Have you ever been writing in your journal or notebook and noticed the disturbance of the lines? One of the biggest downfalls of customary paper is that the lines on the paper are simply too prominent. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way lessening the importance of the lines, as I am a huge neat freak when it comes to writing. I like everything clean and readable and straight. However, when looking at writings and drawings on traditional paper, the text looks anything but clean. After putting things down on paper, the lines’ assistance completely goes away and they become more of a limitation than an asset. Enter Whitelines.
For so long we have simply accepted traditional writing paper without questioning the fact that the lines of the paper, created to provide a foundation for your writing and drawings, acts as an interference forcing your thoughts and ideas to compete with the lines of the paper for attention.
Years ago Olof Hansson, the founder of Whitelines, was doing sketches of a new invention of his. Annoyed by the dark lines disturbing his creation, Olof became astutely aware of the hindrance of customary writing paper. He set out on a mission to create paper that did not impose limitations.
The obvious solution to this problem was to take the dark element out of writing paper. Still desiring the support and functionality of lines, Olof turned to a slightly colored paper with white lines. Quickly Olof found that not only did these two light elements provide a solid foundation for both note-taking and drawing and provide a strong contrast between the paper and the writing, but the paper also gave an enhanced reading and writing experience. The eye and the brain, without having to decipher between the writing and the lines of the paper, can process the information more effortlessly, making it easier on the eyes. Additionally, the gray tone of the paper delivers less glare. Whitelines was born in January of 2006.
Whitelines paper is for all those that want a supportive writing paper. The reason Whitelines is so popular among so many groups of people is because the paper makes the writing and reading process more pleasant for everyone. Students find note-taking and organization much more agreeable. People in the office place enjoy the ability to scan and fax the paper with the lines disappearing leaving only their writing. And the creative folks – they just get it. No longer do their drawings and creations have to fight with the constraints of traditional writing paper.
So go ahead and give it a try. Test out the paper for yourself to experience a writing experience without limitations. A bit of a forewarning: once you start using Whitelines paper, it’s difficult to go back to the distracting lines of traditional writing paper. With so many options to choose from (Hard Covers, Soft Covers, Wire-O), we don’t think you’ll have a problem finding a notebook for each need of yours.
Meet the Writer: An avid list-maker and moderate risk taker, Kaylee Bergstrom handles all of the logistics for Whitelines North America and, having never heard of Whitelines prior to her current position, has become hooked on the unique design of the notebooks. Rarely spotted without a good tube of mascara, an A5 or pocket notebook and her Jack Russell / Shih Tzu puppy Russell, Kaylee enjoys spending her free time with friends and family, getting hooked on a good book series or catching a mind-bending thriller.
Whether it’s for a close family member, a faraway penpal, or your busy boss, Rhodia No. 12 notepads are easy to gift! Staplebound with 80 gsm acid-free paper, Rhodia notepads are micro-perforated on top for easy and clean tearing. The stiff back cover provides the support required, and the staples do not appear on back. Each pad contains 80 sheets for drawing, doodling, note-taking, and list-making. At 3.375 x 4.75 inches, the Rhodia Top Staplebound No. 12 Notepad is the perfect little notepad to pop into your luggage, stash in your purse or briefcase, and leave on your desk at work!
Creativity never stops, even with summer fading into memory and fall approaching rapidly. While the weather is cooler it still doesn’t stop people from drawing inspiration from their daily lives. Whether you’re writing, sketching, or art journaling you can draw on your creativity at any moment. Many people have certain places where they are more creative than others, but sometimes you have those moments when you just draw a blank.
Well, what’s better than getting inspired from everything that is already around you? Based on my experiences, these are my top 5 areas for inspiration away from home:
Parks - Are you an outdoorsy type of person? Whether you flourish outside or need a little push, parks are a wonderful area to get inspired. People are constantly moving, you’re surrounded by nature, and the fresh air can all help to stir up some creative juices. Just take a few moments to capture snippets that you see because those snippets can develop into something more. The best part is you can always refer back to your observations for later use.
Malls/Restaurants - Do you enjoy a lot of active stimuli? Malls are great for that because you can observe a wide variety of people in a short amount of time. People are constantly walking by and engaging with friends or family. Take notice of the details of the situation as those people can be used as inspiration for your creativity. I put restaurants next to malls because they are in similar realms where you can observe several groups of people in a short amount of time. Whether you’re dining at a nice place or getting a quick lunch you can partially eavesdrop on conversations as something you hear could spark an idea.
Libraries - Besides the obvious (observing people around the library), you can read! Most people at the library probably already have their noses stuck in a book. When you’re out of creative juices, pull out a novel, magazine, or book that sounds interesting to you. Who knows, reading the literature and exploring it can lead to your own ideas. For those not in the mood to flip through a book, use a computer and just start browsing the web. The libraries where I live provide computers for research, you just need a library number which is free to obtain. (Computer availability may vary depending on your location.) If you’re still stuck you can always ask a librarian, they are always there to help you out.
Take a Walk - While you’re out and about shopping or getting some exercise, keep a piece of yourself alert to your local surroundings. If you’re taking a walk around your neighborhood you can let your mind wander or you might want to get to know the people who live near you. Your neighbors might have a quirk or a story that may inspire you. You might also gain a lifelong friend. If you live in a city, getting lost in it can be fun. You can observe the artistic architecture of various buildings or the meticulous landscapes surrounding them. Cities are usually bustling with activities, you just have to dive in and interact with them. Some of the greatest minds were inspired by their local surroundings.
Fairs/Museum - Another inspiring place where you are surrounded by many people or by culture are fairs or carnivals. You can observe people, enjoy the music/conversations, and eat good food – all wonderful inspirations! There is always something going on and it’s up to you to find out what it is and how you can use it for inspiration. Museums are wonderful to gain inspiration from because they contain works by some of the greatest creative minds. Surrounding yourself with their works can be an indirect way to get you to open your mind and allow it to imagine the impossibilities into possibilities.
Gathering inspiration from these places can be a cinch on good days. You might want to note that most of these places can get crowded. If you can’t handle large crowds you can always move to a more quiet area. You can find yourself a less traveled road for your observations if you’re a creative introvert who doesn’t enjoy large crowds or too much interaction.
I usually find an empty area or sit on a distant bench for observations. Of course, everyone has their own preferences and may dive into the experiences only to distance yourself later or vice versa. There is no wrong or right way to get inspired. As long as it works for you then you’re doing it right. Just don’t forget to take notes or you might forget! (You have a notebook or sketchbook on you, don’t you? If not go get one!) Now my friends, go forth and create!
Meet the Writer: Lis (Aisazia) Huey is a Notebook/Sketchbook/Comic/Manga lover. A swimmer and a dreamer. A story enthusiast with the dream of telling and sharing stories through art. She has been an avid fan of web comics, indie comics, and fantasy/sci fi novels since high school and since then has always wanted to create one of her own. She feels that everyone has at least one story to tell, but some may have more than one. She hopes to be able to share her hopefully fresh and original stories and entertain my audiences at the same time. To find more about Lis, find her at: aisazia.deviantart.com, twitter.com/aisazia, and etherealvoices.blogspot.com
This weekend only, you can grab the Rhodia No. 16 Top Staplebound Notepad (6 by 8.25 inches) for 25% OFF!! Use code FLASH25 at checkout and save instantly. This coupon code is good for October 12 through 15 only, so hurry while supplies last.
The Rhodia No. 16 Top Staplebound Notepad is known for its 80 gsm, extra white, acid-free and ink-friendly vellum paper (all micro-perforated for easy removal). Rhodia’s Staplebound Notepads have reinforced staples at the top, a scored front cover that neatly folds back, and a stiff back cover allows for easy writing or sketching on-the-go. The famous orange cover dates back to the 1930s – it was a standard hue for cardstock at the time and remains unchanged to this day. Over time, Rhodia has become the most popular pad in France.
The Moleskine Classic Large Ruled Notebook is known for being the quintessential little black notebook that you see everywhere. With 240 acid-free pages in its uber portable 5.25 x 8.25 inch size, use this notebook at home as a personal diary, at work to jot down notes and ideas throughout the day, and at school to keep track of new friends and schedules. Moleskine’s legendary hard cover notebook includes several features you’ve come to know and love: the ribbon placeholder, elastic closure, and rear expandable pocket. What do you use your Moleskine for?
Rhodia’s No. 18 Notepad is a versatile notepad ideal for taking long scores of notes, keeping track of your to-do lists, and generally keeping you organized. Known for its 80 gsm extra white, acid-free and ink-friendly vellum paper, you can use any type of pen or pencil on Rhodia’s #18 pad without worrying about bleedthrough. Plus, each page is micro-perforated for easy removal and all Rhodia’s Staplebound Notepads have reinforced staples at the top, a scored front cover that neatly folds back, and a stiff back cover allows for easy writing or sketching on-the-go. Why is Rhodia your favorite?
We’ve been jazzed behind the scenes for a month now in anticipation of introducing our newest brand on EuropeanPaper.com, Whitelines!! When we asked YOU which brands you wanted to see added on EPC, you spoke so loudly for Whitelines (well over 50% of the votes), it was a no-brainer to welcome them into the family here at EuropeanPaper.com. Everyone at Whitelines is simply a joy and we’ve learned so much about Whitelines, we’ve just got to share!
Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Whitelines was founded in January 2006 by three friends with one ambition: “to make a contribution to a better world, no matter how small.”
Whitelines is incredibly innovative with their take on writing paper. Their concept is quite simple, yet effective across writing, sketching, doodling, etc. Whitelines posits that dark lines distract, and quite frankly, Whitelines don’t. Pen markings are dark and become jumbled with the traditional dark lines of ordinary paper. Whitelines’ paper is slightly toned, meaning that not only is there no visual interference between the lines and the pen markings, strong light also doesn’t gleam in your eyes when it gets reflected off the paper as what happens with ordinary paper.
Easy on the eyes, Whitelines has one more trick up its sleeve: When you photocopy, scan, or fax Whitelines paper all you see on the copy is your crisp, clear handwriting or drawing. Once again, no distractions.
Eco & Innovative
Whitelines was perhaps the first paper company in the world to mark their products with a Carbon Footprint label, which soon became a Zero Carbon Footprint label. Whitelines uses MultiCopy paper produced in an integrated mill in southern Sweden where all carbon dioxide is reused during the production process. Not only that, but Whitelines is located close to the mill to reduce transport, and the paper is guaranteed chlorine and acid-free.
As Whitelines is an incredibly well-rounded eco paper company – and unique, to say the least – we now offer several Whitelines products on EPC! Check out Whitelines’ sweet and simple Perfect Bound A5 and A4 Notebooks; Soft Cover Spiral Bound A5 and A4 Notebooks; and their Hard Cover Wire Bound A5, and A4 Notebooks! Each is available in black or white covers, and ruled or graphed page styling.
Are you a chronic compiler of sticky notes? Is your wallet stuffed with small scraps of paper? Do scrawl-covered napkins flutter around in your car? If that sounds like you, you might just be a to-do list hoarder.
To-do lists are good. Usually. They help us remember the innumerable tasks we have to tackle for work, home, committees, kids, and more. But if managing – or finding – your to-do lists takes over actually completing the tasks, your lists aren’t helping. Unless you organize or consolidate your responsibilities into a more streamlined system, you’re not being as efficient as you could be.
Here, based on personality types, are a handful of the best ways to organize to-do lists from various aspects of your life – and the products to facilitate your newfound sense of organization.
If you strive to keep your professional life separate from your personal life, institute a system that encourages that separation. To help you compartmentalize your various roles and responsibilities, pick up a set of Moleskine Volant notebooks. Dedicate one to work and one to life, and clearly label the two notebooks so that you’re not tempted to grab whichever is closer.
Not everyone can achieve it, but if your goal is simplicity, consolidate all your to-do lists into one single notebook. The trick is to create a habit of always carrying that one notebook with you since everything will be housed together. A side spiral Rhodia will help you keep all your lists in one place. With a sturdy cover and side binding, a Rhodia can be taken in and out of your bag, tossed in your car, and lugged on an airplane and still keep your to-dos together.
Those who love the Moleskine tradition may balk at the idea of replacing their do-it-all notebook for a different system. With a simple hack, convert your Moleskine into a to-do list organizer. Use your favorite size notebook, and divide it into sections for each task area, like work, life, home, goals, and so on. Tabs can be made from almost anything. For example, fold a small sticky tab in half, write the title on the edge, and tape it into place, or cut up expired gift cards for durable tabulating.
For those with many goals, many tasks, and many to-dos, a large notebook is a must. The Clairefontaine Classic Extra Large Spiralbound Notepad is 8.5- by 11-inches, which gives you enough space to outline all your tasks and related notes. Plus, since the pages are perforated, you can tear them out to file as needed.
For the busy mom on the go, the Exacompta Exafolio Executive will keep all your lists organized in one place. Six file compartments accompany a notebook, which allows you to keep like items – errands, grocery lists, kid-related to-dos, and so on – together.
Whichever product you choose to manage your to-do lists, the ACME Sing Sing 4-Function Pen is the perfect complement to keep your organization streamlined. Instead of cramming multiple implements in your bag or notebook, this one piece has a stylus for your PDA, a pencil, a pen, and a highlighter for convenient note-jotting.
Whatever your personality, there’s a product that can help you organize that never-ending flow of to-dos. Now, if only there was a product to complete those to-dos for you!
Meet the Writer:Maggie Marton is a freelance writer who lives in Bloomington, Indiana, with her husband and their three darling dogs. View more of Maggie’s work at MaggieMarton.com
The Victorians, at least the well-to-do variety, sure did have a lot of time to pay attention to details. They devised the use of Personal Calling Cards, the selection of flowers to send a certain message, and lots and lots of rules about etiquette. Even today, we are discovering (and reviving) Victorian traditions. For letter writing and mail enthusiasts, there is one in particular that has gotten notice in the last few years: The Language of Stamps.
Just as it was a Victorian tradition to select flowers based upon a message you’d like to send (the red rose equating to true love still exists today), there was a tradition of affixing a postage stamp to a letter in a certain way. Upside down, tilted left or tilted right, the direction and placement of the stamp said much more than ‘postage paid.’
Perhaps the most interesting part of the language of stamps is that there were no distinct rules. An upside down stamp might have meant one thing in the southern U.S., another in the northern U.S., and another in the UK. For all intents and purposes, the language of stamps was restricted to particular groups or regions. Even then, there is evidence that individuals and couples had their own private codes they used just between themselves.
Today, this tradition has made a resurgence (albeit a small one) with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Men and women writing to spouses serving overseas flip stamps upside down or in another direction to signify things like “I miss you” and “I love you.” The ‘codes’ in these letters are generally just between the letter writer and the recipient and there is by no means a true system out there today.
There is also a section of the US population that are avid letter writers who see value in reviving traditions like these. Major newspapers and popular websites have covered this very topic in recent years which has helped to draw more interest (and participation).
Communicating an additional message with a stamp is all about details. Not only is the letter writer taking time to write a letter, put pen to paper, fold it up, put it in an envelope and mail it, but they are going the extra mile in selecting the way the stamp is adhered to the envelope.
And, in case you ever wondered, if you place your stamp somewhere other than the upper right hand corner of your envelope, it will still get delivered. (However, if you do choose to place the stamp elsewhere on the front of the envelope, the letter might be slightly delayed due to the postage machines not able to scan it normally and therefore it will have to be handled manually.) In fact, this is the reason the original process of the recipient paying for the postage of a letter changed to the sender paying the postage. Senders would affix a stamp a certain way or put some other code on the exterior of the envelope or letter, and many times the recipient would get the message and decline paying postage on the note. Needless to say, word spread and the system was abused to the point that it was changed to where the sender pays the postage.
To encourage you to partake in the Language of Stamps tradition, attached to this article is an editable letterhead document you can download and print! Click the following link for a letterhead made specially for you to download and use –> EPC-Stationery-Hot-Air-Balloon-Editable
It is a PDF and features a hot air balloon in the bottom right hand corner. This particular image was lithographed in the Victorian era and is a rather appropriate subject for the sending of ‘air mail,’ no? After you download the letterhead, open it up in Adobe Acrobat (free) and click where the text appears. You can enter your own name or details for truly personal stationery. It prints two sheets to a standard sheet of 8.5” x 11” paper. Just cut right down the middle.
Interested in more reading? Here is a selection of articles and posts on the Language of Stamps you might be interested in:
From Love to Longing to Protest, It’s All in the Tilt of the Postage [New York Times article from 2005]
The Language of Stamps [post by Letter Writer’s Alliance]
The Language of Stamps [article on Philatelic Database]
Meet the Writer: Cole Imperi is a business owner and a proponent of the handwritten word. When not at Doth Brands, a Branding & Identity firm catering to the health, wellness & deathcare professions where Cole works as Owner and Creative Director, you might find her on her yoga mat teaching yoga or behind a laptop writing for Simplicity Embellished, a letter-writing and lifestyle blog.
Meetings take up a huge amount of our work schedules. While it sometimes seems like meetings are held only for the sake of meetings, the reality is that meetings are meant to keep projects on track. However, if the meeting participants aren’t capturing the salient points and important tasks during the meeting, all that time is wasted. Meetings are only as valuable as the action that comes out of them. To make sure you’re maximizing meeting time, focus on developing an effective note-taking system. Bonus: Taking notes keeps you from zoning out during long sessions.
To begin, choose a notebook that encourages clean note taking. A large, ruled, spiral-bound book like the Rhodia Meeting Book allows for the most efficient note taking. Plus, the pages are easy to tear out in case an unprepared colleague needs a sheet for his own notes.
It’s important to develop a consistent note-taking system that works for you. You don’t have to use an “official” method like, for instance, Cornell Notes, but it’s worth experimenting with different styles. Regardless, there are several steps you should take to make your meeting notes effective and efficient.
First, always notate the meeting specifics. Jot the date, start and end times, and attendees at the top of your page. This is especially important for a big project where questions can arise about who is responsible for – or who dropped the ball on – specific tasks.
Next, remember that it isn’t necessary to write down everything said during the meeting. Capture the significant points of each discussion and any supporting details. If tasks are delegated – especially to you! – capture the assignment, the due date, and the names of anyone else involved. Be sure that these tasks stand out on your page by marking them with a box or star or highlighting that line.
To speed up your note taking, abbreviate! Abbreviations are only useful if you remember what they actually mean, so until you’re accustomed to abbreviating your meeting notes, create a list of abbreviations you plan to use frequently. Here are a few common abbreviations to get your list started:
- re = regarding
- w/o = without
- incl = including
Finally, the real test of effectiveness is what you do with your notes after the meeting. Meetings aren’t productive by themselves; the productivity comes from the action taken after the meeting. Meeting notes should be processed as soon as possible after the meeting so that crucial information isn’t lost. Type your notes and file them with the handwritten copy. Transfer all project timelines and tasks to your day planner. Enter any follow-up meetings into your planner or send out meeting requests for check-ins immediately after in order to keep everyone on schedule.
Meet the Writer:Maggie Marton is a freelance writer who lives in Bloomington, Indiana, with her husband and their three darling dogs. View more of Maggie’s work at MaggieMarton.com
A Little Binding History
The spiralbound notebook is an object that everyone is familiar with, if only because it’s on school supply lists nearly everywhere. But it’s also quite popular in an office setting for the convenience of lying the spiralbound book flat, wrapping the pages 360-degrees around the book, and creating a professional look.
Spiral binding is also known as coil spring binding, which has existed since 1924. Back then, it was used primarily in office settings. Today, it is commonly used in schools and offices for reports, presentations, and other professional documents.
Coil binding machines use spring coils, also called spirals, which bind paper sheets together through a series of holes along the side of the paper. There are many options for coil binding machines, ranging from light-duty for home projects to heavy-duty for offices and manufacturers. The main options include the punch capacity (the number of sheets it can punch at one time), the binding capacity (the number of sheets it can bind at one time), and whether it is manual or electric.
Spiral binding is a three-step process: the pages are punched, the coil is inserted, then the ends of the metal or plastic coil are cut. While the light-duty punching systems are great for binding a school or work project at home, the heavier machines can punch and bind more sheets of paper at a time, allowing for faster production.
The amount of paper used is the main factor when selecting the type of material to bind your project. Some spiral binding coils are made from metal, whereas other types of coil binding are made from plastic. Metal coils are useful when you need extra durability or if you need to punch a large number of pages. Plastic coils may break easier than metal coils and this is something to keep in mind if you would like to start binding your own projects at home. One benefit to the plastic springs is that you can get just about any color you need (i.e. they’re more than ideal for those who organize their projects or lifestyle via color).
Many spiralbound notebooks today have a double wire binding to prevent snags plus perforated sheets for clean and easy tearing, so you won’t have little bits of paper falling out. If you’re in the market for a new spiralbound, try these options:
The versatile notebook (top AND side spiralbound): The Rhodia Spiralbound Reverse Notepad can be used horizontally and vertically, making it an accessible choice for everyone. This one is a favorite with artists. It can also be used and flipped around when the table space you have to write on isn’t big enough to accommodate the horizontal version.
For the organized planner (side spiralbound): The Rhodia Spiralbound Meeting Book is the planner’s dream. This side spiralbound allows an all-in-one record of meeting discussions, decision and action items. You can review the meeting or event with one glance, having all of your plans and notes together on one page.
Color Coordinated (top spiralbound): Clairefontaine’s Classic Top Spiralbound Notepad blends the best of both colors per cover. Plus, it includes either lined or graph paper, so it’s perfect for in the classroom or in the office. It’s even great for playing paper and line games where you need the graphing boxes.
Editor’s Note: Like stapled notepads better? Check out Kelly’s article detailing Top vs. Side Staplebound Notepads.
Meet the Writer: Kelly McLendon is a freelance writer and journalist with a passion for paper products—particularly eco-friendly ones. Follow her articles on our blog to learn all about paper products.