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Midori via Amazon
Midori via Amazon

5 Swoon-Worthy Office Supplies to Up Your Writing Game

Midori via Amazon
Midori via Amazon

It's high time you upgraded your office supplies. Whether you're taking notes, pursuing your creative passion, or jotting down to-do lists, a nice set of writing tools can go a long way toward keeping you inspired. Here are five purchases that can improve your desk time immediately:

1. A BEAUTIFUL NOTEBOOK

Comp

 
Those black-and-white marbled composition notebooks are classics, but the flimsy 50-cent cardboard booklets you scribbled your history notes in likely don't cut it anymore. Aron Fay of the acclaimed design firm Pentagram has redesigned “an elegant, sophisticated, and long-lasting version of the classic composition notebook” called comp.

“With all the new advances in the fields of papermaking, printing, and binding since [the origin of the composition book in] the 1800s, I was interested in what it would be like to create a notebook that uses the new printing and binding technologies and the highest quality materials possible, while still maintaining the nostalgic pattern that we all know and love,” he writes in his crowdfunding call on Kickstarter.

The notebook opens to lie completely flat, unlike your run-of-the-mill composition book, and is made with a cloth binding and high-quality, poster-thickness paper that comes either lined or unlined. It’s $19 and should ship sometime in April 2017. (And if you’re a notebook nerd, the Kickstarter page is worth checking out purely for the history of the composition book it provides.)

2. A SMARTPEN

Moleskine

 
You no longer need to choose between the benefits and portability of writing by hand and the convenience of having a digital, typed copy of your notes. A smartpen allows you to write in a notebook, but send a digital version to an app like Evernote, your phone, or your email. Moleskine’s Smart Writing Set transfers your notes to its mobile app in real-time, and depending on how legible your writing is, it will convert your handwriting to text. You can adjust colors and line thickness in the app, too, and if you aren’t near your phone, the pen has enough memory to store your notes and upload them when you connect later.

The Moleskine set looks elegant and has some neat functionality, but at $200, it is pricier than other smartpens. Other slightly less expensive options that get the job done (albeit without the real-time app upload) include the $169 Neo, whose technology powers Moleskine’s pen, or one of Livescribe’s pens, which start at $129 and are known for their excellent ability to record audio and sync it with your notes.

3. A GREAT, NOT-SO-SMART PEN

Jetstream RT courtesy Uni-ball

 
OK, so maybe you’re not going to use your $200 smartpen for everything. Sometimes you just need a utilitarian, affordable, non-smudgy, never-runs-out-of-battery pen that you can buy in bulk and lose constantly. The exceedingly thorough reviewers at The Wirecutter recommend the Uni-ball Jetstream for its smooth writing ability and quick-dry ink. It’s $9 for a pack of three on Amazon and comes in either fine or bold point.

For a slightly fancier-feeling writing experience, New York magazine’s The Strategist is gaga for the Japanese-made Midori Brass Ballpoint (pictured at top), a light, collapsible pen that only measures a few inches long in its compressed state. It retails for $17.

4. AMAZING PAPER CLIPS

Jorge Clip courtesy Rad and Hungry

 
If you have a penchant for writing on loose-leaf, class up your scattered papers with a really nice paper clip. Like, really nice. Rad and Hungry’s Jorge Clip, a brass design the company sources from a Brazilian artisan, is pretty enough to use as home decor. It's big enough to use as a key ring, a bookmark, or to hold together the beginning chapters of that novel you’re working on. It’s $20.

5. STORAGE SO PRETTY YOU’LL WANT TO STAY ORGANIZED

Niu Desk Set courtesy Rad and Hungry


 
It can be hard to get down to work when your desk is littered with office supplies and papers you’re not ready to file away just yet. If there’s anything that can get you amped about organizing your thumb tacks and staples, it’s the $16 Niu Desk Set, also made by Rad and Hungry. The cork-and-aluminum tray comes loaded with puzzle-piece storage blocks that give you a dedicated place to put your pens, Post-its, tape dispenser, and more.

There’s also a more whimsical, less rigidly segmented option in Poppin’s colorful trays for papers and for odds and ends. They come in a wide spectrum of hues, shapes, and sizes and cost between $5 and $24.

And if even that seems too pricey for your stray office supplies, Muji’s translucent storage boxes look elegant enough that no one will guess they only cost $1.50.

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11 Brilliant Gifts for the Notebook Enthusiast
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Science says it's easier to organize and remember information when you write it down. Help everyone on your list stay on track with these charming notebooks that are great for artists, writers, planners, and dreamers.

1. POKETO CONCEPT PLANNER; $34


Poketo

Your loved ones could tap reminders into their phones, but this glam pink planner makes keeping appointments much more fun. The 252-page, open-dated book includes space to scribble goals for the week, month, and year as well as calendar sheets for scheduling activities. The binding lies flat while open and the 8-by-5-inch fabric-textured cover gives your giftee's plans a fashionable finish.

Find It: Poketo

2. RITE IN THE RAIN ALL-WEATHER TOP-SPIRAL NOTEBOOK; $7


Rite in the Rain

It looks like a regular notepad, but Rite in the Rain's 4-by-6-inch gridded sheets are completely waterproof, able to withstand the wetness of a rainforest, a summer downpour, or being dropped in the mud. Use any pen or pencil for smudgeproof writing that will stay legible no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.

Find It: Amazon

3. MOLESKINE SMART WRITING SET; $199


Moleskine

If your favorite notebook enthusiast draws or writes in this Moleskine paper tablet with the included Pen+ smart pen, their creation will appear in digital form on your phone or iPad via a companion app. Encoded technology allows the pen to capture each stroke and smoothly transfer freehand doodlings from page to screen. From there, the user can edit, add text, share ideas and more.

Find It: Moleskine

4. MIDORI GRID NOTEBOOK; $10


Amazon

You'll notice Midori notebooks are missing something: a cover. That’s entirely on purpose. These minimalist Japanese notebooks allow users to focus on the joy of writing through their gentle gridlines, thread-stitch binding, lay-flat design, and colored string on the spine that indicates the notebook's page style.

Find It: Amazon

5. PRINCETON ARCHITECTURAL PRESS OBSERVER'S NOTEBOOK: ASTRONOMY; $19


Princeton Architectural Press

If the 2017 total solar eclipse sparked a new love of astronomy in someone you know, give this handsome 7-by-9-inch hardcover notebook, so they can record night sky observations. The ruled pages are paired with information about stars, planets, constellations, and other celestial bodies, plus gorgeous color images from the Hubble and ESA space telescopes.

Find It: Princeton Architectural Press

6. LEDA ART SUPPLY SKETCHBOOK; $18


Amazon

Whether your gift recipient draws in pencil, ink, pastel, charcoal, or watercolors, this softcover sketchbook is ideal for many kinds of art. The 160 pages of 7-by-10-inch archival paper are thread-bound and include an elastic band to keep the book closed. A ribbon bookmark adds a classy finishing touch.

Find It: Amazon

7. PILOT FRIXION CLICKER RETRACTABLE ERASABLE GEL PENS; $11


Pilot

The perfect pen for The New York Times Sunday crossword, Pilot's long-lasting Frixion gel pens write incredibly smoothly in a variety of ink colors and erase completely with the attached eraser, without damaging the writing surface beneath. The 0.7-millimeter fine point gives penmanship an elegant flourish. When you're finished writing, the nib clicks back into the pen shaft.

Find It: Amazon

8. TRAVELER'S COMPANY BROWN LEATHER NOTEBOOK; $32


Amazon

Indulge your loved one's inner Hiram Bingham or Nellie Bly with this classic traveler's notebook. Encased in a hand-made chocolate leather cover is a sheaf of blank Midori paper (refills are available); the book includes a ribbon bookmark and a band for keeping the cover closed when not in use. At roughly 8.5 inches by 5 inches, the notebook is sized for stuffing into a safari jacket.

Find It: Amazon

9. PRESENT AND CORRECT CORNER RING BOUND NOTEBOOK; $7-$18


Present and Correct

A cool twist on your typical spiral-bound notebook, this pad by British company Present and Correct hinges at the corner with a chic brass coil. The 50-page book comes in small (2.75 inches by 4.75 inches) and large (5.8 inches by 8.3 inches) and three variations: black cover/blank sheets, green cover/ruled sheets, and gray cover/dotted sheets.

Find It: Present And Correct

10. MOLESKINE LIMITED EDITION MINIONS NOTEBOOK; $24


Moleskine

Kevin, Stuart, and Bob blurt out silly sayings and cavort inside the covers of this limited edition Minions notebook from Moleskine. The hardback notebook includes 70 ivory lined pages and a bookmark, plus Minions stickers and extra goodies printed on the inside of the paperband.

Find It: Moleskine

11. PRINCETON ARCHITECTURAL PRESS POCKET DEPARTMENT NOTEBOOKS; $20


Princeton Architectural Press

Inspired by 1950s stationery, the Pocket Department notebooks recall old-school composition books with a modern splash of color. This pack includes each of four different styles—backpack, messenger bag, shirt pocket, and back pocket sizes—containing 64 lined pages apiece. The set comes wrapped in a reusable interoffice-style envelope with a string closure, suitable for your office's secret Santa rounds.

Find It: Princeton Architectural Press

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Designer Reimagines the Spanish Alphabet With Only 19 Letters
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According to designer José de la O, the Spanish alphabet is too crowded. Letters like B and V and S and Z are hard to tell apart when spoken out loud, which makes for a language that's "confusing, complicated, and unpractical," per his design agency's website. His solution is Nueva Qwerty. As Co.Design reports, the "speculative alphabet" combines redundant letters into single characters, leaving 19 letters total.

In place of the letters missing from the original 27-letter Spanish alphabet are five new symbols. The S slot, for example, is occupied by one letter that does the job of C, Z, and S. Q, K, and C have been merged into a single character, as have I and Y. The design of each glyph borrows elements from each of the letters it represents, making the new alphabet easy for Spanish-speakers to learn, its designer says.

Speculative Spanish alphabet.
José de la O

By streamlining the Spanish alphabet, de la O claims he's made it easier to read, write, and type. But the convenience factor may not be enough to win over some Spanish scholars: When the Royal Spanish Academy cut just two letters (CH and LL) from the Spanish alphabet in 2010, their decision was met with outrage.

José de la O has already envisioned how his alphabet might function in the real world, Photoshopping it onto storefronts and newspapers. He also showcased the letters in two new fonts. You can install New Times New Roman and Futurysma onto your computer after downloading it here.

[h/t Co.Design]

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