The Baron Fig Askew Notebook: A Collaboration with Debbie Millman

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By Jonathan Simcoe / Published by Jonathan Simcoe
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Askew is an entirely fresh and controversial take on a classic tool used by creatives, the world over.

Today Baron Fig unveiled Askew, a notebook produced in collaboration with legendary graphic designer Debbie Millman. It just so happens that I listened to the bulk of Debbie's Design Matters interview with Timothy Goodman today on the commute in to work. They talked a lot about creative trajectory and the explorative process that led Goodman into his career with Sharpie art, murals, and innovative design work. Askew seems to follow in this same vein. It is innovative, unexpected, and sure to turn heads.

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The creative spirit that this notebook is built on is rooted in something very human and unexpected. The rules of the lined notebook are conceived by Debbie's explorative and sometimes downright chaotic and disruptive hand work. It shatters expectations but also delivers something very human that many of us in the creative industry long for: freedom.

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There are many times when I'm staring at a blank or gridded page and my mind is either blank or I'm driven toward the tight and expected structure of the grid to create something geometric and rigid. As a digital product designer who craves order it is often difficult for me to open my mind and let it wander.

Askew is practically begging it's human counterparts to create something unexpected on the page. This invitation into the unexpected is what gives the book it's brilliance. Ironically the form creates a structure for free, and unhinged thinking.

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Whether it appeals to you or not, Askew is a bold move and something I love seeing Baron Fig take the risk in creating. It has a very opinionated vision, but one with heart. One that encourages you to create something original and unexpected on the page.

In a world saturated with digital consumption, addictive apps, and constantly "on" media, there is something refreshing about the invitation into the analog unknown.

Give Askew a try. It may not be your thing. But then again, you may be surprised where the journey off the beaten path takes your creative mind.

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