John Rainsford

Copybooks

This article was posted on Wednesday, 3rd November 2010

Gridded CopybookIn school, when we progressed beyond the workbooks with the cute graphics, we moved on to writing and doing maths in copybooks, or as we called them, copies.

Throughout my school career I doodled endlessly. At several stages I had an extra copybook for my creations. I liked the aspect of keeping a book of work, rather than a handful of pages. My only issue was the pale blue horizontal lines on the pages (somehow maths copies were a bit better, simply because they had a grid rather than lines).

Fast forward twenty years and I’m still doodling endlessly, but rather than strange creatures, helicopters and rockets, it’s layouts, logos and the occasional rocket. I sketch out business proposals, to-do lists and blog posts. It’s that step before digitisation, it’s easier to refine stuff on paper than re-typing a task list.

I’ve tried lots of different types of notebooks, Moleskins, Field Notes, reporter-style, hard-back notebooks, soft-back notebooks etcetera. I’ve never been happy with any of them. Too big, too small, too heavy, too expensive. Being in and out of Data Print, with their battery of print and finishing equipment has allowed me to experiment with different sizes, page numbers and binding methods, to find just the right combination.

Initially I had perfect-bound the books, like a paperback novel, but this proved to be awkward, especially when flattening the pages out to write on them, so I saddle-stitched them with three staples. As it turns out, one of the resultant notebooks, measuring 146mm x 206mm, reminded me of the copybooks we used in school, and it was this form that I found most useful and useable.

I prefer blank pages rather than lines or grid, but I found that there wasn’t much additional cost in getting grid paper printed so I produced a quantity of grid paper and printed an alternative cover colour, to make it easier to distinguish between blank (black) and gridded (green) books.

Back cover detailFor extra fun, I printed the covers in an opaque silver ink (don’t worry, it’s a soy-based ink) with the image used on the masthead for this site. I think it provides an interesting texture to the book. I also put a little Bleed Edge leaf on the front and thebleededge.com url on the back. I didn’t want to over-brand the notebooks, it’s not my style, I prefer subtlety.

I am selling them over on thebleededge.com and they are sold separately. I have to send them via the more expensive registered post, as I had trouble with stuff getting lost on a previous venture. I will also throw in any extra stickers and stuff that I have lying around, into each order, to try compensate for the expensive postage. It’ll be great.

I am funding and producing these notebooks myself, so every product has a limited quantity. I hope to produce other variations in the coming months, different cover colours/images.

If I’ve left out any pertinent information, be sure to let me know and I’ll post a follow up.

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