News / Graphic Design

Pentagram designer Aron Fay redesigns the classic composition notebook


Aron Fay, a designer at Pentagram New York, is launching a redesigned edition of the classic composition notebook. Called Comp, the notebook is an homage to the ubiquitous stationery item, a favourite of artists and designers around the world, and a subject of obsession for Aron.

This is Aron’s contribution to the composition pad’s evolving lineage. For the cover he has recreated the marbled pattern by hand-drawing it himself, to have complete control over the balance in the pattern. On top of this is the familiar white rectangle, this time right aligned, featuring “comp” in hand-drawn type.

The cover is made from thick board wrapped in micro-embossed paper, while the pages are smooth, 120gsm uncoated paper. It has an exposed spine bound with Italian cialux cloth instead of tape, for durability, and employs layflat binding so the notebook can open completely flat.

The project represents over a year of research for Aron, who says that the notebooks “haven’t changed all that much since they came into being centuries ago." The campaign also features images of the notebook’s various iterations throughout history (see below).

“With all the new advances in the fields of paper-making, printing and binding since the 1800s, I was interested in what it would be like to create a notebook that uses the new printing and binding technologies and the highest quality materials possible, while still maintaining the nostalgic pattern that we all know and love.”

At the time of publication the Kickstarter campaign has raised $37,712 in four days.


National Brand Lab Book (2014). Made in Mexico. Courtesy of Comp


Unknown stationer (1893), Massachusetts, USA. Courtesy of Comp


Top Flight Composition book (2016). Courtesy of Comp


Gramco (2016). Made in Brooklyn, NY USA. Courtesy of Comp


Ecole Nationale d’Horticulture (1901). Made in France. Courtesy of Alwen Rambo/Belle Brocante


Ecole Centrale des Art et Manufactures (1887). Made in France. Courtesy of Alwen Rambo/Belle Brocante


Repertoire book (1940s). Made in France. Courtesy of Comp


Unknown stationer (1970s). Made in Portugal. Courtesy of Comp