My little production was limited to 52. Numbered and stamped.
Actually, that is the only feature that I added to them. Stamps. It was a simple experiment in packaging, presentation, and hobby that turned out quite satisfying.
I started with some Moleskine® Cahier (in brown) sketchbooks that were unruled for drawing. I don’t personally use anything that is ruled for my work. Then I ordered some custom rubber stamps and went to town customizing the sketchbooks with red and black ink. Just for kicks I stamped each one with a number on the reverse side.
It was also an opportunity to create some packaging using materials that I’d referenced in the creation of the company look and feel behind my recently branded Butter Label. I’d used the Moleskine sketchbook for some time and had actually created the new logo for Butter Label using these sketchbooks as a basis in felt tip form. Once the logo had been finalized, I began looking for ways to creatively reproduce the logo in physical form.
There are many sites and groups (1,947 groups!) on flickr that have formed around the idea of the Moleskine as a sketchbook tool and there are some fantastic examples out there (77,246 pics of moleskine sketches from 13,838 members as of this writing!). Undoubtedly, the choice of Moleskine was the right one.
Along with the sketchbook, I added to the package a disposable fountain pen, which I’d hoped would pique people’s interest in the world of fountain pens, which is expensive, vast, and highly customized. I chose a very inexpensive example from Pilot, the Varsity Disposable Fountain Pen.
The idea for a custom sketchbook is not unique, nor is it a new idea. In fact, the idea is successfully executed by Jim Coudal and Draplin Design Group (big fan of both!) in the form of Field Notes booklets as a much revered and very successful product. It was uncanny that they released such a wonderful product the same month I considered making my own. In the end I pursued the idea anyway and was very pleased with my results.
In short, they sold. They sold like hotcakes. 50 of them went out the door and a few of you purchased two or more each. One day I went to hang out and bug the folks at Airbag in Orange County. After some encouragement from Greg Storey (big fan!) to just “get them out there”, the purchase button went active Friday afternoon and by Sunday they were all gone. They were shipped all over the world: Australia, Israel, India, Denmark, UK, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Mexico, Canada, and many other countries. Can you believe that? Isn’t the internet weird and rewarding at the same time?
You are all amazing. Thanks for your support. Hopefully you’ve all found another outlet for your creativity with an interesting fountain pen.
UPDATE: October 28th, 2010
Since those days, Scott Boms and I started drumming up ideas for projects that we could work on together. Eventually one of those ideas led to the wonderful project known as Ligature, Loop & Stem, which would be not nearly as fun or presentable without help from many people, including the stellar folks such as Grant Hutchinson, Carolyn Wood, and many many others. Working with cool, talented, and brilliant people is the tops.