Me & My Moleskine

Back home in Colombia when I was still only in my third semester of uni, I got a placement as a copywriter at Lowe. It was my first real work experience. There was this family that sold art and design books out of the back of a van and did the rounds through every agency in Bogotá. They would park out the front and all the creatives would rush down to buy their books.

Photo: Blue and pink Moleskins
Photo: Blue and pink Moleskines

These books, very difficult to find in Colombia, were incredibly expensive, even more so when compared to UK prices. You’d pay £90 for a book that cost only £15 in the UK. But they’d allow you to pay in installments, week by week. All out of trust.

And then they started selling Moleskine notebooks, quite a novelty in South America at the time. I went and got my first one, and paid it off in three installments. I kept it sitting by my desk at work; I didn’t want to use it. It felt like I’d be ruining a beautiful thing. I was waiting for that perfect project to come through, something worthy of writing and sketching on its pages.

And then it came. But when I went to put pen to paper on my Moleskine, I found that my mind was completely blocked. This would be the evidence of my creative thinking. What if it wasn’t good enough? It was quite a commitment to write or draw anything on that Moleskine notebook. Whatever I wrote would stay there forever. I couldn’t tear the pages out. Didn’t want to cross over stuff. Didn’t want to stain it with my horrible sketches and scamps. It all felt too final.

So, instead, I preferred to just use spare sheets of paper. I felt less insecure when I knew that I could just bin my sketches, while I certainly couldn’t bin my expensive Moleskine book. But then I started losing all of my loose drafts. Something had to give.

The brand and the object itself being so valuable to me, representing all that I was striving for creatively, was exactly what was keeping me from using my Moleskine. Ironically enough, it was blocking my creativity, going completely against what the brand stands for.

As I got more experience and became more confident with my ideas, I came to realise something: nothing’s perfect the first time around. A creative execution is the tip of an iceberg of endless drafts and re-drafts. In my Moleskine today, there are more crossed out ideas than those left intact. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a way to record a journey to a destination, and not the destination itself.

About the Author

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Gabriel Soto is a designer working for the brand storytellers – Aesop Agency. After working in advertising and design agencies in his home city of Bogotá, Colombia, Gabriel hopped across the pond to get a taste of London agency life.