Notes on notebooks and documenting years of ‘mental spillage’

Our correspondent casts an envious eye over Michael Bierut’s ordered tower of completed notebooks and wonders if it’s time to rethink his more ‘eclectic’ approach

Ten years ago, Michael Bierut wrote a column for Design Observer about his notebooks. Over 26 years, he had filled 85 hand-numbered, uniformly-sized, marble-covered books with sketches and lists and ideas. Together, they formed a history of his working life. This piece (or rather the photo that accompanies it, every book stacked high on a chair like some kind of Pentagram monolith) often comes to mind when I’m looking through my own notebooks.