Design, Products, Technology
June 20, 2010
For all the time and effort that people put into finding that perfect pen, it’s amazing that they will write on just any old paper. Maybe this was OK when you were in 1st grade learning how to spell your name without backwards letters, but if you are looking to upgrade your overall writing experience, take a look at some of the outstanding notebooks below.
Some of my favorite notebooks for everyday use are from the Black n’ Red brand. Nothing fancy here, however you can’t beat the combination of their simple visual appeal, impeccable quality, and great value. Sturdy covers, with good quality binding, and most importantly high quality paper that won’t have your writing bleed through. There are many options to choose from, but I like the coil bound version with polypropylene cover. $7 via Amazon
If making the decision between traditional ruled paper, and graph paper is just too hard for you, the notebooks from Doane Paper will make your day. The unique design of their notebooks give you graph paper and ruled paper all on one page by using a heavier horizontal line to make up the squares of the graph paper. Doane Paper notebooks are available as standard legal pads, pocket size journals, and hard-cover coil-bound versions. $4.50 to $11 via DoanePaper
Whitelines notebooks come in multiple formats including coil bound and book style binding, with your choice of ruled or graph paper style. The paper itself is a very light gray, while the lines are actually white. The logic behind this design is that the white lines will not distract or interfere with your writing or drawing. Also, when you scan or photocopy the paper, the lines become invisible. My personal favorite is the lined A5 with hard black cover and coil binding. $12 via Amazon
If you are a fountain pen user, or someone who hates when your writing shows through to the other side of the page, the Rhodia Web Notebook is the perfect option for you. These notebooks use a heavy 90 gauge paper that deals well with just about any ink and is also the smoothest paper you will ever write on. $20 via Amazon
For the most professional looking notebooks, you can’t go wrong with the Levenger’s Circa system. These notebooks are not cheap; however their unique disc binding system and high quality cloth or leather covers will make you stand out from the crowd in a meeting. The disc binding system allows you great flexibility in moving and organizing your notes. $49-$129 via Levenger
Illustrations by Jordan Awan
June 8, 2010
And you thought that packing tape hiding in your desk drawer was for taping up boxes. Oh, no – check out what happens when you give artists a lot of tape and a cool space to work in. Via Fast Company.
June 8, 2010
With Father’s Day and Graduation season here, I thought it would be fun to talk about a long-lasting gift. Having been the recipient (and admittedly the giver) of some bad gifts, I can tell you that a nice fountain pen will last someone a lifetime and become a prized possession that they either look forward to using every day, or that they cherish and use for special occasions. Here are a few fountain pen suggestions to help you pick just the right one:
First up is the Lamy Safari, which is a very simple and understated fountain pen, but one that is durable and well constructed. It has an all plastic body and stainless steel nib (the nib is the fancy term for the pointy part that you write with) that makes for a pen that is comfortable to write with and that also puts down a nice smooth and consistent line. The Lamy brand is known for its quality German engineering, and the Safari is a hugely popular pen. Great for everyday use, especially in an environment where it might take a bit of abuse. $25 via Amazon.
The Aurora Ipsilon Satin line of fountain pens represent a more stylish choice. Being that this fountain pen is made in Italy, the comparison to a fancy sports car is a hard temptation to resist, but no worries, this fountain pen won’t set you back six figures. Much like a nice Italian sports car, this pen comes in a limited range of colors. You can go with the classic blue or black, or the “hey look at me” bright orange. Regardless of the color, you will find yourself with a well made light-weight fountain pen that will be sure to make other people jealous while they toil away with their .99 cent ballpoint pens. $88 via Amazon.
Next up is the Pelikan M215 Tradition Series. This is a another pen from a highly respected German manufacturer. With its twist off cap, shiny black lacquer finish, and silver accents this fountain pen has a very clean, neat, and professional look. There are a few different bodies to choose from, with slightly different stylings on the silver accents, and even one with a hint of blue. They always say you should dress for the job you want, not the one you have, so consider this pen an extension of that wardrobe that will take your Dad or Grad to the next level. $120 via Goldspot Luxury Gifts.
Then there is the Visconti Homo Sapiens (pictured top). This fountain pen is forged from the volcanic lava of Mt. Etna in Sicily, Italy and is probably one of the most unique fountain pens you can buy right now. Using the lava as a base for the body of the pen makes it virtually unbreakable, able to withstand extreme temperatures, and also helps to absorb sweat from the hand while writing. I had the chance to write with one of these pens at the recent National Stationery Show at the Javitz Center in NYC, and that experience had me drooling over the thought of actually purchasing one for myself one day. The palladium nib gives it a bit of flexibility that lets the user drastically change the width of the line with slight amounts of pressure. Bottom line though is that this pen combines the cool factor with incredible writing performance. $595 via Goldspot Luxury Gifts.
Illustrations by Jordan Awan
May 24, 2010
Who would have thought it could be true, but it is, treeless paper has hit the market and it’s a great green addition to the eco-conscious home office. MoMa started using treeless paper and cardboard in their packaging back in 2007 and now we’re seeing it creep into the home. Currently manufacturing treeless paper uses sugar cane, bamboo, elephant dung and hemp. Each of these can be harvested specifically for paper manufacturing. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper each year. That’s more than 2 pounds each day. Wow! Currently 4 billion trees are cut down each year to meet the world’s demand for paper.
While treeless paper can certainly make a dent you won’t be walking into your local office supply store to purchase it just yet. However, demand will eventually drive supply. Until that time, shopping online is your best bet. Aaron Schiff of Ecopaper.com says their sugar cane office paper sales are second to the banana paper, which is used for invitations. “For the office, sugar cane paper is almost identical to regular paper and has 80 per cent tree-free content.” Schiff, who sees the paper industry slowly becoming greener, is confident that sugar cane paper will be a popular brand for Ecopaper in the coming years.
As treeless paper is currently emerging on the market, I’d love to hear your questions or experiences with this product.
April 12, 2010
When it’s a notepad. A PixelPad has all the design grace of the iPad but is about as low tech as you can get. And it’s so much cheaper. For $24 you get a 64-page pad (printed with vegetable inks), 3 pens and a refill-pad. And while it’s designed for web designers (hence the 10-pixel grid) I think most of us would appreciate the clean design. Read the history of the PixelPad here. Looks like Andrew, the designer, should have jumped on the iPad name a little sooner!
April 6, 2010
It’s finally here. After an extraordinary amount of hype Apple’s iPad has hit the streets. Unplggd ran a great roundup of stylish cases. At a starting price of $499 the iPad is not cheap so you want to make sure you keep it safe and sound. And if you’d like to throw your hat in the ring to win an iPad check out Unplggd’s Perfect Workspace 2010 competition. Cerentha
“With April 3 right around the corner [this post ran last week! Cerentha], we wanted to roundup 10 more of our favorite iPad cases. There have been quite a few more cases that have debuted since our last iPad case roundup and these are the ones that we think are pretty great.
Due to the newness of the iPad, many of these cases do not yet have pricing information and are only available for pre-order. Our picks vary in terms of price and materials, handmade cotton cases and carbon fiber both made our roundup. Here are our nine favorite iPad cases and one neat iPad decal. We cheated a little with the inclusions of the iPad decal, but it was too fun not to include.
Quirky Cloak $42
Vaja Ivolution Top $150
Byrd & Belle iPad Sleeve $48
Vers Audio iPad Case $80
Acton Treadway Pad Pac
ModulR iPad Case
M-Edge Flip Jacket
DRO Concepts Carbon Fiber iPad Case $120
CareyMoonbeam Square Dots Fabric iPad Sleeve/ Case $24
Moviemagicman iPad Lego Minifig Decal $10
By Joelle Alcaidinho”
This story appears in partnership with Unplggd, a site for people who embrace technology and design in their home.
April 5, 2010
1. Navy Lime Thumbtacks, $7.00 (set of 6) Skip standard metal or plastic push pins and opt for a clean, tailored look with thumbtacks made of silk dupioni fabric. Get it: Leandra George
2. The Fly Drawing Pins, $96.00 (set of 24) Designer Paruccini Donata created these clever push pins to resemble a fly on the wall. Get it: Alessi
3. Black Leaves on White Fabric Thumbtacks, $7.00 (set of 6) Boring bulletin board, begone! Punch it up with these fabric push pins. Get it: Farrago by Jamieson Barkett
4. Pins by PULL + PUSH PRODUCTS, $7.50 Modern, cool, and made of the most unexpected thumbtack material of all time: cement. Get it: mollaspace.com
5. Advantus® Plastic Round Head Map Tacks, $3.99 (100 per box) Traditionally used to identify locations on maps, these pins remind us of the Eames Hang-it-All (so you know they’re a favorite). Get it: Total Media Office
Images linked to their sources within the numbered text
March 29, 2010
1. Ground Scissors These award-winning hardened steel scissors are made using low-tech pressing and grinding techniques by designer Michael Antrobus. Get it: spunique.com
2. Pocket Size Scissors Small enough to keep in your purse or pocket; smart enough to snip loose strings or itchy clothing tags while you’re out and about. Get it: Amazon
3. Clear Handle Scissors by MUJI The simple, straightforward design and easy-grip plastic handles by Japanese retailer MUJI make this affordable pair easy on the eyes. Get it: MoMA
4. Vintage Scissors The gold-tone plating and retro look of these well-made scissors are so lovely, you might want to stare at them more than you use them (but don’t—they’re actually comfortable and ergonomic). Get it: Kate’s Paperie
5. Anything Scissors The whole collection of “Anything” office accessories—a collaboration between UK designer Michael Sodeau and Japanese company Suikosha—makes a day at the office a little more fun (case in point: this pair of bright orange scissors). Get it: A+R
Balance, Design, Products
March 23, 2010
We had great feedback from our chat with professional organizer Peter Walsh. Peggy, one of our Lifework readers, had the following question for Peter:
“What does one do if paper challenged? I save papers for reading, papers for filing, papers just in case I need something, papers with medical information…I try to go through these papers, file them in alpha order and then don’t have the room to file them somewhere! Where can I start?”
Peter says “Invest in a color coded filing system like File Solutions which uses both visual and written cues to help you easily and quickly file and retrieve items. If paperwork is overwhelming, invest in a file system like the one I mentioned and start TODAY with the new system, don’t get caught up in trying to go back and file everything from the past. Start today and move forward maintaining the new system. Slowly go through old papers or, alternatively, just accept that they’ll never be completely filed, put them in a box and don’t let them stress you.”
The file folders above are from the Container Store. For more ideas check out Amy’s Five Fabulous: File Folders post.
March 23, 2010
Yes, they’re everywhere: on your computer, your cell phone, your iPod (and for a lucky few, in your head). These days, calculators come standard. But there’s still something that says “I mean business” when you keep one out on your desk. Take a gander at our five favorites
1. Dolmen Calculator, $45.00 A desktop calculator with beauty and brains—it comes in a dark wood with aluminum trim and features settable currency and tax functions. Get it: Unica Home
2. Jet Calculator, $30.00 Slightly nerdy divided by chic plus a whole lot of bling. Get it: Greener Grass Design
3. Top Solar Calculator, $24.95 This eco-friendly pick received the “Good Design Award” in 2007 from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry in Japan. Get it: Lincoln Stationers
4. 10 Key Calculator, $60.00 The big, chunky keys of this unique calculator mimic the 10-key pad of a keyboard (bonus: hook it up to your computer and it will act as that key pad). Get it: Charles & Marie
5. Ela Pocket Calculator, $18.00 Sharp, smart, and doesn’t try to take up too much desk space. Get it: Unica Home
Images linked to their sources within the numbered text