We don’t hate technology and we’re not denouncing the ease of life that it provides us. Our computers and more so our phones are our best means of communication, not to mention our personal, portable banks, calendars, task-makers, news outlets, shopping centers and sources of constant and habitual entertainment. We use our devices not just every day but, for most of us, every waking second. And it’s much more than “using,” isn’t it? We are so intimate with our personal technology that we sleep with it. So it’s much more than using – it is, quite simply, dependence.
But it’s this dependence that has left us void of something more personal, something that is intimate on a level that reaches beneath the glass-faced surface. This resurgence of the handwritten journal is as much in response to what we’re missing as it is a need for connection. For whatever reason, putting pen to paper is akin to meditation and mindfulness. It’s a way to recalibrate and balance out the overworked pistons in our brains. Journaling, or just the act of using notebooks alone, is a healthy habit. This is convenient for us, because we’re paper people.
And so we welcome, with open arms, the Crane Notebook Collection, featuring a variety of sizes and styles that have been designed with everyone in mind. We sat down with the man behind the collection, Creative Director John Segal, to get an insider’s perspective on the line.
Segal will tell you that he owns notebooks – loads of them – but he’s not someone that really journals. Journaling today has come to take on a few new meanings, including but not limited to the “revenge of the analog” movement and the sweeping trend of bullet journaling. So “to journal,” for Segal, is relative. His notebooks include a combination of lists, tasks, doodles and thoughts, what he might call “a lovely mix of all sorts of things.” It is also an essential part of his workflow.
Most creatives probably find that, like Segal, their journals are a necessary part of their artistic arsenal, and their journal habits are a means of composing each page.
“It’s about the hand-eye connection. It’s visual media. I’m indulging myself by playing with line weight, and hopefully creating something that’s pleasing to the eye. I’m someone who finds the act of putting pen to paper something incredibly satisfying. I love all my tools – pencils, paper – and I love the way they interact together,” says Segal.
So, to put it gently, the guy knows his way around a notebook. This collection proves it.
“The notebooks are an extension and really a distillation of the Crane brand. They are the answer to the question, ‘If Crane were to make a notebook, what would it look like?’ They are exquisitely made, satisfying to hold in hand; luxurious, and surprisingly affordable,” he says.
Segal is the professional, here, and we’re taking his words to heart. And when he says that these notebooks were tested and prototyped for months, that the Crane team worked laboriously to find the right fit, that they made fat notebooks and thin notebooks and short and squat notebooks until they knew it was just right, we know he means it. More than that, we trust it.
I myself am a bit of a hybrid, oscillating between digital and paper for various reasons. My love, of course, is for paper. I track everything meticulously by note-taking so as not to forget a thing, but I have a digital back-up that will send me reminders – just in case. I think we all live in this middle ground, hanging somewhere between digital and paper. But with everything so easily and readily accessible these days, there’s a refreshing simplicity to this re-emergence of putting pen to paper. The Crane Notebooks Collection was designed just for that. And we should be quick to point out that this line isn’t just for creatives – it was designed for everyone. Segal believes (and we’re inclined to agree) that notebooks are artifacts, that they’re forever.
“We skim along the surface of our devices – swiping left, swiping right – but we never make an authentic bond with them. They’re all ephemeral. We’re all going to get new iPhones next year, and two years from now we’re not even going to power it up,” he says.
And he’s right.
If the Crane Notebook Collection teaches us anything, it’s that we all deserve to discover the pleasures of having a deeper, personal connection with the tools of our trade.
“Nothing will replace the speed and convenience of our phones,” says Segal. “But we can all carve out a little bit of our worlds to be a little more intentional and deliberate with our thoughts. To be a little more present.”
As far as we’re concerned, these are words to live by. And we’re writing them down right now…