The Moleskine trademark belongs to the Italian company Modo & Modo, which produces various stationery products. However, initially, Moleskine was a small stationery production located in the French town of Tours.
After it closed, it will be about 10 years before the notebook, so beloved by creative people, returns to store shelves. Thanks for this I must say to the Italian Maria Sebregondi, who was not afraid to restart production and take the fashion for handwritten notes to a new level.
About the creation of the Moleskine brand
The Moleskine brand is truly unique in many ways. Its history is also unique. Officially, the brand that produces notebooks so beloved by many, appeared in 1997. However, the concept and design of the black-bound notebook is over 150 years old. The fact is that long before the birth of the company, notebooks similar to Moleskine (the design of which the creators of the Italian brand tried to rethink) were produced in a small stationery store in the town of Tours, France. The store did not survive the transition to electronic media and closed in 1986.
But the notebooks, which, according to legend, were used by Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Van Gogh, Sartre and other performers of art, could not just sink into oblivion. In 11 years, Maria Sebregondi, who will become the founder of the modern brand Moleskine, will try to revive the fashion for laconic and such attractive notebooks in black binding.
Maria was born in Italy. Her mother worked as an editor and graphic designer, and therefore the girl willy-nilly became interested in literature. In 1995, she was reading a piece by Bruce Chatwin, and one phrase caught her attention. In it, the author wrote that losing a notebook is a real disaster, because he wrote all his books in notebooks, manually numbering each page and indicating his two addresses on the cover, so that if a stranger found the notebook, the latter could return it to its rightful owner.
In the same work, Sebregondi came across another interesting detail. Chatwin complained that the store where he bought his favorite notebooks had closed and the production of unique stationery had stopped. He bought out about 200 notebooks (all that remained from the owner). The writer called these notebooks moleskine (which literally translated from English means “skin of a mole” – a vivid epithet describing the cover of a notebook).
Impressive Maria, possessing at the same time a highly artistic taste, decided that this was certainly a sign. She researched the production history of the very notebooks Chatwin wrote about. Her small clerical detective investigation led her to the Picasso Museum in Paris, where she saw the master’s famous notebooks, which resembled in description those of which Chatwin spoke. Then Maria found Hemingway’s magazines, which also turned out to be similar to those of Picasso and Chatwin. Almost the entire history of the avant-garde culture of the twentieth century revolved around laconic black notebooks with an elastic band.
Then Sebregondi decided to take a serious step. She set out to revive the production of notebooks so beloved by geniuses and turned to the design and publishing company Modo & Modo for help. Together, they revived a once-forgotten brand and launched the production of refreshed Moleskine notebooks.
This is the mysterious word Moleskine …
MOLESKINE is a cult notebook that has been paid tribute to the European creative intelligentsia for more than two centuries: artists, writers, screenwriters and directors, journalists, architects and musicians. 150-200 years ago, when Moleskines were still produced by several small manufactories in France, they were noticed and loved by outstanding people of that time. Today in museums you can see the notebooks of Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso. Without saying a word, they were chosen for themselves by Ernest Hemingway, Henri Matisse and Jean-Paul Sartre, Guillaume Apollinaire and Gertrude Stein, André Breton and Louis-Ferdinand Celine.
In the 90s, the idea of the legendary notebook was taken up by the Italian one. The design of the modern Moleskine was created according to the descriptions of Bruce Chatwin, who used them until the last manufactory closed in 1986 and the production of moleskines was temporarily suspended.
Today, Moleskine’s notable fans include writer Neil Gaiman and screenwriter Simon de Val. In addition, many sites and creative blogs have already been created and are still being created on the global Internet, where Moleskin fans publish their sketches, comics, poems and other various manifestations of creativity.
What is so attractive about Moleskine? Not only its legendary past makes it a favorite of creative people, but also its elegant design, convenience and reliability:
- convenient small format
- hard waterproof cover
- securely threaded binding
- pages not yellowing from time to time
- practical rounded corners
- elastic band-fastener
- bookmark ribbon
- inside pocket
In all the variety of notebooks, you can always recognize Moleskin’s elegant restraint.
Having learned this information, I wanted to breathe new life into this convenient notebook, necessary every day. A creative person always has some design ideas, poetry, music in his head. You are not always at your desk to write down your thoughts on paper. It is moleskin – always at hand, with a pen or pencil, even on an airplane or somewhere on the mountain slopes of a traveler – that is irreplaceable.
And so that the moleskin was a reflection of its owner or mistress, or maybe just reminded of some pleasant events in life, I decided to scratch the cover, bookmark, pocket, as they say. I started with my moleskin. And then all my friends began to order such moleskines, decorated with designer paper. From my first moleskin I have designed more than 200 and all are exclusive.
Pre-holiday promotion: for the purchase of a set – moleskin with a cover for documents, delivery is free.
Small black notebook
The world has literally gone crazy with seemingly simple and laconic notebooks. And this is in the age of rampant computerization. By 2004, Sebregondi and her Moleskine entered the Japanese market with sales, and then spread throughout Asia.
In 2006, the French investment fund Société Générale Capital buys out Modo & Modo SpA and changes the brand name to Moleskine Srl.
In 2007, the brand decided to move to a new stage in the development of the design of its notebooks. In addition to the classic black models, notepads with brightly colored covers have been added to the range.
In 2011, Moleskine expands their production. They add new stationery used for reading and writing to their regular collections. This expansion allowed the brand to gain a foothold in markets in more than 95 countries around the world. Limited collaboration collections of Moleskine based on famous films, TV series, music and art works are actively being released.
In early 2021, the brand announced that it was opening its own cafe of the same name in the largest cities of the world – Beijing, London, New York, Hamburg and, of course, in Milan, where Moleskine itself is from.
Moleskine – brand history
Moleskine is a brand of Italian stationery, mainly notebooks, founded in 1997.
In the mid-nineties of the twentieth century, a wide range of notebooks were presented on store shelves around the world. Despite this, Maria Sebregondi, an employee of the Modo & Modo publishing house in Milan, invited Francesco Francesi and Mario Baruzzi to produce black-bound notebooks with beige paper. She read about similar notebooks in the ethnographic essays of Briton Bruce Chatwin, who described black notebooks, which were handcrafted by a French family company, which he bought in Paris.
In 1997, the publishing house Modo & Modo registered the Moleskine trademark and released the first batch of 5,000 black notebooks in pocket size 9×14 centimeters.
By 1998, Modo & Modo was producing 30,000 notebooks a year. Moleskine notebooks were sold throughout Europe.
By 2000, Modo & Modo SpA had an office in Milan with a small staff and sales of 20 million euros.
In 2004, Moleskine notebooks were marketed in Japan and later throughout Asia.
In 2005, the German company Leuchtturm, which produces albums for collecting stamps and coins, seeing the success of Moleskine, begins to release Leuchtturm1917 notebooks, similar in assortment and quality, but at half the price. Modo & Modo realized that they lacked experience to grow their business in a competitive environment. In 2006, the company was acquired by a European private equity firm known today as Syntegra Capital.
In August 2006, the French investment fund Société Générale Capital acquired Modo & Modo SpA. The company name has changed to Moleskine Srl.
In 2011, Moleskine expanded production to new product categories. Most of the items in these new collections were designed by Italian industrial designer Giulio Iacchetti and focused more on reading and writing accessories than paper products. By 2012, Moleskine-branded products are sold in 95 countries.
In March 2013, the company announced that it was going public. Moleskine shares begin to be traded on the Borsa Italiana exchange. The company becomes a public limited company and changes its name to Moleskine SpA.
In September 2021, the Belgian investment group D’Ieteren acquired a 41% stake in Moleskine. In the future, D’Ieteren will increase its stake in Moleskine to 95% of the shares. D’Ieteren then abolished the public limited company, exiting Moleskine.
In early 2021, the company announced the opening of Moleskine cafes in major cities such as Beijing, London, New York and Hamburg. The first cafe was opened in Milan, where the company comes from.
The first notebook, issued under the sign of the Italian brand, was 9×14 in size and all the iconic attributes of the classic Moleskine. It is these attributes that distinguish notebooks of this brand against the background of other notebooks; it is these characteristics that many modern brands are trying to reproduce, trying to create an analogue of a notebook from the “skin of a mole”:
- leather black cover;
- slightly rounded corners;
- pocket at the end of the book;
- fabric bookmark sewn to the cover;
- slightly yellowish pages;
- an elastic band holding pages or sides of a cover;
- sticker with an individual serial number;
- a card describing the history of the brand.
Modern Moleskines have retained almost all of these attributes. However, some items may vary depending on the characteristics of a particular collection. For example, a classic black cover could change to a bright color or have a print dedicated to a particular collaboration (for example, the Lonely Mountain and Dragon embossed in a limited edition dedicated to The Hobbit). The situation is similar with inserts, which can be thematic
Iconic item: Moleskine
It all started many years ago, when a small black notebook became the successor of great traditions, and now it is rightfully considered a real cult item, because in order to obtain such a status, an item must have a long and exciting history.
Today’s Moleskine notebooks are essentially replicas of the notebooks used by great artists, writers, philosophers and thinkers over the past two centuries. Among them are Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Bruce Chatwin, Guillaume Apollinaire, Jean – Paul Sartre, Gertrude Stein and André Breton.
A simple black rectangular notebook, with thick creamy yellow sheets, rounded corners, a resilient page holder and a handy note pocket, it is inherently perfect in shape and extremely functional travel companion. It is also convenient for sketches, essays, notes, stories, sketches, ideas that one day may gain fame or become illustrations for the pages of your favorite books.
The little black notebook was dearly loved by Bruce Chatwin, it was he who called it “Moleskine”.
In the mid-1980s, notebooks began to disappear from office supply stores. In his book Songlines, Chatwin tells the story of a small black notebook.
A small family business of French book binders located in Tours, in addition to its main activity, they also produced these notebooks, supplying them to shops in Paris. The cover of notebooks has always been made of thick cotton fabric in the classic black color.
When the production of notebooks dwindled, the owner of the stationery store announced that moleskines were no longer produced. For Chatwin, who drew inspiration from travel and his notebook was more than just a notebook, it turned out to be a small tragedy. He proceeded to buy up all the notebooks he could find before he left for Australia, but that was not enough.
But, a decade later, Moleskine received a second birth, thanks to a small Italian company, which registered the trademark “Moleskine” – a name with a literary pedigree.
The new notebooks being produced began to be produced exactly as described by Chatwin.
Today, the Moleskine brand is synonymous with travel, art, creativity, imagination and reflects the true inner world of the person who owns it. This brand covers not only notebooks, but also diaries, notebooks, bags, writing and reading accessories – pens and pencils and even comfortable mini lamps.
In addition to the usual checkered or striped notebooks, there are a huge number of varieties and formats of these notebooks.
From small handy miniature books, to large A3 and A4 formats, from special albums for drawing with watercolors with special ribbed snow-white paper, to notebooks with staves and cards.
In addition, Moleskines are available in special original and limited editions such as Van Gogh, Star Wars, Le Petit Prince, Moleskine Mickey Mouse, Lego or Hobbit. All commemorative or limited editions have original designs and unusual embossing on the cover, for example the covers of the Van Gogh series were made of silk in vibrant colors loved by the artist.
Moleskine objects are a world of creatives and they follow us everywhere.
The owners of Moleskines are united in an unspoken network around the world. There are many artists, writers and journalists among Moleskin’s fans.
In addition, the iconic notebook has appeared in many films such as Amelie, The Devil Wears Prada, The Da Vinci Code, Character, National Treasure, Heartbreakers, Let’s Dance, Life Behind The Scenes, Planet Ka-Pax, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Indiana Jones and the latest the crusade, the Ghost and many many others.
Famous personalities and stars use Moleskines in everyday life.
In the world of digital and computer technologies, it is so nice to know that art and creativity are eternal and many people use an ordinary black notebook to translate ideas into reality.