Here’s someone with a realistic take on the Moleskine brand:
“This is a company that took a famous novelist/travel writer’s (Bruce Chatwin) description of his favorite non-living travel companion (the brandless, black-covered, elastic-banded, ribbon-bookmarked notebook) and from it built a brand that is extraordinary in its implied history and prestige.
…the company only came into being in 1997, believe it or not, though the style of notebook they make has been around since at least the 19th Century…”
But he still appreciates Moleskine for what they’ve gotten right:
“It’s simple (you’re not going to find any decorations or images on the cover of a Moleskine), it’s super-practical (the cover is rugged, the materials high-quality, the elastic band holds it shut and makes it perfect for carrying with you everywhere, the bookmark makes whipping it out for note-taking a breeze, and the pocket in the back adds all kinds of versatility) and it reeks of good taste, modernity and class.
Let me explain that last claim.
Take a look at almost any high-style, high-class brand, and you’ll notice some things they have in common.
They are minimal. Incredibly so, in fact. They utilize white space in ways that would make any Minimalist envious, and this allows them to stand out from the unwashed masses (if you don’t have much money, you try to cram as much information and advertising onto a billboard or ad as you can…if you have money, you don’t).
They use simple colors (in many cases, black and white with maybe one extra…red is especially popular because it combined with the other two colors make for the most drastic contrast available), shapes (the Moleskine is a near-perfect Golden Rectangle) and form-factors (the sizes available are all chosen very carefully to make them the optimal size for carrying around, creating sketches, etc, without any unnecessary added bulk).
They use slightly higher-quality materials than their competitors. True, there are some excellent copycats on the market right now (the Piccadilly Essential Notebook is a particularly solid and relatively cheap imitator, although their other products are pretty damn ugly), but the Moleskine it still my notebook of choice at the moment, due to their overwhelmingly awesome design and wide variety of options.
Oh yes, the options. There are large notebooks, small notebooks, notebooks for drawing, notebooks for watercoloring, notebooks for keeping track of your schedule, notebooks for keeping in your back pocket, notebooks for designing, notebooks for composing, notebooks for keeping your contacts straight, notebooks for sorting your receipts, notebooks for creating epic Japanese landscapes or poems, notebooks for tourists, oh yes, and notebooks for taking notes.
I defy you to find a more practical, well-rounded bundle of bound paper..”