It was my Grandmother who inspired me to create DesignerJournals. She was a consummate adventurer and documented all of her experiences. I found this out simply by being a passenger on her travels — not a passenger by any particular means — but as a guest on her adventures in the filtering light of my youth.
When I was young — my grandmother invited me on journeys to what I consider some of the most interesting and exciting places in the world — all of them in Manhattan. We went to places like the Empire State Building, the circus, the Museum of Natural History, a television game show, and the premiere of the film The Yellow Submarine.
When we returned to her home after each adventure, she would take out her journal and write about the day's events. One evening, I noticed a box filled with envelopes and a collection of letters, journals, and small photo albums — my curiosity was piqued! We spent the next several hours discussing family history. She gave me a few envelopes from the 1920s plus a nickel letter opener with my late grandfather's initials, shaped like the key of Bremen with a hand-cut heart. My fascination led me to be the collector and keeper of our family's history, and to document all of my new adventures.
Later in life, when working toward my design degree at the University of Bridgeport, we were asked to keep a journal to develop our ideas. I kept my journal with me and whenever the mood would strike, I'd write and draw. I filled many books. Then, after a considerable hiatus, I returned to journaling to sketch out my new office environment, and to concept a line of art lighting I launched in 2000.
Over the course of my extensive travels as a guest lecturer at some of the country's top art and design schools, I noticed that many students were obsessively writing and drawing in all kinds of notebooks — not to take lecture notes — but out of the necessity and passion of keeping a record of ideas, sketches, and doodles. In early 2008, after researching and experimenting with the best eco-friendly materials I could find, I began distributing complimentary DesignerJournal™ prototypes to students, faculty and design professionals to test the concept. They were a smash hit with design students and creative professionals at all levels. So, I decided to produce bigger batches of Designer Journals™ and make them available to the world at large.
I think that no matter how much we embrace technology, and increasingly use it to perform the functions of our jobs and passions, that all human beings benefit from the simple exercise of writing and drawing by hand. It touches another part of us inside, slows down the pace of life momentarily, and allows us to access feelings and thoughts important to developing our creative selves and true uniqueness. It is this documentation of our thoughts, ideas, dreams and visions that have created history itself. It is a process that can help guide us toward our best personal and collective futures.
Thanks to my true love kHyal, for an explosion of creativity and the support and encouragement to make Designer Journals happen.