We’re excited to introduce the newest addition to the iA family: iAノートブック, the Notebook for Writers.

Watermark lines guide your pen. As your words come into focus, the lines fade into the background. The iA Notebook has been a labor of love, spanning several years of trials and fails and deeply engaging our designer team.

Get a sneak peek of the iA Notebook this holiday season.

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If iA Writer Was a Notebook

It all began with a simple question: What if iA Writer took the form of a physical notebook? Ten years in the making, we doubled our efforts in times of exponentially growing artificial text.

In the iA Notebook, every element is crafted to minimize distractions and enhance the joy of writing, mirroring the philosophy of iA Writer. Our goal was to extend the immersive focus experience enjoyed on our app to the offline realm.

iAノートブック, made with love in Japan

Functionality was a key consideration in our design process. We carefully selected the paper thickness and color; the binding method was chosen to ensure the books lay flat, for an unbothered writing experience. The concept of transparency also influenced the design: you will find it in the subtle watermarking on the band and the transparent wrapping paper.

Fading Watermark Guidelines

We wanted guidelines in the notebook, serving as a temporary scaffold to support your writing without causing distraction. The design had to reflect the core spirit of iA Writer: simple, clean, uncluttered. The use of ink had to be exclusively reserved for the owner’s handwritten text. After exploring different approaches, the decision to adopt delicate watermark guidelines became clear, even though its implementation demands high technical expertise and attention to detail.

“It’s impossible” Watermark lines. They are noticeable when holding the paper against the light. After ten iterations, the Swiss paper makers and bookbinders stopped answering our emails.

“We have to try harder” Making waterlines work required a lot of testing and optimization. We went through over 100 prototypes and 20 test prints with our binder in Japan.

Before: When the light comes from above they are barely just noticeable. Ideal for guiding the pen.

After: As your words come into focus, the lines fade into the background.

The lines are here: On an empty page the lines are visible. This needed just the right amount of ink and the right line thickness, and the right paper. Design takes time.

The lines fade: The stronger contrast between ink and paper make the lines fade. It’s noticeable but less striking on a photograph, since the camera doesn’t act exactly like the human eye.

These watermark guidelines are subtle and unobtrusive, offering direction without overpowering the page. The high contrast between the discreet guidelines and the ink from your pen creates an optical illusion: the lines seem to vanish gradually as you write.

Once your thoughts have taken shape on the page, the lines fade into the background, allowing your text to take center stage. It’s an optical illusion, based on the way our eyes work. We focus on the highest contrast. Since the ink is stronger than the watermark lines, the watermarks appear to be invisible.

Everything is made out of paper. (Okay we did use a mesh and some glue, too).

Logo on the backside: It’s not about us.

Japanese Craftsmanship Extraordinaire

Bringing this small project to life required a printing company with dedication, attention to detail, and a deep commitment to their craft. In the cultural context of Japanese companies, patience and continual improvement until reaching a high standard are highly valued.

Our bookbinding partner, located in Tokyo not far from our office, was chosen for the excellence of their past work and their genuine interest in product design. What sets them apart is not just their role as a supplier but as a true partner, actively contributing ideas to enhance the collaborative process.

  • Pages: 142
  • Size: A5
  • Ships from: Japan
  • Shipping cost: Depends on country. From 3+ books, shipping is free.
  • Taxes: VAT not included. Import taxes and tariffs may apply, depending on your region.

Each notebook is handcrafted. Our bookbinder will deliver them in batches. The first batch will ship mid-June 2024.

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To secure a copy from the second batch we suggest that you order soon. The first sold out within 24 hours.