The New School News

Students Let Minds Wander in Creation of Moleskine Notebooks

Noe Paparella has an affinity for Moleskine notebooks, and it’s not just because they became an integral part of her academic experience. The New School BFA in Illustration student also appreciates the company’s aesthetic, which, much like hers, is based on a sleek, modern approach.

So, when was asked to design a cover for a Moleskine cahier journal, her idea came pretty naturally.

“The hardest decision to make when it comes to this kind of project is whether you should pursue your own style or if you should match the style of the brand,” said Paparella, who works mostly with black and white. “In my case, it wasn’t so complicated because my aesthetic is aligned with Moleskine’s aesthetic.”

It’s no surprise, then, that Paparella was made the winner of the Parsons School of Design/Moleskine project, a competition that challenged 51 seniors from Parsons’ BFA in Illustration program to design a cover for a Moleskine cahier journal and bellyband using the prompt #WanderingMind. Paparella’s design has been produced and will start being sold Aug. 14 exclusively in Moleskine’s store at 75 University Place, just a few blocks from The New School’s University Center (New School students receive a 10 percent discount on all purchases at the store).

Students responded to the prompt #WanderingMind in myriad different ways, designing illustrations that range from the whimsical to the literal, the organic to the geometric, and the minimalistic to the ornate. However, there is a common thread running through each of the designs: a passion for exploration.

Paparella’s design is elegant in its simplicity, juxtaposing a silkscreened illustration of a white origami crane on the notebook’s cardboard cover with that of a black jumbo jet on the bellyband.

“I’m so excited about this competition and having the chance to design for Moleskine,” said Paparella, who is interested in digital media. “It’s a great opportunity for me to get exposure and work with an amazing brand.”

The second place winner, Ty Ning’s illustration depicts a cartoon figure scaling an urban landscape in which an apartment, buildings and nature are spliced together. And the third place winner, Sarah Berman’s illustration features fanciful scenes of travel and adventure bottled in mason jars.

Steven Guarnica, Associate Professor of Illustration, said the project provides students with the opportunity to design a product for a company that is “intrinsic to their lives.”

“Besides being a cultural artifact with a high profile in the creative industry, the Moleskine notebook is something students actually use—something that they are deeply invested in,” he said. “Even though students fully embrace the digital age, the sketch book and the pen is still the starting point for everything that we do.”

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