Design Your Own Moleskine Covers

laser engraved leather slip covers

Being a design blog, talking about Moleskine in some way or another is inevitable. And actually, we already featured Engrave Your Book here on the blog, but that was way back when we didn’t have a tweet button.

So here’s the redux version.

Engrave Your Book lets anyone upload a design to be laser engraved on a leather notebook cover. The covers are made to fit perfectly over Moleskine‘s “legendary” notebooks. And each one is handmade from vegetable tanned leather in Portland, Oregon.

The artist series features artwork from designers like Christopher BettigCole Gerst, Dan Funderburgh, and Justine Ashbee. But my favorite designs are in the customer-made gallery.

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Custom Edition Moleskines

moleskine0

I am a notebook junkie. I have quilted and embroidered notebooks, minimalist Muji sketchbooks, canvas covered John Robshaw journals, books with handmade papers and manual bindings, sketchbooks designed by fellow SCAD alumni, and of course, a few Moleskines.

My first Moleskine was a custom edition for Target when I was a product designer for the pets department. Turns out that Moleskine creates custom notebooks for all kinds of institutions and events, from universities and non-profits to festivals and art shows.

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My favorites include commissions by Francis Ford Coppola, the ADC Young Guns, Sapporo, and the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

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Ideas for Creative Agencies & Brands – #29

Promo Items That Force You To Stop And Take Notice

branded-notebook

We’ve all come to expect a ‘swag bag’ at every promotional event we go to.

And now that the practice of receiving free stuff has become so common, it’s almost a blind spot. Which is why it’s so much harder to get it right.

But rather than scour the web to find the most outlandish items to stuff into your bag, what you really need to consider is context. Get that right and knowing what to put into your swag bag will come almost automatically.

To inspire you and get you thinking about your next event, here are some examples of brands who got it right the first time …

Tap Into A Relevant Trend.
If you look around, you’ll find there are a few key trends which people are gravitating towards these days – health, food, technology. Here’s a great example of using a health-related trend to get attendees’ to notice your brand:    (more…)

Promo Items That Force You To Stop And Take Notice.

branded-notebook

We’ve all come to expect a “swag bag” at every promotional event we go to.

And now that the practice of receiving free stuff has become so common, it’s almost a blind spot. Which is why it’s so much harder to get it right.

But rather than scour the web to find the most outlandish items to stuff into your bag, what you really need to consider is context. Get that right and knowing what to put into your swag bag will come almost automatically.

To inspire you and get you thinking about your next event, here are some examples of brands who got it right the first time.

Tap Into A Relevant Trend

If you look around, you’ll find there are a few key trends which people are gravitating towards these days – health, food, technology. Here’s a great example of using a health-related trend to get attendees’ to notice your brand:

essential-oils

Essential Oils: If your customers aren’t already using them, they’re probably curious about all the hype. Giving your customers essential oils offers them a multi-sensory experience and strengthens your brand recall at the end of the event.

Put A New Spin On The Everyday

Just because an item is used daily, doesn’t mean it can’t be infused with a fresh perspective. If you offer your attendees a remixed version of an everyday object, it shows off your brand’s creative side and gives your swag bag more talk-ability over social media. Here’s an interesting example:

clocks-e1446772014981

Clocks: If you’re looking for the trendiest timepieces around, we found them for you. They’re called Lolli Clocks, and they’re the new must-have for 2015. They’re funky. They’re bright. And they’re a great way to keep your brand top of mind.

Bring Back Something Familiar

We all have an instant recognition for certain types of items. Especially if they are associated with a positive emotion or a fun childhood memory. Here’s one prime example of an easily recognisable object guaranteed to be an instant attention grabber:

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Juice Box Chargers: They look like they belong in your kid’s lunch, and that’s what makes Juice box chargers so unique. If you want to get people talking about your brand, this is one great way to do it. You’ll also be giving customers something they can use (to charge their phones). They even include a novelty straw. How cute is that?

Throw In An Unexpected Twist

We’re all drawn to James Bond’s gadgets. That’s because each gadget packs unexpected power and functionality into a device we would never consider. If you leverage that same sense of wonder, you too could end up with a promo item that has instant appeal. For instance:

lipstick-charger

Lipstick Chargers: It’s a promo that’s pretty and powerful. It looks like a tube of lipstick, but it’s actually an external battery pack that holds 2500 mAh. This promo product is super handy and clever enough to generate some serious buzz for your brand.

Add Utility That Makes You Stand Out

We’re all familiar with utility items as swag bag fodder. But if you just throw in an off-the-shelf item, fodder is exactly what it becomes. Instead, look to see if there’s room to make a utility item, even more useful. Not only will it increase the likelihood of adoption after the event but it gets past the resistance of using branded items:

Pouch-Enabled Fitness Bottles: These custom sports bottles are designed with a flip compartment for stashing earbuds or keys during or after a workout. They’re perfect promo items even if you’re not marketing to gym enthusiasts or runners, simply because they have an added utility feature.

Add A Sense Of Quirkiness

Just because you plan to give away a utility-driven item, doesn’t mean it has to be boring (we’re looking at you, bottle-opener keychains). Even if the item has fairly simple utility, you can add value to it by rethinking it’s presentation. Let’s look at this example as a reference point:

powercord-multi

Power Cord Multi Tool: We all need charging cables everyday. And given that many of us use more than one device, carrying around charging cables can be an annoyance. But instead of just handing out another cable, this handy tool combines function with form to provide an easy-to-carry and ultimately cool looking solution to “cable crisis.”

If Not New, At Least Keep It Classy

If you must stick to the tried-and-tested, there’s only one rule – don’t be boring. Even the humble notebook can be given a new lease of life if you choose to collaborate with the right brand or take the time to push your vendors to deliver a quality product which doesn’t feel mass-produced. For instance:

branded-notebook

Moleskine Co-Branded Notebooks: Even in the digital era, there’s still room to appreciate a well-made analog device. Moleskine is one such brand. For all our dependence on smartphones, these notebooks are still coveted. And as you can see in the image below, if you partner with them well, the results can be stunning and much more memorable.

Context Is Everything

In the end, there’s no one magic formula to getting your swag bag to be a winner. But there is a rule-of-thumb. When you’re examining your next batch of potential promo items, pick each one up and think about whether this item will get your attendees to say those three little words – “That’s so cool.” If you answered “yes,” then you already have a winner.

What products have turned your head? Tell us in the comments below!

Leather – February material of the month

Hell bent for leather

Unless you are of the vegan variety, you probably have quite a few things made of leather, mostly footwear and luggage.  Leather is a wonderfully versatile material, and I’ll always pick it over its plastic substitutes.  Working with leather requires skill, but is incredibly satisfying, provided you have the right tools.  In the last few years laser cutting has become more and more prolific as a tool for manipulating leather, and now features prominently in many everyday leather items.  We’ve featured some laser cut and laser engraved fashion previously, but that was only the tip of the iceberg.

Leather in fashion has seen its peaks and troths, and it’s definitely at its peak currently if the catwalks are the vogue yard stick.  Laser cutting is behind much of that popularity, and as always the fashion trend is driven by the hi-fashion avant-garde designers who push the concepts and boundaries of material use and perception.  Some of the notable ideas come from Visbol de Arce’s Anatomy collection, current king (or in this case, queen) of the fashion mountain Iris van Herpen’s Synesthesia, and a selection of rather unusual bags from James Platt.

More sweet leathery goodness under the cut:

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Current top 3 customization ideas for I Want It Customized! contest

Vote now for your favorite ideas & submit your own

Just one weekend into our I Want It Customized! contest, and we’ve already got 25 excellent ideas. Take a look at the 3 most popular ideas so far:

1. Flat pack house or a slice form camper shell for my toyota tacoma
Inspired by an Atlanta community project to provide shelter for the homeless, Ressie wants a customizable camper shed for her truck.
Vote for this idea!

2. My Clip-IT board
Looking for an on-the-go writing surface, GPD suggests a customizable clipboard that has a section to attach a Post-It notepad and a pen.
Vote for this idea!

3. Moleskine-size notebook with pages I’d like in it
Tired of being limited to just one kind of paper, tterb’s idea is a customizable notebook. Choose your own combo of blank, lined, and graph paper.
Vote for this idea!

Do you have a great idea for a customizable product? Let’s hear it.

And don’t forget to vote on your favorite ideas. The 3 ideas with the most votes will win some mighty fine prizes.

The contest closes Wednesday, May 11th at 10pm Pacific Time.
Full contest details HERE.

Love Messenger

llove messenger
Cedric Ragot brings a simple wooden Moleskine modification kit the likes of which Matisse and Hemingway would love to shoot love letters with all the live-long day: the Love Messenger!
Composed of flat pieces of wood and designed to aid the charity Vaincre la Mucoviscidose for cystic fibrosis, the Love Messanger is the gift you can feel good shooting off all day long!
love messenger
Via Yanko design

Engrave your heart out

via Platformdesign.org

I had no idea one could use a laser to engrave so many things. Joe Mansfield offers you the chance to engrave anything, be it laptop, phone or Moleskine – yes, Moleskine, and they come out a rather nice sepia too. It started with Engrave your tech, dealing purely in engraving peoples’ gadgets, and now you can buy ready engraved Moleskines over at Engrave your book.

Mansfield also accepts submissions for designs from artists, offering 15% royalties on every purchase. There are some really impressive pieces on display on the Engrave your tech website, and over at their Flickr account – from the ornate, to superfine Beatles, to tongue-in-cheek cartoonism!

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Images from Engrave your tech

This is mass customized, manufacture-on-demand in practise, albeit at a basic entry level platform, made possible by the recent affordability of laser cutting/engraving.