Aron Fay, a graphic designer at Pentagram Design in New York, has launched a Kickstarter campaign for an independent project called comp: a beautiful, refined, and sophisticated redesign of the classic composition notebook.
The composition notebook is one of the most ubiquitous and utilitarian objects around today. Most people have used one in school, for creative endeavors, work, or more. Yet, the origin of the composition notebook has never been fully explored, and its evolution into mainstream culture has not been well documented or preserved.
Five years ago, Aron started working at Pentagram under graphic designer Michael Bierut—a composition notebook lover—who gave him one to use for sketching his design ideas. Since then, Aron has become fascinated with these everyday objects and curious about their origin, but he hasn’t been able to find a centralized history about them. So, Aron decided to start researching where the composition notebook came from. He quickly found himself in rare book libraries and speaking to several experts in different fields, trying to piece the puzzle together.Aron soon discovered a rich history behind these notebooks.
Traditionally, books with paper covers were wrapped with marbled papers, and In the late 1820s and early 1830s in France and Germany a new industrialized type of marbling—termed ‘pseudo marbling’ by marbling expert Richard J. Wolfe—came about. It’s here that the composition notebook pattern was born, and over the years, the pattern evolved into the black and white printed pattern we know today. In researching the history, Aron also found that composition notebooks have played a large part in the lives and works of many famous artists, such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Roy Lichtenstein, and Ettorre Sottsaas Jr. He soon realized he wanted to create comp.Check out the kickstarter to back this campaign, as well as for some beautiful historical shots of the original notebooks and some of the process!