There’s nothing quite like starting a new notebook. For me, it’s satisfying to fill one up entirely with scribbles and writing, but then it’s also extremely satisfying to put the finished book aside and to go on the hunt for new stationery, whether I’m in the mood for a simple Moleskine, a functional ring-bound pad from the dollar store, or an elaborately decorated, leather hardback.
Recently though, I’ve found a brand that I’ve been returning to over and over called Write Sketch & by Italian studio Officemilano. With its penchant for pop colors, strong geometry, and Memphis-inspired prints, the studio’s notebooks feel like mini, portable scraps of exuberant design history.
“The inspiration came from the early ’80s movement Memphis Milano, a reaction to the minimalism of the ’70s,” says studio founders Matteo Carruba and Angela Tomasoni. “We were also bored by minimal graphics, so we designed a stationery line with happy colors and patterns.”
Officemilano is predominately a branding and communication agency—it’s designed identities for Milan fashion houses, restaurants, architecture studios, and law firms—so its self-initiated stationary business is a chance to let loose when it comes to design and escape the confines of a brief. “Our main goal when we designed the collection was to have fun doing it and to communicate this joy to others,” say Carrubba and Tomasoni.
The studio has worked with other notebook brands in the past, most memorably the two lines it curated for Ogami, which featured famous design quotes that Officemilano visually translated into emphatic graphics, shapes, and modern patterns. “Most of the covers were inspired by Max Huber and the work he did in the early ’50s in Italy,” explain Carrubba and Tomasoni, who cite Giovanni Pintori as another crucial reference point.
Now that the studio has designed notebooks with a nod to stripped-back, two-tone modernism as well as its own line of vibrant stationery, I’m intrigued to see what era of design history Officemilano will reference next. Whether they’ll be notebooks adorned in Louise Fili-esque typographic flairs or energetic shapes that seem to have fallen from a Futurist poster, I’m sure that I’ll be writing obsessive lists and doodling in the notebook margins.