Since launching in 1997, Moleskine has amassed the kind of following and loyalty few brands experience. The simply designed notebooks can be used for everything from travel journals and to-do lists, to sketch books and design portfolios.
In the age of everything digital, Moleskine has managed to keep analogue not only relevant, but cool — and the company’s co-founder Maria Sebregondi has a lot to do with that. Today, she oversees brand development projects across Moleskine’s expanding collection of notebooks, bags and writing instruments. We caught up with Maria to find out her favourite apps, secret talents and more.
Location: Milan, Italy
Current gig: VP of Brand Equity & Communications at Moleskine
Current mobile device: iPhone 5
Current computer: Desktop PC
One word that best describes how you work: Phygitally
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? Doesn’t have to be tech.
A large plain black Moleskine notebook with a hard cover. It’s my container of notes, ideas and future projects, so I’d say it’s one of the most essential tools I own.
Pictured above: Maria’s notebook and iPhone.
What’s your workspace like?
Our offices in Milan are an open space which we try to keep blank. I’ll be honest though — in reality we’re surrounded by towers of notebooks, cascades of paper, giant rolls of elastic bands and boxes full of new collections. My desk is completely covered, but I get my blank space and log-off time from the pages of my notebook, so that’s fine.
What’s your best time-saving trick?
[Using] Evernote. We created a special notebook with them last year that bridges the analogue world with the digital realm to improve productivity and creativity. The dotted pages inside are optimised for smartphone cameras and we developed an analogue tagging system so that the handmade can be instantly stored, archived and searched within the cloud. It’s all part of our vision of syncing the two together. Keeping them separate seems totally ridiculous.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
I like to think of my bag as an analogue cloud. It follows me wherever I go and carries my most important objects — identity markers that anchor me to the real world, while my phone connects me to the digital cloud through the computer files, emails and megabytes it stores.
Pictured above: Maria’s bag.
What’s your favourite to-do list manager?
I’m gonna go with pen and paper, which do the job just fine.
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
I make a great Pasta al forno — a mighty Neapolitan dish made in the oven with pasta, tomato sauce, and heaps of mozzarella and parmesan. Cooking relaxes me, and it’s a great opportunity to get together with all my friends.
What do you listen to while you work?
Silence is my preferred option. I have enough noise in my head as it is! Sometimes I let the radio run in the background.
What are you currently reading?
Frog by Nobel Prize winner Mo Yan. I like how he blends history with the contemporary in a very surreal writing style.
Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
Introvert! Obviously my job calls for me to be more extroverted, but deep down I’m a shy thing.
What’s your sleep routine like?
I’m a sleepy person by nature. I read every night before bed and have coffee first thing in the morning. I would like to be a night owl but I have to be an early riser.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The Romans used to say “festina lente”, Latin for “make haste, slowly.” I think it’s a good motto for contemporary living. Keep on moving, but don’t forget to take the time to think.
We’ve asked a handful of heroes, experts and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces and routines. Every week we’ll feature a new guest and the gadgets, apps, tips and tricks that keep them going. Want to suggest someone we should feature or questions we should ask? Let us know.