The Moleskine is not the Message

Witold Riedel has an interesting post today related to the sudden hipness of Moleskines. His words got me thinking about the separation of the Moleskine (the object) and what we can do in them (the process and the message).

This separation seems to be a problem with any attractive “thing”, because people often look at the thing itself and not at what can be done with it. I think there is soften a similar phenomena which occurs with cameras, computers or with other tools. There are always those who figure buying a certain tool will suddenly make their work amazing.”


No, no no. It is about the work, even if the medium (in this case a Moleskine) fits your working needs well and provides an enjoyable experience. Personally, I love Moleskines because they are very well designed. They seem to have a perfect size, thickness, paper quality, and small design details which I appreciate for the way I work.

However, though a Moleskine’s niceties do not make my art or writing better, I do believe they can sometimes encourage me to write or draw more because the process is more enjoyable than on a uncrumpled sheet of notebook paper.

Now, that certainly won’t make what you do in the Moleskine any better — but by being encouraged to work on your process of expression, maybe it can encourage you to improve, or at least to explore when you might not.

Years ago, my father was an amateur photographer and spent a good amount of time finding the right SLR camera to fit his hands and working style (which turned out to be a Minlota SRT-101). When I asked whether his camera would help him take better photos, he told me that the camera is not what’s important to making great photos… the eye of the photographer is what makes great photos.

He made a statement something like this:

“Give a great photographer a box camera and an average photographer the best equipment available, and I bet you that the great photographer will always produce better, more interesting shots. It’s not about the camera, it’s about the photographer.”

Personally, I hope people don’t read my enthusiastic weblog posts about a love for Moleskines and misinterpret that to mean the book makes my work better. My intent with my Moleskine posts was to share this wonderful little object with others who might want to try them out, to kick start or encourage their own process of writing or sketching.

I suppose there is something related here to an earlier posts about worries on sudden popularity of Moleskines: will they become a fad and therefore become diluted? I do suspect some people will buy them because they are “hip”. However, I am willing to deal with this, if it means another person who buys one in curiosity is encouraged to see it as a means to an end. An improvement on the process of expression. To do writing or sketches they may not have otherwise done.

In the end, I believe it’s about the process of expression (writing, drawing) and not the medium (Moleskines) in which that process is explored. I think it’s our job as Moleskine fans to make certain those we influence to try Moleskines for themselves stay focused on the process of working and not the medium.

Mike Rohde


One thought on “The Moleskine is not the Message

  1. Pingback: vanilla sky

Comments are closed.