Man books… because stationery’s not just for the ladies

We’re delighted to share with you our first guest post by Charlotte Kemp, a freelance writer and the new editor of Stationery Magazine.

My husband has always been rather sniffy about my notebook obsession. But now I wonder if actually, he was a teeny bit jealous.

For the fact is, there was very little out there to tempt him away from his trusty Black n’ Reds.

While I have been busy amassing notebooks with pretty patterns, quirky designs and tactile covers, he has never had the opportunity to embrace his inner stationery geek – until now.

For there’s a dapper new contender out there on the stationery scene. We’ve all heard of the ‘man bag’, but this year’s hottest accessory is the ‘man book’.

Man books comes in all shapes, sizes, colours and textures. New on the block is the Miro range from US company Franklin Mill, a collection aimed at architects, designers and the like who use a notebook or journal in their day to day working lives.

‘We wanted to create something that is tactile, inspiring and unique, ‘ explains David Clarke of Franklin Mill. The design team have used canvas, wood and even the same compressed felt used to line the inside of trucks, to create a selection of handsome, head-turning covers.

There is also a “soft touch” range to rival Moleskine.

Other brands offering journals in masculine colours include Leuchtturm1917 and Italian brand Legami and both have just launched a mini notebook (dare I say it, the micro man-book) that is perfect for the back pocket.
Field Notes Steno Book ( is another practical yet pleasing pocket design.
Letts has raided the archives to come up with some retro designs that have huge masculine appeal. For a man book with a sense of humour, meanwhile, look no further than the gun and grenade notepad imported by Wellesley Inc (

Stationery for men was one of the biggest trends to emerge from the Paperworld tradeshow in Frankfurt.

This week, Hallmark entered the fray at the Spring Fair International show at Birmingham’s NEC with a new range for men called Heritage Press that was inspired by the tailoring of Savile Row.

‘There is definitely a gap in the market for more masculine designs,’ says Jane Bradley, Head of Creative at Hallmark.  ‘Men used to miss out when it
came to notebooks but not anymore.’

There are notebooks with pinstripe lining and a gift bag in the shape of a shirt and tie complete with gift label in the top pocket.

‘It’s a smart range which will appeal to women as well,’ enthuses Jane – and she has a point. I, for one, will certainly be embracing the man book too.

Posted on 20th February 2013 by Chris Leonard-Morgan