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Code&Quill caters to A LOT of creatives.

That's the easy part to say. But what do we mean by that? Who do we mean by that? 

Well, some of our best customers are...

  • Designers (web & graphic)
  • Developers
  • Artists
  • Writers
  • Travelers
  • Photographers
  • Nomads

And so many more. 

Today, we're featuring 7 NEW ways the creatives in our family are using their Code&Quill in day-to-day life.

We've kept the original set of pics behind them—so if you want to think about how you might use your Code&Quill, take a scroll until something strikes your fancy.


At work with @kateanddesigns

A photo posted by Joan Born (@thejoanborn) on


Hey designers—step that game up. @thejoanborn is bringing the PANTONE color swatches to the table.

What are your favorites—and what are you "coloring in" so far this year? 



Code, colors, and Code&Quill. And Codeland, apparently. =]

Big shout-out to @techgirlgo for repping a couple things we love: all things tech AND sharing the love of what you do with others. Keep it compiling!


#codeandquill #fountainpenday #fountainpenday2016 #vanishingpoint #twsbieco #monteverde

A photo posted by hotcupofloving (@hotcupofloving) on


Hey @hotcupofloving, you stole our pen! Yeah, we recognize that TWSBI at the bottom! =P  

If y'all like writing with ink, fear not — you might be impressed at how well our paper handles fountain pens. It's all dat 100GSM acid-free paper.

Draw and write to your heart's content!


My favorite tools ❤️🍎🖍

A photo posted by Chrystel Paulson (@chrystelpaulson) on


And @chrystelpaulson, thanks for the 'gram and good word. We like the clean Mac setup — and we see you doing that UX work. Love it!  



We shipped this notebook across the pond to @ariannedonoghue. Arianne, we're pumped to see you outfitting it for the field (love the yellow Lamy!) and excited to get cracking.

Best of luck — and don't get addicted collecting Safaris in different colors! 


Some people are best in small doses💊 . . . #sorrynotsorry #handwriting #doodle

A photo posted by Mel (@alostnightowl) on


A little comic relief from @alostnightowl — and a true statement about anyone's co-workers from time to time.

Need to step away? Limit your people dose. Take a chill pill instead, close the door, and draw something that you're thinking about.  


Big notebook, little notebook. ❤📦 📕 #codeandquill

A photo posted by flokat (@flokat) on


Filling up one notebook with boxes, diagrams, arrows, and text? Go ahead and re-up! If you haven't bought one in a while, don't forget that you can size up for a Monolith now.

Or, you know, you could buy more than one like @flokat here. That'd be pretty sweet. And at that point, you might consider one of our (discounted) bundles! 

Hey! We're sharing even more sweet features from our community below, and think you should join them! Tag us in your photos on social and let us know how you're using your Code&Quill! Don't have a Code&Quill yet? Check out the perfect tools to feed your creative appetite—made for creatives by creatives.


November 2016 

What are you doing today?

Why not crack open your Code&Quill and start a sketch like @anna.rastorgueva?

We bet you’ve heard of #NoShaveNovember, but did you partake in #Inktober?

@Jessicaseacrest busted out her colored pencils and used her notebook for some sweet drawing.

fuzzy heart, coffee filled, and goal crushing wednesday! 👊🤖☕️ •• i'm not going to lie, insta + social média has been a great part of this journey. i have met SO many of you, and have been so happy to help + get shit done together! 💓 •• today, i am being featured on Stay Curious Darling Site (@staycuriousdarling) #WCW edition 😻 • i have been inspired by Brittany for years, and i can't wait to travel + work with this #girlboss 👯🤓💻 - i am humbled, and happy today! hugs to you all! 🤗🤗💕 •• keep kicking ass, and owning it! Ps. Brittany is the most badass, remote worker, digital nomad, and programmer! 🌏 if you have any questions regarding that lifestyle, i'm sure she's the one to ask! 🤓✨ link in bio! PSS. pizza hunting is my hobbie! 🍕😉 •• #happy #staycuriousdarling #blogger #girlboss #feature #happy #humble #workhardstayhumble #entrepreneur #womenintech #programmer #heygirlfriend #youcandoit #codethangz #code #webdeveloper #startuplife #codeandquill #devstickers #motivation #femaleentrepreneur #digitalnomad #travel #freelance #remotework #workhardanywhere

A photo posted by @codegirlcode on

We’ll be honest—@codegirlcode has a special place in our heart. She’s always been supportive of the C&Q brand and team, and loves showing off her notebooks!

However, this post is great because it’s all about goal crushing and growth, which are two of our favorite things.

Keep it up!

We’re not entirely sure what’s happening here, but it involves pizza, so it’s a-ok in our (note)book. See what we did there?

IG user @mbeero uses his creative genius to get the people to vote… on pizza preference, that is!

Ah… organization. Not going to lie, this warmed our hearts a little.

We’ve been tossing around the idea of coming up with a guide for using your Code&Quill for journaling and organization (think Bullet journaling and agendas).

What do you think? Something you all would want to hear about? Shout out to @hickorysoul for the sweet inspiration! 

If you need to pack for survival, we’ll agree with @campingguyinny and say your Code&Quill is a must.

Need another use idea for your C&Q? Head out into the great outdoors and sketch what you see. 

Everything about this video and caption is great.

1. Fresh starts, who needs them? Only everyone.

2. A clean slate to spill ink on? Not much better than that.

Cheers to @sofabedsophia for her positive moves in the right direction and using Code&Quill on her journey.

Want to see your Code&Quill photos featured on our site? Tag your photos with #codeandquill and we’ll be sure to share the love!

Happy creating!

Looking for the perfect tools to feed your creative appetite? Check out our collection of notebooks—made for creatives by creative.


At Code&Quill, we only do two things. We develop new stuff and we improve what we already have.

You already know about our latest new stuff—the large-format Monolith notebook, which launched on Kickstarter this fall—and once again, we can’t thank our customers enough (especially our Kickstarter backers!) for making that possible. =]

But with the Monolith's launch behind us and 2016 almost over, now we’re focused on improving what we’ve already got. That’s where you come in—whether you’re already a customer or not. 

For the last two months, we’ve been learning more about y'all through our Customer Awesomeness Survey. (By the way, we’ve still giving the $5 credit for submitting your response, so share your two cents if you haven’t already!)

This week, we’re sharing some of what you've told us so far.
Want to hear what y'all think? 


Where has your Code&Quill notebook been with you? Any adventures?

For the most part, Code&Quill notebooks stick with their owners. Wherever you go, the notebooks go. 

That means some wild-and-crazy adventure locales—like Iceland or the Serengheti—for our better-traveled family members. But don't feel bad if your Code&Quill only bounces from backpack to desk . . . that's what happens to most of the notebooks we sell. =]

Some of the more interesting "adventures" in the Code&Quill collective:

  • Writing jokes in a Traveler and taking it to comedy shows
  • Hackathons and all-night "crunchtime" sessions
  • Around town for local sketches, drawings, and people-watching notes
  • Boatloads of job interviews (on both sides of the table)
  • Chemotherapy to jot down notes and journal entries while waiting


How does your Code&Quill help you find ideas or solve problems?

As we showed you a couple weeks ago, Code&Quill tends to be popular among designers and developers—in large part because of the dot-grid-indentation-rule combo, which allows notetaking in tandem with drawing and diagramming. As it turns out, plenty of y'all—not just the code monkeys—like this feature, for both technical and creative reasons. Numerous people said they use their C&Q for bullet journaling, for example.

Like any notebook, a Code&Quill can be great for ideation—for dumping your brain onto the page and seeing what sticks. But unlike most other notebooks, a Code&Quill is designed for purposeful use—and we daresay it's easier to get motivated about writing in a book you love and can call your own.  



What's your dream Code&Quill product? 

Unsurprisingly, many of you suggested variations on our existing notebooks. Some of the more popular suggestions for notebook evolutions:

  • More color options, including fresh limited-editions
  • Additional page layouts/layout combos
  • Removing/altering the branding on the front cover
  • Short-run custom notebooks
  • Small features like strap closure, pen loop, rear pocket, etc.

Here's what we can tell you in response (without promising deadlines or official details yet):

We do plan to introduce other colors, even if we keep the variety small. And we've been wanting to bring back limited editions for a while. =] (Remember these?)

We know the dot-grid/indentation-rule combo is unique; very few other notebooks have anything similar. We're open to new layout options—we recently added the indentation-rule-only option, for instance—but we'd need to make sure there's demand for a new option before we create it. 

As we've mentioned on the blog, we've recently rebranded our Scribe notebooks. We think that, by removing the patch and debossing our red ampersand in its place, we've improved the notebooks both functionally and aesthetically. If the re-branded Scribes do well, we'll re-brand the Travelers next.

We're playing new features by ear. We'll add what seems sensible (that's why we added a ribbon bookmark to the Monolith's design). But it's not our style to add things just to add them; simplicity and even minimalism are part of the appeal for us. So we'll never make the notebook equivalent of a Swiss Army knife.

Folks have also mentioned ideas for separate products—like pens, pencils, desk accessories, additional/external covers, and even some household electronics. We've got some new projects brewing . . . but the details will have to wait until next time. =] 


What's next with the survey?

This is just what we've heard so far. Here are your feedback options down the road:

(1) You can always comment below, give your two cents on Facebook, or email about what's been said already. 

(2) You can submit a survey response if you haven't already. The $5 reward code is still available to you for sending in your answers. We'd still like to read them. =]

(3) We'll be adjusting the questions as we go forward. This is our "1.0 version" of the survey—and we're aware (for example) that none of the questions prompt critique or criticism. So far, we've learned the positives and gotten some ideas, but we'll be asking more about the negatives as well. 

(4) If we create a new survey, we'll create a new reward code—meaning that people who have already submitted will get another $5 reward for submitting new answers.  

We'll always keep an ear to the ground for you, especially as we begin 2017 with new goals and a fresh start. ("Fresh" except for, you know, the hangover.) 

To start the new year with a new notebook, come see our notebooks here. If you wanna be sociable, feel free to check out our Instagram or say hi on Facebook.


It’s the season for resolutions—but now that the partying is past, we can have that conversation sober.

Here's a sobering thought: the vast, vast majority of New Year's resolutions will fail. For example, last year Forbes reported that only 8% of people who set a New Year’s resolution will actually achieve it during that year.

The odds are against you. But we’re not cynical about New Year’s resolutions. An 8% chance of success still means 12-to-1 odds. To ambitious people (and gambling folk), those are decent odds of winning if you can play smart. 

This week, we're calling out the novice mistakes we see in most resolutions—including yours. To wrap it up, we've got our prime advice for turning those wishy-washy wants into sharp instruments of purpose.


Your New Year's Resolutions have problems. 

Most people don't even realize what a resolution is. It's a statement of determination, but it's meant to be specific. In other words, a New Year's resolution isn't just a wish—it's a decision with particular details and context. 

That helps explain the biggest problems with everyone's New Year's resolutions:



Wanting isn't specific. Think about it: anyone can genuinely want anything. (That's one of the major bugs in the human code.) 

We're good at picturing things. The fun of wanting is that, if only in your mind, you can have it all—and right now. If you want to be rich, pretty, and famous, you picture it as though you'll wake up tomorrow morning and never struggle through real life again. Fun thought, right?

But here we all are. The cruelty of New Year's resolutions is that, for one week a year, they help us confuse wishing for willpower. That probably helps explain the 8% of people whose resolutions succeed: they realize this and choose wishes they'll be able to follow through later. 



Pretend you have to budget your wanting. What do you want most? Focus your energies on two goals, not twelve—and realize this might mean you save certain goals for next year. 

And however much this question might annoy some of you: how do you quantify when you've gotten what you want? If you're saving money, how much? If you're losing weight (or gaining muscle), what's your target number? If you're improving your relationships or habits, which ones and why?

Get granular. Write down the details and make a plan for fulfilling your resolution(s) in 2017. You might find that the details are helpful for two things: for visualizing those goals, but also, for beginning to motivate yourself with your own concrete successes.



Thinking in terms of concrete success is important—because sooner or later, everyone realizes that their New Year's resolutions have concrete costs. (Very literally, in the case of people who vow to get back into the gym.)

Whether or not fitness is your goal, the gym's example makes visible the biggest weakness of most self-improvement efforts: that they don't properly account for pain. Most people remember that the gym takes time—but forget that it just plain hurts to go to the gym. (Newcomers have it even harder, since they're more likely to be insecure while there.) 

This is part of the reason you pick your battles. Losing 30 pounds AND saving $5,000 AND getting promoted might all be awesome, hugely-fulfilling goals—that you're totally capable of accomplishing! But each one likely requires lots of effort and lots of time. The effort and time are worth the reward if you can focus down the goal—but if you spread yourself thin, it'll all go to waste.   


(Start 2017 off right by setting yourself up with the best tools for success. Check out our collection of notebooks—designed for creatives, by creatives.)

Winning Resolutions — or How to Make the Top 8%

With the likeliest issues visible now, re-examine your resolution. If you think it's still weak in one of those ways, consider the following buffs and tests:

Figure out what you actually want. Test your resolution by pitting it against its competitors, the other things you might want to do. If you were guaranteed that only one thing would go right this year, what would you want it to be?

Write everything down. Write your resolutions down, write the plans down, write your progress down. If you don’t put it in writing, it’s at the mercy of your memory. Even a perfect memory can never show you, with objectivity, what was committed in words and how progress trends over time.

Talk to others about the goal, especially people who know more about it. Partly, setting up “accountability partners” is a good idea, but partly also, you may learn a lot you didn’t know about your goal, and you may find some surprising sources of encouragement along the way.

Give yourself time and space. Even people who are doing everything right feel discouraged sometimes. And, hey, life happens; when things beyond your control get in the way, you don’t deserve to feel like a failure. One specific tip is to allow yourself all year to accomplish the resolution; that way, you’ve got some built-in padding. 

Before you go, plan on your next steps to take action. For us, that involves with documenting our goals, thoughts, and initiatives. We do this with the best gear for creatives—a Code&Quill notebook. Check out our collection of notebooks—designed for creatives, by creatives—now.


Hello and happy holidays to everyone! =]

Let's get right into it. We always want our products to be top-notch quality — so we're strict about product inspections overseas AND quality control here on our shipping floor.

We want everyone to have the best notebook they've ever used, period.

There aren't a ton of defective notebooks in the first place, and we catch 99% of them before they ever see the light of day. (Let us note, too, that those few customers who email us with photos of their defects get a free replacement 99% of the time.)

But among those defects, we've seen patterns. Most of our defects have something to do with the patch on our notebooks' front covers. Many of those are simple misprints on the patches themselves. But there are sometimes other issues for our Travelers and Scribes, whose leatherette covers prohibit stitching the patches and therefore use adhesive instead. It's strong enough to hold in most cases, but let's just say it's a "weak link" of the design. (The Origin and Monolith allow stitching, meaning their patches come off... never.) 

The patch presents one more potential problem for the Scribe: it causes the book to snag on some pockets. Of course, that's a tiny problem for a pocket notebook.

For these reasons... 

We've updated our Scribes.

Instead of a red patch in the lower-right corner, there is now a debossed ampersand with red fill—which cuts into the cover, rather than sticking out. We anticipate that this updated design will solve the problems above...

... and don't the new ones look pretty sharp besides? =]


Here's what this means for you:

(1) Effective immediately, all gray Scribes ordered will have the new design. A handful of you have gotten them already, so let us know what you think!

(2) We'll be updating the photos on the Scribe product pages ASAP, so you can see the new design in fuller glory.   

(3) If feedback is positive for the updated design, there's a good chance we'll update the Traveler in much the same way for our next manufacturing cycle


We'll look forward to hearing what you think by email or social (below) — hit us up anytime! Have a happy holiday and we'll be back next week! 

For some sharp new Scribes—or one of their bigger siblings—check out our collection. If you like the look of the new Scribes, share some photos on Instagram or say "hey" on Facebook.


A computer geek is the last person you might expect to write in a notebook—because they live on the computer, right? But let’s not forget that Code&Quill was founded by a (former) code monkey—and precisely because he wanted a good writing tool away from his digital space.

We sell paper to the paperless generation, and we’re proud of it. Because as it turns out, even the most forward-thinking and tech-savvy among us sometimes need to go “backwards” to pen and paper.

This week, we’re explaining why that is, and how even developers and designers—people who work with technology for a living—can do better, smarter work by turning away from their keyboards and writing in their notebooks.

I personally like working things out such as pseudo-code, sitemaps, and low-fidelity wireframes via pen and paper because it's got the whole instant-gratification thing going on. I mean, pen and paper is just so much more accessible, takes less time, and is far more intimate than if I were to do the same tasks digitally.
Ammo from Baltimore
Recently we’ve gotten some great feedback from Code&Quill users (and we’ll be reviewing more of it with you later). But a lot of that feedback has come from developers and designers like Ammo up there, so we’ve included some of their comments. 


1. Writing by hand helps you brainstorm and create new ideas.

There’s an exciting moment we all know. A new idea! The project starts forming in your mind. You’re just beginning to think about how something could work—a new app, a new website, a genius fix to an old problem. But quick! You’ve got to get it down! What do you use?

Computers, for all their power, are not made for brainstorming. Computers still aren't super-intuitive; at their core, they're fancy calculators. They make problem-solving easier, but they don’t necessarily make thinking easier. In our experience: the bigger and more abstract the problem, the quicker we'll give up on a computer and default back to pen and paper.

It’s this kind of “thinking space” that we’ve designed Code&Quill’s notebooks for. Tons of people have commented that the dual layout—grid on left, indentation rule on right—helps them see ideas more clearly. This seems doubly true for devs and designers, who often need to wireframe/diagram and take more detailed notes.

I use my [Code&Quill] to sketch out parts of an app I'm working on. The grid part I use to sketch out pages, and then I use the lined part to write down details. All that culminates in something neat and easy to reference when I need it.
— Kristina from Washington, D.C.
The two sides are different—lets me have two distinct halves to every page. There's something great about that. Keeps me creating in different ways.
— Andrew from North Dakota

Other users (esp. writers, students, and others working with "textual problems") specifically like the indentation rule’s hash marks (which is why we made another version with only that page style throughout). 


2. Writing helps you solve problems with greater clarity, speed, and detail.

Especially if you’re a developer, you may find problem-solving is a lot of your job. Not only does your work have to work (i.e. function), but all of it usually has to, you know, solve a problem—or else, why were you working on it in the first place?

Writing notes, rather than typing them, allows you to take down all of the most important points, both quickly and in a manner that's intuitive to you. It helps keeps the information both concise and precise. Most importantly, writing allows you to think about technical problems without being stuck in technical minutiae.

Being a software engineer I am tasked with daily problems I need to solve myself, and being able to process my thoughts in this way has allowed me to solve the toughest of "head-scratchers."
— Samuel from Minnesota
I come up with the best algorithms and bug fixes when I'm away from the computer screen and undistracted by the code itself and just think about the problem "out loud" on paper. 
— Kelly from Kentucky


3. Writing works better for in-the-moment collaboration.

Tech people gather around another low-tech device all the time—and that’s a whiteboard. Why? Because a whiteboard—not Google Docs, not a chatroom, not a Slack channel—is the best way for people to think through certain ideas together.

[My Code&Quill] is a space where I can write, sketch and get my ideas in order. Its more personal. (It’s even bumped my Moleskine love down a notch.) I can take it out and jot down a quick note or thought and throw it back in my bag—something that's not easily done with my computer.
— Natalie M. 

When you’re mobile, a big whiteboard isn’t always available—but a notebook can be. Sit down at a table, open it up, and put your heads together. The whole point of collaboration is doing better than a single person could do—and the most insightful collaboration happens when people talk it out and write it out together, not when they look at the same file remotely.

Not to mention, of course, that what's written in a notebook's pages stays there. No copying needed—all your notes stay in the same place. Because even when you use a whiteboard, the important bits need copying to... you get the point. 


4. A notebook looks more professional to clients and co-workers.

Even if you keep your files pristine, a laptop will never look as classy as a leatherette or hardcover book. Some things—let’s be honest—are matters of appearance, and there’s something more impressive about a person who bothers to actually write things down in a book.

Think about a meeting with clients. Which is better for meeting them: your laptop or your notebook? Think about the complications of using your laptop. Never mind the clunkiness; by showing them your computer, you’re breaking the wall between your clients and where you do their work. A notebook adds a buffer layer between you and your clients—you can take down all the info they want and even produce some basic sketches and drawings on the spot, BUT they never get to see into your personal machine. It’s a win-win.

It's great to be able to take notes, then sketch out ideas with my clients.
— Miles from North Carolina

Not to mention: depending on how you set up your notebook, it can also house your personal planner/calendar, your to-do lists, and your diary or journal. If you work it, it works for you!

My C&Q is used for everything from holding my daily to-do lists to hobby sketches and cartooning, all the way over to meetings with clients for new design projects where I'll take notes and sketch out simple UI layouts. It's everything for me!
— Rafael from New York


5. Writing by hand gives your eyes and brain a break and lets you exercise different creative muscles.

As we’ve written before, eye strain isn’t really a thing (to most people). But anyone gets tired of staring at something all day—especially if it’s something you can’t figure out. Whenever you need to look away from the screen, some old-fashioned paper will give you a reprieve from the pixels.

If you stare too long at your computer screen, you may as well be head-butting the keyboard. But if you switch gears, take a break, and focus your attention on paper instead of a screen, you might find a completely fresh angle. It certainly wouldn't be the first time. 


If you want to find the notebook that works best for your dev and design needs, take a look at our collection. If you want to see what our peeps are doing and hear the latest, come look at our photos on Instagram and our news on Facebook.


Part of us thinks that all-nighters end when you leave college—but they don’t. They’re just rarer, they come under different circumstances, and adults don’t usually call them “all-nighters.” They just happen whenever someone thinks: tonight, I have to work instead of sleeping.

The problem is that adults, having left college (age) behind, have lost their ability to just “whip out” an all-nighter, for many of the same reasons most have lost the ability to drink hard. You’re older, you’re out of practice, you have fewer people cheering you on, and you’ve forgotten the “common procedure” for doing it right.

That’s what this blog post is here to refresh: nine of the biggest things you need to think about (and plan for) to get through your next all-nighter in one piece.


Planning & Endgame

The single biggest mistake anyone can make before an all-nighter: failing to specify in advance when and how the all-nighter succeeds. If you have a specific goal, you can feel good about driving the Struggle Bus through the night because, hey, you got there! But if you DON’T set a goal, the all-nighter is likely to end exactly as you DON’T want it to—feeling drained and demoralized, like the whole thing was pointless.

Why are you staying up all night? What is worth feeling punch-drunk and cranky while the world is dead and dark? What is worth giving up a whole night’s sleep? If you’ve got a convincing answer to those questions, repeat it to yourself throughout the night. You need something to make it worthwhile!

Then, put the pieces in order. Make a plan. Be realistic about what you can accomplish—especially because you’re not gonna have your whole brain by 4:30am. If you’re giving up valuable sleep, make sure each hour is worth the trade.


Mood & Morale

A good mood keeps burning at 4am, but a bad mood only drags the whole effort down. That’s why purpose is so important: nothing kills a working spirit faster than the sense that its work is pointless. During the day, a bad mood is fixable; during the night, a sour mood can bring the entire day to a stop (literally).

A little self-awareness goes a long way. Now, instead of having other (awake) people getting in your way, your tired mind will start getting in the way of itself. You have to be your own captain and commander. If you’re stuck, for example, you can’t just stay stuck—you have to make executive decisions about moving forward somehow.

The factors below will also have direct (if subtle) effects on your mood—so remember that, by controlling them, you can help control your own mood even when you’re tired beyond quick repair.



This might sound weird, but for a quick second, pretend you’re diabetic. What does a diabetic watch? Blood sugar. 

Everyone experiences blood sugar swings, even the non-diabetic whose bodies correct it naturally. But at night, those swings hit you twice as hard. Picture the 3pm lull after lunch: that’s a blood sugar crash. If it happens again at 3am, it might suck enough for you to give up all hope and go to bed. Your body can correct whatever you feed it, but not for free—and that crash is one of the costs of junk food.

Without prescribing specific foods, we’ll say this: food is fuel, and your body will need a steady supply throughout the night. (The other way to crash is not to eat enough.) Eat real food, not just midnight snacks; try to include protein so you stay full, and go light on simple sugars (which cause spikes, which are then followed by crashes).



According to most health professionals (which we are not), water is best—but as long as what you’re drinking isn’t loaded with sugar, it should work fine. At different points, we’ve gotten on binges of green tea, Crystal Light, lemonade, and Fresca. The green tea has only marginal caffeine, and the others are caffeine-free; all are light in sugar or sugar-free. But they’re flavor improvements on water if you need something to sip all night.

Like with food, one of the surer ways to sabotage yourself with drink is not to have enough. When you’re dehydrated—at any hour—you start to feel lethargic, sluggish, and tired. Your focus starts to thin. Water keeps all of your body’s systems (most especially your brain) running at 100%. Keep a drink within reach!


Caffeine & Other Stimulants

Soda, coffee, black tea, and energy drinks can give you useful boosts. But however ubiquitous, caffeine is (for most people) not strong enough for preserving energy and focus by itself. Given, too, that energy drinks are often loaded with sugar, they can precipitate sharper crashes when their effects wear off.

If you’re using caffeine or energy drinks, we recommend you treat them as rocket boosters, as the last big push of artificial energy administered at a smart time. Otherwise, just stick to coffee or diet soda, whatever’s low on sugar. We never said a caffeine drip was a great lifestyle choice, but if it helps and you can maintain it evenly, go for it.



Like other animals, we have a circadian rhythm determined, originally, by the light/dark cycle of day and night. For the last 100 years or so, we have had the power to choose when it gets dark for us. Literally—just flip the switch.

Light is one simple way to trick your circadian rhythm and stall the natural sleepiness that comes with nighttime. Very simply: don't turn the lights off. In fact, don't even turn them down. Remember, you're trying to trick your brain into thinking that the daytime isn't ending!

We know that leaving all the lights on might "run against the grain" for you. But isn't that exactly what you're fighting—that the "normal" feeling is to want to turn them down at night? Just don't be a wasteful schmuck; be sure to turn off lights in rooms you're not using. 


Temperature & Clothing

Common sense says you should be comfortable while you work... but how comfortable? If you think about it, you want NOT to be super-comfortable because that's how you fall asleep!

Don't get the wrong idea. Making yourself uncomfortable to stay awake (the "ice water" strategy) isn't usually a happy or productive choice. If nothing else, you'll officially hate the all-nighter experience then.

Here's the solution: position yourself at the edge of comfort. Not enough to lull you to sleep, but enough to make you happy. For example: make the room slightly colder so you're a little less drowsy, but put on your favorite hoodie so you're not cold. 


Sound & Music

Keep something playing in the background. The point isn't to distract yourself so much as (A) keeping the eerie silence of night at bay and (B) putting some kind of rhythm into your work.


Depending upon what you need, your choice of background noise can serve a variety of purposes. You know your own music selection—but books on tape, radio, or stand-up can provide some social energy as well. You might also consider a noise tool like Noisli, where you can pick a background sound that helps keep the vibe where you want it (coffee shop, anyone?).

Just don't pick something that lulls you to sleep!



As with nearly every factor on this list, it’s double-edged: go without a break and you risk a miniature burnout, but include too many and you might unravel your own momentum.

A few typical events make for natural breaks. Eating is one. Showering is another—and potentially a good way to wake up again, or at least clear your mind some.

Don't feel guilty about needing to take breaks, and don't *not* take them. Everyone needs a breath of fresh air and a step away sometimes. Just be smart about when you place them and what you do with them. 



Godspeed and good luck on your next long journey through the night. May your coffee always be warm and your pen always full!

If you want the best notebook money can buy for a long night's thinking work, be sure to take a look at our collection. And if you're needing some inspiration or some company, come look at our photos on Instagram or our news on Facebook.


Design trends arise for many reasons.

They can be driven by popular culture, emerging technologies, new business models or just the random whims of fashion. 

Much of the time we don't even notice trends exist, so subtle can their influence be. In fact, we like to think we forge our own path and don't follow trends at all. 

But the truth is that trends form a vital part of the ecosystem in which our design work is created, so it's good to at least recognize what they are, even if you then ignore them.

Here we bring you 9 of the biggest design trends of 2016. Inspired by pop culture, current affairs and the latest technologies, these design trends make up the zeitgeist of 2016, and will most likely carry into early 2017.

This post originally appeared on Creative Bloq, written by Tom May

1. Color Overlays

Creative Bloq's own site, Generate conference, featured this design trend in the early months of 2016. More notorious, however, is Spotify's trend of featuring this design.

We’re talking, of course, about color overlays, that handy technique for changing the mood of a photograph (bright neon for extra impact; sepia tones for hipster vintage), or just livening up an otherwise less-than-striking image.

The trend has been everywhere on the web this year, from travel agency Outlines, to New York’s Pride 2016, to Birmingham design studio We Are Adaptable.

There’s also been a trend-within-a-trend for duotone colour schemes, as showcased by the likes of New Deal Design, MailChimp’s Year in Review and Louis Jeans. You can learn how to use color overlays in your own designs in this article.

2. Neo-Memphis Design

The Memphis Group was an Italian design and architecture group in the 1980s celebrated for its kitsch, knowingly ironic use of geometric shapes, plastic materials and bright neons. (The group actually had nothing to do with Memphis itself; their name was inspired by a Bob Dylan song). 

In the 2010s, we’ve seen a resurgence in what the Wall Street Journal has dubbed the “neo-Memphis design aesthetic”. The trend began in product, furniture, interior and fashion design, and it’s now spreading across web, graphic and print design too. 

Characterized by the use of flat vectors, geometric patterns, bright pastels, bold blocks of colour, and quirky elements like zig-zags, conftetti and squiggles, the influence of neo-Memphis design can be clearly seen in the work of A-2-O, Muokkaao, Adi Goodrich, Carmen Nacher and others. 

With 2016 having been in many ways a depressing year, we expect this bright and upbeat design trend to continue through to 2017. You can see more examples of neo-Memphis design here.

3. More Minimalism 

If we’re honest, we’re starting to miss skeuomorphism a little.

But the day when it makes a comeback still appears to be a long way off, as 2016 saw minimalism and flat design continue to extend their dominance over the creative landscape. 

One big driver of this trend has been Google’s Material Design principles which (to oversimplify hugely) promote minimalist, flat design patterns as a way of streamlining the experience of consumers using digital devices. In 2016 the company ramped up its promotion of these guidelines, redesigning its own Google Play icons along Material Design principles, and launching a new Material Design toolkit to get more designers on board.

The near-ubiquity of minimalism has been most obvious in the sphere of logo design, with seemingly every big brand redesign focusing around simplifying their existing identity.

Check out the new logos from BT, Subway, Mastercard, Instagram, HP, Bing and Gumtree, and you’ll see what we mean. And this love for minimalism isn’t just influencing logos, but the whole of branding design, with even McDonalds jumping on the minimalist bandwagon.

4. Progressive Web Apps

For web designers, 2016 was the year when progressive web apps truly entered the mainstream. So what are they? 

Definitions vary, but essentially they’re mobile web apps that perform functions previously limited to native mobile apps. So not only do they do sexy things like send push notifications, work offline and load on the homescreen, but they also offer the cool things web apps can do, being linkable, responsive and progressive (in the sense of progressive enhancement for different device capabilities). 

Examples of progressive web apps include Flipboard, Washington Post and Google I/O (you can see a longer list here). In short, everyone working in web and app design needs to know about progressive web apps, and there’s an excellent introduction to the subject by Chris Mills here.

5. VR in Branding

Virtual reality (VR) technology has been around for a while now—with 2016 being the year it finally entered the branding mainstream, and became something every design studio has to at least consider offering its clients. 

A typical project was UNIT9 and BBDO Dusseldorf’s VR installation for Wrigley, which combined the Oculus Rift, the Kinect, 3D graphics, custom sound design, two types of scented air, a harness, and a shipping container to enable users to experience the sensation of flight. 

But it’s not just about big-budget, physical VR installations. With the widespread availability of headsets, consumers in 2016 are increasingly enjoying VR experiences in their own homes, and agencies have been responding in kind. 

Absolut Labs offered its customers the chance to join musician Deadmaus in virtual reality on an ‘epic night out’; Saatchi & Saatchi created a 35-person VR team to developing VR showrooms for its client Toyota; and make-up brand Charlotte Tilbury let us float around with Kate Moss in outer space to promote its debut fragrance, Scent of a Dream.

Because not everyone wants to spend their money on VR viewers, brands are now giving them away for free.

The New York Times shipped Google Cardboard viewers to its print subscribers to promote its new VR app; McDonald's in Sweden gave away its own ‘Happy Googles’ viewers to customers; and charity collectors offered passers-by the chance to experience the life of a Syrian refugee in virtual reality.

Right now, everyone who works in design needs to get on board with at least the basic principles of VR. So check out our guide to VR, tips for using VR in branding; UX designers’ guide to VR; game artists' guide to VR and tips for getting started in VR.

6. Back to The Future

Nostalgia has always been an essential element of design.

Yet in 2016 it’s seemed like designers have been digging into the past like never before. 

Bringing back classic logos and branding became a design trend in itself, with the Co Op reviving their four leaf clover, NatWest restoring a logo found in their design archives and Kodak’s new logo reviving its classic 1970s camera shutter emblem. 

In our opinion, there are plenty of other classic logos that should never have been changed, so we hope this trend continues into 2017.

7. Digital Drawing Gets Physical

There’s long been a divide between digital and physical art. But in 2016, new technologies have continued to bring them closer and closer together. 

The iPad Pro, launched at the end of 2015 with the innovative Apple Pen, was the company’s first serious attempt to provide a digital drawing experience that’s resembles drawing on paper.

And it was quickly followed by a flurry of apps to enhance the drawing experience, most recently Duet Pro, which offers to make your iPad Pro experience similar to that provided by a high-end Wacom tablet.

Wacom has, of course, taken none of this lying down, and has been energised into making its own drawing tablets and styluses better than ever. Released this October, its powerful new MobileStudio Pro tablets comes with the new Pro Pen 2, which is claimed to be four times more accurate and pressure-sensitive than its predecessor.

With Adobe working with Tuur Stuyck to create Corel Painter-style, real-time oil painting tools for tablets, and Microsoft openly targeting artists and creatives with its new Surface Studio, it seems everyone wants a slice of the digital drawing space; and that can only benefit creatives going forward. 

8. Design Software Gets Super Competitive

Once upon a time, professional design software meant the Adobe suite, and nothing more. Over recent years, that’s all changed, most noticeably with the rise of Sketch, and Illustrator and Photoshop rivals Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo. 

This year the race to provide creatives with new, improved tools hotted up like never before. Affinity Designer got a powerful new upgrade and the previous Mac-only tool also launched on Windows. Affinity Photo will follow soon, along with iPad versions of both tools. 

Adobe launched Adobe XD launched to take on Sketch, which responded with a series of updates that made the UX tool more powerful than ever. Elsewhere Sketch plugins provider Invision expanded its own repertoire, buying up prototyping app Silver Flows, while powerful new free vector graphics tools like Vectr and Bez had everyone buzzing. 

Suffice it to say, design software companies are competing for your attention like never before, so keep an eye on Creative Bloq, where we’ll continue to keep you abreast of developments. 

9. AI Starts Taking Over Design

In the tech world this year, there was one thing everyone was talking about: artificial intelligence or AI.

It’s not just about driverless cars and automated warehouses; even the work of designers may soon be under threat from this intelligent form of software that can learn for itself and think more like a human.

During his talk at SXSW this March (right in Code&Quill's backyard!), Wired founder Kevin Kelly predicted that AI would become a utility that can be produced and distributed. "It's going to become a service,” he said. “It's going to be generated in a generating plant that's far from you and sent over the wires to wherever you want, just like electricity."

Kelly predicted the next 10,000 start-ups will use some form of AI, and indeed companies are already using it automate the intelligent and creative tasks traditionally done by web designers (in the case of website building services The Grid and a newly AI-powered Wix) and image retouchers (in the case of the Neural Photo Editor). 

So should all creatives be scared for their livelihoods? In this article Jordan Fisher argues that there’s no reason we should be replaced, as long as we rise to the challenge posed by AI and adapt our skills accordingly.

What did you all think? Any trends you've spotted that weren't named here? Leave them in the comments!

One final note...the better the tools, the better the creative. Arm yourself with the best tools to bring your ideas into the world. Check out the Code&Quill notebooks now.


This post was originally published on Creative Bloq on November 7, 2016.


We've had A LOT happening here at Code&Quill—maybe you've noticed?

For one thing...

We're working to create more content all our creatives will love.

Recently we sent out a feedback form to all our subscribers and asked what exactly they all love about Code&Quill, how they're using their notebooks, and what they'd love to see in the future.

The feedback was AMAZING.

Knowing how our notebooks are being used told us more about our creatives (that means you)—allowing us to create content that suits them. You can check out some of the content that's resulted from all of the feedback now:

Then, we launched the Monolith...

Code&Quill's first large-formatted notebook for creative professionals everywhere. 

From what we've heard, you guys love it—and we couldn't be happier!

Now, to the some of the newest (and best) stuff...

You can now subscribe to your favorite notebooks!

...and SAVE when you do!

We went through our data and figured out that our buyers put their notebooks to work, and then come back for more. We love that—your notebook is meant to serve you every day! 

We wanted to make this even easier for our creatives, so we enabled subscriptions; now you can subscribe to the notebooks you use most and have them show up in your mailbox without having to remember to come back and purchase before you run out.

The best part? You can set up your delivery rate so your notebooks arrive at your pace.

Check it out on any product page before you add to cart.

Get notebooks for every occasion with bundles!

...and SAVE when you do!

Yes, we're giving you another way to save. 

Now you can put together your favorite notebook combinations (for you or for everyone you know desperately in need of a Code&Quill), and get a 5% discount in the process.

Last, but certainly not least...

Give us your feedback...on our site!

This one has been a long time coming. 

We're always getting the best comments, suggestions, and feedback from our customers, but have never shown it off.

(Yes, we've acknowledged what a mistake we were making.)

But, no more! Now you can leave your comments about your favorite notebook right on our site.

The best part of this is that now we can give credit and feature the best part of Code&Quill...YOU!

As always, we wouldn't be able to do any of these things without you, the creative professional, the subscriber, the customer—so we thank you!

One final note...the better the tools, the better the creative. Arm yourself with the best tools to bring your ideas into the world. Check out the Code&Quill notebooks now.


There's nothing we love more than content we can identify with—and laugh at.

And that's exactly what we got when we stumbled onto this great piece of content from Tech In Asia

They've round up 11 (of many) types of programmers you're bound to run into in your life. Whether you're nodding and silently saying to yourself, "Yep, that's me," or laughing as you think of someone you know, this piece is a winner.

Check out all 11 and let us know which you are!

 One final note... the better the tools, the better the creative. Arm yourself with the best tools to bring your ideas into the world. Check out the Code&Quill notebooks now.)



We're more than excited to announce...

The newest tool for creatives has arrived: the Monolith.

Whether you're pulling together a wireframe for a new app, developing new products, drafting material for your book, or taking notes in a classroom, the Monolith is the perfect notebook for making your most demanding creative work a little easier.

Back in May, we launched our second Kickstarter to launch this amazing initiative—a beautifully crafted, large-format notebook for creative professionals everywhere.

With almost 400 backers, we successfully reached funding and were once again amazed at the support we received from the very same people we aim to serve! If you haven't watched the Kickstarter video that explains exactly what's so special about the Monolith.

After months of waiting, the Monoliths showed up in the fine state of Texas last week and we spent the last 4 days packing and shipping over 600 Kickstarter orders out to find new homes. What does that mean for you?

All four options of the Monolith are now open for business!

The Monolith’s pages incorporate our unique Dot Grid/Indentation Rule dual-page layout—meaning all left-side pages have a dot grid for sketches and drawings, while the right pages have narrow-ruled lines with vertical hash marks every 5mm for properly structuring notes, lists, paragraphs, and even code.

For those of you who don’t need the dual layout—or who want writing space more than drawing space—we’ve also created a version of the Monolith with only the Indentation Rule! There’s tons of room for writing here.

We hope you're just as excited as we are, we can't wait to get Monoliths into your hands!

Oh, and we have one more equally exciting—although smaller—update for you guys...

Recently we sent out a campaign to our customers to find out we can be enabling creatives with the best tools possible. We received some awesome (and honest) responses, but this one made us laugh...

With the Monoliths arrival also came a fresh stock of Gray TravelersWe're well-stocked and ready to fulfill your traveler orders, so, if you're like our friend from above, your dream product has arrived!

A huge thank you to everyone that has supported us in our original and second Kickstarter. You make all this possible and we quite literally wouldn't be here without you.

Stay tuned... we have cool things happening everyday around here and we'll be sharing them with you soon!