Here we are finally, pictures of my first prototype for the Spaces for Ideas sketchbook! But before I get ahead of myself, let me pick up from where I left of in the last post Spaces for Ideas: The Beginning.

If I know you clever reader, you would have realized 2 things about the first post. First, the post was fairly generic and second I did not really set out a concept direction I wanted to go for at the end of the post. The reason was because I wanted to build up a background story around my thought process.

So as a recap here are some of the key elements I think the ideal sketchbook should have.

1. A sketchbook that highlights the work and not itself
2. Well constructed and affordable
3. No spines getting in the way of cross page sketching
4. Just the right size but with enough space or room to play with
5. “Boundary-less” pages
6. Flexible enough to do what you will
7. Decent quality paper that takes all non-wet mediums like ink, pencil or markers.
8. Appeals to everyone, not just designers

Unfortunately, I’ve learnt very early in my career that if you threw everything you wanted into a product you just end up with a mess. Thus my quiet objective in our discussion in the first post was to really prioritize which elements were important and in what combinations should they be built in.

I decided that the first of my 7 sketchbook solutions (yes 7!) would focus on creating a sketchbook around point 4-6. After a lot of thinking, sketching, and working in an iterative manner, the “expandable” sketchbook concept was born. What really amazed me about my process was this concept eventually inspired the name for the entire brand collection: Spaces for Ideas.

So now, lets take a look at my first prototype, which was incidentally an EPIC FAIL! Heh-heh. Hmm maybe I should have built a better quick mockup? Make many mistakes, but make them early!

This A6 sized book is ah…way too thick. It contains 20 pages of good quality 100gsm bright white, lightly textured paper that is quite nice to write on. Furthermore the book’s A6 size in proportion to the thickness makes it feel more like a pocket dictionary or bible. Grab your nearest one and you will know what I mean. It is a beast!

Here is the trick of this concept; the A6 sketchbook unfolds out into a generous A3 page. The sketchbook’s binding solution was a bitch to work out, as the folded A3 sheet becomes a thick wad that is about 6-7 times thicker than a single sheet. So the 20 folded pages inflates itself into something like a 120 page sketchbook. While my Binder is not much of an origami expert (the page unfolded upside down), he managed to figure out how to stuff those thick wads of paper into a book!

Here is where the biggest problem lies. The 20 sheets of folded A3 paper creates a large “hump” under the first unfolded sheet. This really spoils the drawing/writing experience.

Well that’s all from me for this update on Spaces for Ideas. I think you can easily see from this prototype that there are a lot of obvious problems that needs to be solved. Therefore almost immediately after studying it, I went ahead to brief the Binder on what to refine. Luckily, they will happy to make me another prototype.

Just as a teaser, I actually have the final prototype right here in front of me and it is looking great. There is still a lot to do, so please bear with me? I will share the next update after I work out a few more issues like branding and logistics. As usual I look forward to your comments and please do keep in touch?

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