is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe, Design Chair at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
Here’s a brand new product that I cooked up with my friends over at Baron Fig, makers of exquisitely useful notebooks, pens, bags and more: it’s called Unfinish and it’s “an interactive notebook.” Wait, it’s much more interesting than that sounds!
Actually “notebook” isn’t quite the right word for it, and neither is “sketchbook.” Unfinish is more of a “doodle-book.” Instead of confronting you with hundreds of stark white blank pages, it gives your creativity a bit of a kickstart with a unique, quirky, incomplete image printed on each page. There’s a horse without a head, a floating lighthouse, the top of a suit of armor and much more—a different one on each of its 192 pages. Each of them is unfinished in some way, inviting you to add a background to it, trace it, extend it or even ignore it altogether. (The images are printed in non-repro blue ink so it won’t transfer when photocopied and is easily dropped out in image editors.)
There’s no implied meaning to the images, no goal or purpose aside from whatever you might want to bring to it yourself. You would think that this would be true for any old notebook or sketchbook as well, but I think a lot of people would agree that a blank page can be so confrontational that sometimes it actually demands a declaration of purpose. So when I first dreamed up Unfinish, I wanted to defuse that blank page problem and to make a playground for your brain, a space to free-associate, stoke your creativity and most importantly to have fun.
The team at Baron Fig did an amazing job bringing this to life. Unfinish is based on the company’s signature Confidant notebook line—it’s got acid-free paper, the book opens and lays flat for easy doodling and writing, and it’s bound in beautifully tactile hardcover material. It’s also a limited edition, which means it ships in a gorgeous, collector-grade box and it’s on sale only for as long as supplies last. You can get yours today for just US$20 at baronfig.com. If you pick one of these up—please snap some pics and show me your doodles!+