From the Design Desk: Investigative Journalism

Walking around our office, you’ll find that every desk hosts a notebook of some sort. These lists, scribbles, and doodles help us stay organized, work out our ideas, remember things, and stay awake during revenue meetings.

It’s no wonder that journals—made to be personalized, to contain information unique to the owners—are chosen based on a reflection of identity (and, yes, function).

So what does a visual field study of the journals chosen by Chronicle employees tell about us? Well, I can’t really answer that. But I can share with you what you may find if you were to walk around our office:


The Rex Ray Notebook (a classic unisex choice), the Xilocart Elefanti Chronicle Notes and Sunblooms Bound Journal.


A well-loved and well-worn Cupcake Journal, and the delightful Cath Kidston Ottoman Roses Notebook.


The Dumpling Dynasty Journal was a popular choice in our field research (above). Spiral-bound and slightly larger than our average journal, the pages of these specimens were densely adorned and held up well to the fury of the ballpoint pen.


The clear winners (in term of office popularity) were our very own Native Flowers and Native Herbs journals by the lovely artist Jill Bliss (above). With delicate floral illustrations and a soothing palette, the appeal is obvious. But this small journal also opens flat with a thin paper that’s perfect for both notes and sketches.


Of course, our study would not be complete without mentioning the infamous, classic, and all-powerful Moleskine (above). This anonymous, sleek black force is pervasive both in our offices and in the hearts of creatives worldwide. Available in many shapes and sizes, a Moleskine notebook is incredibly durable and its paper—an artist’s dream.

Not all the notebooks and journals we found were published or distributed by Chronicle Books. Our industrial designer Will Abbott has nightmares if he forgets to leave the office without his black spiral-bound Unique Journal by Michael Roger Press clutched tightly against his chest.


And our lovely receptionist Claire Fletcher belongs to that group of creatives whose journal (above) is an actual work of art.


If you like journals and journal art as much as we do, check out The 1000 Journals Project, which contains the beautiful and entertaining work of more than 250 contributors from around the world. And there’s more: A film about the 1000 Journals is just now beginning its journey at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

Suzanne LaGasa

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