Vari-Dot Notebooks

Product Design.
Ongoing (2017 - Present).

Brief: Stationery has always held a special place in my heart, and the Vari-Dot Notebooks are an attempt to develop a unique ruling specially made for designers. The goal was to make a ruling that was useful and visible while drawing and working up close, but would also fade away when observed from a distance.


Description: Vari-Dot is a hybrid ruling between traditional grid/graph paper and dot grid paper (made popular by bullet journalers). My disappointment with dot-grid ruling was that there wasn't a tinier dot in the middle of each "square" to denote the center, but using the center for bullets was a very common practice.

The name comes from the fact that is uses three different dots sizes of varying sizes: Corner Dot, Side Dot, and Center Dot.

The Corner Dot is heaviest and marks the intersections. It's the basis of a dot-grid ruling.

Side Dots help create the illusion of a line to help the user draw straighter lines and boxes when necessary. However, they are also evenly subdivided for those times when you want a little more precision out of a design. This allows for divisions of a unit down to halves and quarters. Whether you're working in inches, meters, or picas, this increases your accuracy.

Center Dots are nice for bullet journal purposes or again, finding those halfway subdivisions with greater accuracy. They are the smallest of all the dots in an effort to make them visible when you're looking for them, but let me disappear when holding your notebook out at arms length.

One other critical aspect is the color of the dot. The lighter the color, the less obtrusive the marks are, but you still need to be able to see them. The dots tend to be 15-25% gray, but often I will print them as a CMYK combination and slightly boost the value of cyan or magenta.

A number of aspects have been prototyped over the years. Early versions had just two side dots per section instead of three. Spacing has been tried at 5mm, 6mm, and 0.25 inches. Ocassionally the outer perimeter of a sheet has been marked by triangular and sqare shaped dots to show the entire field can be divided into fourths or thirds.

To date all the prototypes have been handsewn and bound by myself. The quality of the paper is another important aspect. I use 100# text weight paper with a subtle tooth.

Feel welcome to contact me if you're interested in acquiring samples of Vari-Dot rulings or my handmade notebooks.

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