French Accented Notebooks from Smythson & Vahram Muratyan
Art & Design
It’s true that we English speakers are mostly French-illiterate, but that’s never stopped us from peppering our conversations with a French…cliché…or two. That’s what graphic designer Vahram Muratyan counted on, anyway, when he was asked to design a collection of notebooks for Smythson, the British luxury leather goods company that sells, among other things, the kind of precious little journals that appeal to well-heeled creatives for whom Moleskins are oh so…passé.
Muratyan is a Paris-based designer whose temporary stay in New York spawned a slew of Paris Versus New York comparisons in the form of graphic visuals—including a popular blog, a series of minimalist posters, and a collection of books. And he sticks with the same English/French juxtaposition for his Smythson collaboration, which comprises a suite of 6 brightly colored Vahram Panama Notebooks emblazoned with a half dozen French phrases that English speakers know only too well: je ne sais quoi; crème de la crème; touché; bon voyage; déjà vu; comme ci comme ça. Each phrase resides alongside a related illustration of reading glasses. “It occurred to me,” says the designer, ” that I could take those words—those French phrases that we use in English—and place them above the different glasses, or characters.”
Electric colors—tangerine, fuchsia, saffron—further distinguish the notebooks from their more famous Moleskine counterparts, as do their eyebrow-raising price points: each 3.5 x 5.5 inch book, complete with cross-grain lambskin cover and 128 gilt-edged pages, will run you a very Parisian $80 a pop, or $395 for the full boxed set. For that price, we should expect something of a pièce de résistance, don’t you think?
Via New York Times