The beauty of a pseudo-marbling composition notebook

Vintage composition notebook design beautified to look great on dozens of products / Design by Piotr Kowalczyk @ Zazzle

A composition book is a writing notebook that consists of a stiff cardboard cover and contains around 100 pages of ruled paper.

There are thousands of cover designs available on composition notebooks, but nothing beats the iconic, old-school, black and white pattern.

The pseudo-marbling composition notebook pattern emerged in Western Europe in the mid-19th century. However, the origins of this timeless design, that’s loved by users all over the world, date back to the 12th century Japan.

Japanese artisans were creating decorative marble paper in a technique called Suminagashi – by blowing the pigments onto the surface of the water to produce spiraling designs.

Obviously, many other marble paper designs were used to produce notebook covers.

Some of them – although not as legendary as the original speckled pattern – are breathtaking, naming only a few examples digitized by the Bergen Public Library, shown below.

Composition notebook marbled paper covers digitized by the Bergen Public Library / Images: Flickr

An inseparable part, and something that completes the beauty of the composition book, is its label. Crafted, cut, and stamped by hand, it’s a proof that everything you write inside is exceptional – especially if you add your own handwritten text.

There is also one thing that makes the composition notebook as unique as you are: the signs of wear.

A vintage composition notebook / Image: Wired

A new shiny composition notebook is just a notebook with a beautiful pattern. The more you use it, the more unique and your own it becomes.

And here comes the problem. Most composition notebooks available online are ugly, lifeless, and come with stunningly similar label designs. And 99% of them are in one of the three mainstream colors: black, red, and purple.

I decided to change that. In the last few months, I have developed four sets of composition notebook designs that are meant to give you an old-school feel and human touch.

All the following designs are available in my Zazzle and Redbubble collections. You can get them not only on notebooks, but also phone case, home decor, and personal accessories.

I may earn a commission if you buy something through this post.

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