By Piotr Pawlina
- 5 minute read
If you plan to attend Tech Open Air in Berlin and visit the DK&A booth (space A02), you will have a chance to receive a very special gift that we have prepared. This is the story of the DK&A Notebook.
Our plan was to create not merely a giveaway, but a lasting gift. A well-crafted item living up to the Vitruvian virtues of Durability, Utility and Beauty, at least if applied in a considerably small scale of promotional merch. The one virtue that we wanted to add to the triad was a personal touch. And there are not many items more personal than a notebook. A simple, traditional gift that you can turn into a collection of your own ideas. And we’re not talking about an intimidating, bloated volume bound in leather, but a handy, pocket-sized companion that you can take and use anywhere.
Judge our Notebook by its Cover
Our notebook’s cover is a perfect expression of the ideas that guided us. Made with black, premium quality paper that not only resembles a stone with its rocky texture, but is also rock-solid with its durability as well as having water and oil repellent qualities. This finally gave us an opportunity to set our logo in stone: it landed on the cover in humble yet elegant black-on-black hot foil stamping. Slightly debossed it catches the light and remains understated while contrasting with the cover’s rough surface both visually and tactilely. Finding the sweet spot between contrast and harmony is what we’re all about.
Pretty in Pink
Although the notebook’s pages are neutrally white for the owner’s convenience, there’s a splash of color framing them at the beginning and at the end. The first printer’s spread is printed on gorgeously pink paper to add even more personality. Speaking of which, the first page is all about personalization. Here you can sign the notebook, sealing it as truly and utterly yours.
Add your name to our company’s logotype as the layout suggests, but don’t worry. No obligation or commitment will be expected of you. But you, and you only, will know that you’ve become a member of a secret society. Consider it an invitation.
Enter the Dot Matrix
Designers love dotted notebooks for notes and sketches. No graph ruled or lined paper satisfies their need for creative freedom, visual clarity, and subtle guidance like an elegant dot matrix does. This satisfaction is something we wanted to share with you. And we just couldn’t help but take this subject to another level of in-depth analysis. Many variants of the dot matrix were created, printed, and tested. We iterated through different grid proportions, spacings, dot sizes, and colors to choose the most useful and harmonious ones.
Let’s have the creator of the dot matrix speak on behalf of his work in this excerpt of the notebook’s preamble:
Meditate on the yielding subtleties of our hexagonal dot matrix. In a vertical orientation, one may simply write text, one row at a time and we are pleased to say the hex matrix will have no impact at all. But rotate the notebook ninety degrees, to a landscape view, and the sensitive among us may recognize the creative power they have unleashed.
Horizontally, the dot matrix indeed becomes a landscape. An isometric terrain which the simple addition of lines can sculpt into a 3D architecture.
Understated demarcations frame an HD 16:9 aspect ratio. Easily divisible into 2, 3, or 6 along each dimension, up to 36 equal subspaces beautifully harmonize with the greater dot matrix. There is no notebook better suited to storyboarding or any creative concepting.
— Chris Rock, DK&A notebook preamble
As part of our research before creating the DK&A notebook, we compared various other pocket-sized notebooks such as those of Field Notes, Moleskine, and Leuchtturm1917. One differentiator of note was the literature Moleskine includes telling the story of their notebook as sharing the spirit of the great notebooks of Picasso and Hemingway. They are all but promising that their notebook can turn any of us into geniuses. We loved the storytelling and the balls it took for Moleskine to employ such poetry in describing their product, so we have proudly stolen the idea put it into our preamble. We hope it inspires you to poetry as well.
Starting the first page of a fresh new notebook is intimidating. No words or doodles seem worthy of desecrating the the first empty page’s crystalline potential — pure, as it is, as the virgin snow. But do not fret, we got this covered for you. The first dotted page already has a sketch by one of our designers demonstrating the possibilities of the dot matrix for both isometric and two-dimensional drawing. Let it inspire you.
One more thing: at the end of the notebook you will find a pocket. For now, it stores some kick-ass stickers. But once you find a better place for them, (your laptop, your skateboard, or any piece of furniture your child wishes to enhance) you can replace the stickers in their pocket home with new occupants of your choosing.
Take It From Here
We may be all about digital product design, but we staunchly believe that print is not dead, and we’re getting better and better at it ourselves. If one of our notebooks ends up with you, we hope that it will serve you well. That it will help you to capture your thoughts, solve your problems, and facilitate your imagination. If you won’t have the opportunity to receive one at Tech Open Air, be sure that there will be many more occasions upon which to meet us. We’ll keep one for you.