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Leather and Ledger

  • Najib Benouar

Even in this digital age, the charms of a leather-bound notebook are not lost on us. Especially when said notebook was bound in a 19th-century barn.

This screen-printed one comes from the newly minted Baltimore outfit Almanac Industries, and even more than the striped leather cover, we like what lies beneath it: deadstock ledger-type pages. See, more often than not, you’ve got to choose between a notebook with blank or lined pages, but this one gives you both options—with lines starting about halfway down and red margins should you need them—so you can jot down a shopping list, balance an account and draw yourself a reminder of what a kumquat looks like all on one page.

We have yet to see an app for that.

Everything Cut and Dry

  • Najib Benouar

Swift. Resolute. Steadfast. All qualities of a good decision maker. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to have this nifty little Pro/Con Journal in your desk drawer—only to be retrieved when the really close calls need to be made.

When flipped open and laid flat, the spine splits two lists, delineating the pros and cons of, say, heading to Lake Como this weekend. By the time you’ve tallied up the lists and settled the score, your decision has made itself. And since it’s all written in one place, you’ll never have to ponder the same decision twice.

Off the Grid


A lot of pocket notebooks have popped up in the past year, ranging from the slim to the bulky. But for all the new styles, the stuff between the covers has stayed pretty much the same.

Well, Doane Paper has a few ideas. Specifically, they combine the two most common pages (lined and grid) into a multipurpose sheet ready for anything from accounting tables to the first verse of your accountant-oriented battle rap. (“Sucka CPAs”?) You might even find yourself coming up with more organized musings. Or at least more organized doodles.

Seeing and Being Seen


After a while, the Sartorialist-style shots start to blend together, so it was about time someone brought a more personal touch to people watching.

Our candidate is What I Saw Today, which throws a few colored pencils and a playfully sketchy style into the mix. Street style blogs have always aspired to be a kind of notebook for designers, so making one that actually looks like a notebook brings a certain authenticity to the project.

And if it helps a few more people appreciate the subtle texture of a Chesterfield coat…all the better.

Present Company


By now, we bet you’re looking for a gift or two, so we thought we’d open up our archives for any last minute seekers. A tie may not be breaking much new ground, but a well-kept notebook or a well-bound book is always enough to raise a few eyebrows, especially if you choose the right one.

With that in mind, we present: the Kempt gift guide, a handful of very good ideas for any refined gentleman on your list. And you’ll have just enough time to get them to your door for the main event.

Just don’t sweat the shipping charge.

Every Day I Write the Book


We lose little things all the time without realizing, but the feel of pencil on paper has to be one of the most overlooked casualties of the digital age. We’re not complaining—this is a blog, after all—but we will make a suggestion. Next time you have an idea, don’t send yourself an email. Take out a notebook and write it down. It makes a difference, even if you can’t say exactly how.

This Hlaska notebook isn’t more than a bunch of blank sheets in cloth binding, but the little change may do a lot more for your creative juices than you think.

(Thanks to acquire for the dig.)

Skin of Mole


Moleskines have been a staple of the scribbling, sketching and café-going set for a while now, but recent etching trends have made them a lot more stylish. And as arts collectives start devoting their attention to the new medium, the result is a lot of very good stuff.

Case in point: this Clint-inspired sketchpad with more than enough glower power to balance out the coffeehouse vibe the notebooks usually suggest. The collective is Modofly, and they're turning all their attention to moleskine creations like this one. (Canvas is so 18th century.)

More on the new generation of moleskines»