I mostly use the grid 8.25” x 5” although I have a few plain page small sketchbooks and a couple larger format grids I use as well. The planners work well and I’ve also found the address books at the back are a great little lined book to use.

Why do you use that/those styles?

I like the grid most of all because I can write notes in an organized fashion, sketch out layouts for design with a bit of scale yet, draw and paint overtop of the grids without being restrained by them.

How many Moleskines have you used in total?

20 or more.

Bretton MacLean
Principle & Designer at TweetAgora & Guardly

What Moleskine style(s) do you use?

I use all kinds of Moleskines: I’ve got a small ruled notebook, a couple grid notebooks, some ruled notebooks, a blank one for sketching, and some cahier style notebooks I used to take notes on books I really liked (like Getting Things Done and Thinkertoys).

Why do you use that/those styles?

They all serve their purpose; the small one is nice to carry around to capture random ideas. The ruled notebooks are obviously great for general writing, the blank one is best for sketching because it doesn’t impose any structure, the cahier is good for writing that won’t necessarily fill a regular-sized notebook but needs its own space, and the grid style is great for design because it’s easy to create a grid and make things that have proper proportions.

The grid squares in a moleskine are exactly 5cm by 5cm, so I like to make a mm-to-px assignment (such as 1mm=4px for an iPhone design, or 1mm=7px for an iPad/website design), and use a small ruler to make nearly pixel-perfect sketches. I usually start with rough sketches on the back of an index card, then transfer them to my reporter-style grid notebook to get the proportions right. Index cards that I haven’t fully transferred over can be conveniently stored in the cover-pocket!

How many Moleskines have you used in total?

I’ve used 10 different moleskines…which is probably a little crazy. I’m a big fan of Tim Ferriss’ indexing system, which starts by numbering the upper right corner of each right-hand page. Once a page is completed, you add an entry to your index (inside the front or back cover). If it’s a left-hand page, just take the prior page and add .5 to it (more awesome note-taking geekery here)

Nathan Garvie
Interactive Designer at Crispin Porter + Bogusky

What Moleskine style(s) do you use?

I use a plain for doodling lessons I want my future self to remember, analog inspiration capture, mind maps for brainstorming on projects and sketching design concepts. More recently, I’ve used it for quick mobile wireframes. I made a quick, to scale, card stock cut out of an iphone screen size as a basic screen tracer. Really useful. I use my ruled almost exclusively for notes and mind maps at work, thus the company logo letterpressed on the front.

Why do you use that/those styles?

Using plain doesn’t put any restraints on my thoughts or the form they take. I found using grid and ruled made my work too geometric and lost their hand made form. I enjoy the messiness that plain allows me to have. Plain is also easier for scanning if I ever want to use something in a design.

How many Moleskines have you used in total?

My count has 6 used up.

And of course, this survey wouldn’t be complete without including some of our very own hardcore Moleskinners…

Chris Appleton
Designer at Jet Cooper

What Moleskine style(s) do you use?

Plain Reporter Notebook Large. (horizontally) And the small notebooks for tasks. I keep the smaller ones in the large notebook.

Why do you use that/those styles?

I prefer using the reporter style because I’m able to use it in landscape mode. This is helpful for sketching out layouts, especially since it matches the orientation of the screen. Also, when designing for print, it can accommodate sketches of full spreads. Generally, I find I tend to write/draw in multiple columns across the page. Since the pages are blank, I can essentially create new layouts with each page – full page for one big idea, or a collection of small thumbnail sketches and notes.

How many Moleskines have you used in total?

Definitely 20 +

Arati Sharma
Operations Manager at Jet Cooper

What Moleskine style(s) do you use?

Appleton inspired me to make the move to the plain reporter notebook large (horizontal) for projects, and the plain notebook large (vertical) for operations and communications planning. Also, I think I’m an artist on weekends…so I bought the lovely (LOVELY) large sketchbook. It’s a beaut.

Why do you use that/those styles?

The plain notebook is critical for my workflow, I feel like lines and grids hinder my brainstorming/doodling. I use the reporter style for projects, so I can organize different project notes/tasks on post-its. I forward post-its from one week to another to keep certain notes top of mind. I always leave a note for myself on where it’s gone to!

I use the plain vertical notebook for meetings that have to do with operations and communications planning. It sounds silly, but I feel like it’s made for ‘big thinking’.

How many Moleskins have you used?

I think around 5, but I have a bunch of ‘pretty’ notebooks, that I write in all the time (around 20+).

Andrew Peek
Futurist at Jet Cooper

What Moleskine style(s) do you use?

I have a lined moleskine (is there a proper name for it?). The grid is a little to much precision for me and the blank canvas doesn’t really support my desire for “pages and pages of endless babble”.

Why do you use that/those styles?

I’ve always used a lined moleskine because I’ve always fancied myself a writer trapped in a businessperson’s body. I like doodling, but not as much as a good story, or stream of consciousness. I like graphs, but I feel that they have a tendency to box me in (pun intended) when it comes to my imagination.

How many Moleskines have you used in total?

This is my 3rd moleskine.


How do you use your Moleskine?

So how about you? Do you have a preferred Moleskine style? What are your systems, conventions and rituals? Share it on your own blog and drop us a link in the comments!

  • Anonymous

    Great read! I think my next moleskine is going to be a plain reporter large notebook – I like the idea of “landscape mode”…

    • Anonymous

      I like that too! I have one waiting for me, but I’ve got a few pages left in my current grid book! hah

  • http://www.afshinmousavian.com Afshin

    awesome read – I love using the plain reporter, thanks to

     
    @aratisharma:disqus

  • Andrew Peek

    Arati’s moleskine scares the shit out of me.

  • http://twitter.com/aratisharma Arati Sharma

    I love my notebook, Dru. It looks like my calendar ;) 

  • http://twitter.com/verneho Verne Ho

    Chris still gets my vote for most badass use of Moleskines. Nothing beats a 2-page spread of doodles that visually represent an entire meeting’s action items.

  • Anonymous

    Did anyone notice my Moleskine elastic hack? 

  • http://twitter.com/verneho Verne Ho

    Definitely! Though I’m wondering why your elastic gets so stretched out… lol

  • Jane

    OMG VERNE! it’s you.  I don’t know if you remember me but it’s Jane from a long time ago.

  • http://www.lizamae.com Liza Mae

    I use different types of methods for my madness.  

    I prefer a blank state for my creative side for lines give restrictions.  I use lined for more analytical thinking processes and I don’t have a grid layout, maybe subconsciously it reminds me of doing math problems in school.  lol.