We believe that a notebook should be a properly bound book, designed not only to withstand, but to improve with, everyday use. Developments in binding techniques have made faster, cheaper binding methods available, which result in a stiff spine that needs to be ‘broken in.’ At MARK+FOLD we use only thread-sewing and, where necessary, a thin layer of glue (applied cold, as in traditional bookbinding, to retain flexibility). This makes a book that simply falls open when placed on a flat surface.
Pioneered in the 1980s by Finnish bookbinder Ota, this method has all the advantages of traditional case binding, combined with a soft cover. Large sheets of paper are folded down to make 16-page sections, which are sewn together to create a ‘book block.’ Since the book block is not glued into the case along the spine, the book has a beautiful flexibility and achieves an excellent ‘layflat.’ Carefully-placed creases along the spine create a neat hinge; the result is a mechanism that is as durable as it is elegant. Our signature Notebook Mark One is ota-bound by the family-run bookbindery Hexspoor in Holland.
The most simple way to make a book, a single length of thread is stitched through three holes along the spine, meeting in the middle on the centrefold with a simple knot. We use this simplest of bindings for our exercise books, which are hand-made at our London workshop.