Since 2013 I’ve carried a pocket notebook with me, my recent reading of Tiago Forte’s Building a Second Brain brought to my attention that this has been a long-standing tradition. These notebooks were called “commonplace books” and only the “intellectual elite” had use for such a thing.

Tiago Forte makes the argument that with the onset of information in the digital age that everyone should have their version of a “commonplace book” which he dubs your Second Brain. This is where digital note-taking tools like Evernote or Notion come into play with their searchable databases and ease of offloading information. I’ve just recently started this process myself (I’m currently writing this post in Notion) but I still see the physical notebook as a very useful tool.

My favorite physical notebook? Check out The Notebook Directory.

The following few images are excerpts from this light blue and pink notebook that I carried for most of 2022.


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This is an example of how I might make clear the parts of something before moving to the digital side of things and actually drawing it. These were the parts for an opening ceremony stand that I designed and assembled with the help of the team at the QSC MakerSpace. This was later digitized, turned into g-code, and cut on the CNC router to make the carcass of the opening ceremony stand.

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Occasionally I’ll just sketch out ideas of things I’m inspired by. This sketch was in regards to the way the box hinged NOT at the corner, which I thought was very cool.

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Along with my digital Notebook Directory, I was thinking about assembling a wall-hung archival for all the notebooks I have as a way to keep and present them. Can you tell I really like my notebooks?

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This sketch was part of the design process of the Qatar National Library (QNL) model that I worked on for the joint program we ran (QSC MakerSpace & QNL) called The Solutionists. This was a design aid for the students who were addressing a specific problem with the library in that area of the building.