There has been a resurgence of interest in paper-based tools like notebooks in the past years, partially thanks to the popularity of productivity systems like the Bullet Journal. But while these analog tools flaunt their simplicity against the confusing complexity of electronic devices and apps, the hype has also created a new kind of problem for paper fans. Just like with the plethora of apps to choose from, some people get hung up on picking out the perfect notebook. That “analysis paralysis,” in turn, becomes the antithesis of the productivity they’re aiming for. In that case, the simplest solution is often the best, and nothing can be simpler than a few sheets of blank paper held together by the simplest clipboard you’ll ever get your hands on.
Designers: Aoki Ryosaku, Haruta Masayuki & Tsunoda Takashi of idontknow.tokyo
Notebooks like Moleskine and Leuchtturm have become extremely popular because of their minimalism. There are no distracting designs or embellishments, both on the covers and on the pages, leaving you free to use the notebook as you like it. You can cover it with stickers or, in the case of plain styles, mark the pages freely without worrying about printed lines or grids. These notebooks, however, are also notorious for their limitations, like being confined to the size of the notebook that you purchased as well as the number of pages available. Free or unbound sheets of paper offer absolute freedom, but keeping them together in one place can become a chore.
That’s where this clipboard comes in, offering the simplest yet smartest way to keep those pieces of paper organized in the way and order you want. Calling it a clipboard can be a bit of a misnomer, though, because there isn’t any clip at all. Instead, you have a flap on one edge of the cover that tightly squeezes the sheets of paper, almost like a clip. Without any sort of clip mechanism, the clipboard can close almost completely flat except for the small margin on the spine that lets it accommodate as many as 20 sheets of paper at a time. If that’s not enough paper, there’s a pocket on the cover that lets you hide a few more sheets.
This spine also has a secret that’s almost genius in its simplicity. There are two holes near each end, and you can choose one or the other to clip your pen into. When the clipboard is closed, you’ll only see the pen’s clip on the outside. Flip the cover lid open, and you’ll have immediate access to your trusted writing tool.
The Hinge clipboard’s simplicity is its strength. You don’t have to worry about fancy mechanisms or secret features that get in the way of your thoughts. Simply flip it open, pull out your pen, and start writing or drawing. The lid’s material is sturdy enough to be a flat surface to write on even when you’re standing up. And unlike notebooks, you get to decide on how many sheets of paper you want to bring with you or which notes to carry to your meeting. It also lays completely flat, taking up the minimum space needed just for paper and pen.
We sometimes think too hard to come up with smart solutions to our problems when the smartest answer is sometimes the simplest one. With no extraneous part that can break or wear down, this ultra-minimalist clipboard offers the simplest option for putting ideas to paper. Even in its simplicity, however, it also exhibits a bit of ingenuity, proving that the best ideas can sometimes come in the most unexpected ways.