Top tips for designing self-launch notebooks

Bold Statement Notebook by Sandra Picco Design

“No one can own too many notebooks,” says Minted artist Jennifer Pace, and we couldn’t agree more. That’s one of the reasons why we invite Design Challenge–winning artists to self-launch non-customizable notebooks in their Stores.

With self-launch notebooks, artists are able to easily create products with production options and construction that are ordinarily reserved only for those with access to specialized machinery. Self-launch notebooks come in three formats: day planners, address books, and notebooks, and customers have two binding options (spiral or grommet). Unlike Minted’s fully customizable products, notebooks only come with lined paper.

Overall, self-launch notebooks are similar to Minted’s other self-launch products, but the primary difference is that you upload four files per colorway—a front of the notebook, inside front cover, inside back cover, and back of the notebook.

With two successful notebook designs in Minted’s collection, Jennifer is eager to create a line of new self-launch notebook designs for her Store. Here, we share the Arizona artist’s design tips along with insights from Minted’s Product Development team.

Chalkboard Dreams Notebook and School’s In Notebook by Jennifer Pace | Photography by Rachel Solomon Photography

CREATE A MOOD BOARD
Jennifer starts the notebook design process like she does all of her projects—with a moodboard. She begins with one inspirational component, such as a color or photo. “That inspires the moodboard, and then I sketch multiple rounds of ideas,” she says. For example, for her School’s In notebook, she was inspired by retro illustration and colors.


Photos of Jennifer Pace by Rachel Solomon Photography

FILL A “DESIGN GAP”
While it’s important to study what’s on trend in the stationery world, it’s equally important to find ways to flip the trends and put a new spin on them. “Minted customers love the variety of notebook designs, so make sure your concept stands out as unique,” she says. Ask yourself, Is there a specific niche that’s missing from the collection?

EXPERIMENT WITH YOUR PROCESS
To generate fresh ideas, Jennifer recommends combining different forms of art with traditional design concepts. “Don’t be afraid to launch an idea—you never know what’s going to be the next big design,” she says.

GET INTO “NON-CUSTOMIZABLE MODE” IN A CREATIVE WAY
Beyond selecting colorways, customers cannot personalize self-launch notebooks, so we recommend excluding fictional dates, names, and personal photos in designs. That said, non-custom design doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t be personalizable. For example, you may want to consider including elements that allow customers to pencil in their personal details via a book plate element or fill-in-the-blank start and end dates on the front inside cover.

THINK COVER-TO-COVER
Keep in mind that the product images show the front, inside front cover and back covers, so the inside artwork can be just as important as the outside.

REMEMBER THE GROMMET OPTION
As marked in these templates, some areas of the files will be obscured if a customer chooses a grommet-bound notebook. This is an option that will be available for all notebooks, so keep this in mind while creating your design.

TAKE A DIY APPROACH
Because self-launch products are not reviewed by the Minted Production Team, we suggest making your own test prints.

HOW TO GET STARTED
Ready to dive in? If you’ve won a Minted Design Challenge and therefore have created a Minted Store, log into your Minted artist account and navigate to your “My Projects” page. Then create a “Self-Launch Notebooks” project. Be sure to use these self-launch notebook templates.

MORE INFORMATION IN OUR DESIGNER FAQ
Download our Notebook Self-launch Guide.pdf
The Self-Launch Process
Store Basics


What are your insights and advice about notebook design and self-launch products? Share your thoughts in Comments.

About the Author: Amy Schroeder, Minted’s Community Content Manager, founded Venus, the magazine about women in the arts and DIY culture, and has written for Etsy, West Elm, and NYLON. Connect with Amy on Instagram @thevenuslady.

Published July 30, 2015 | Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

4   COMMENTS
  1. NEETA SAWHNEY

    Love this wonderful Job Jennifer Pace. So awesome going to start drawing painting and get the wheels of art going. Thanks so much for the inspiration.

    • Thanks Neeta! I can’t wait to see what you create 🙂

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