Designing ‘enough emptiness’ from inside out.
About:Blank takes the pursuit of enough emptiness as the departure. At About:Blank emptying doesn’t necessarily mean making a product completely hollow but perhaps contracting elements until it becomes good enough. The notebook is the very first project of the company that started in 2007 and has slowly proceeded till the launch in September 2009. The question was neither what to add nor what to contract, but where to stop. What made it more challenging was to figure out the brand and product language for the future.
After selected to The Korea’s Next Generation Designer grant program, I visited stationery, design and furniture shops in several cities to ensure what are being offered: Seoul, Tokyo, Helsinki, Stockholm, Paris, London and New York. Many of expensive notebooks were designed for the exclusiveness from the surface not necessarily enhancing the actual usability: covers were heavy and paper was thin, one could not tear off a page when needed because of traditional binding technique. Many of cheaper ones bore much resemblance of Moleskin1 that was a popular standard in 19th and 20th century Europe.
Once one opens the package and remove the cover, he/she cannot find any brand identifier, and therefore About:Blank notebook has no pre-determined front or back, top or bottom. Newly patented technique allows the notebook to open fully hence it feels much larger and even a page can be torn off without other pages falling off.
Thick acid-free paper allows both sides of each sheet to be used, while the white lines printed on one side of each page help one make notes organised unintentionally, otherwise one can ignore and draw things. The lines will not appear when your notes are copied or scanned. The cover is a not plastered so that allows the whole notebook to be recycled.
Soon after its launch at 100% Design London in September 2009, About:Blank notebooks are selling at several design and furniture shops in Belgium, Finland, Japan, Korea and Sweden.