Universally used, notebooks are defined as “a small book with blank or ruled pages for writing notes in.” With the emergence of laptops and the dominance of technology, many now prefer to take their notes and scribbles on their laptops or tablets. Nonetheless, the authenticity of notebooks is everlasting. There’s something unique about feeling the pages brush against your hand as you write, draw or doodle your thoughts; about smelling the raw pages as you flip them. Just as with the debate on reading from a book or from a screen, the debate on whether notebooks are still in use or have been replaced by electronics is one that has no answer.
Yara Saad, graphic designer, has her own answer to this debate. Yara’s passion for creating and design lead her to graduate from ALBA university (Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts) with a BA in Graphic design and Advertising. Among the things she enjoys are cooking, travelling and everything that has do with arts and crafts. Below, we sat down with Yara to see what drove her to start her Yayo notebook collections and why.
What motivated you to study graphic design?
Ever since I can remember, I expressed myself through arts and crafts. So when the time came to choose a career path, it only made sense to turn this hobby and my passion into my profession.
What do you think are the key skills a graphic designer should have?
I think that the most important thing a designer should have is taste and an eye that understands what’s appealing and what’s not; that’s something that can’t be learned.
Other than that, It’s really important to practice, practice, practice and work hard.
How did you start making notebooks and why?
After attending a workshop that taught the basics of bookbinding, I locked myself in my bedroom for one week while trying out different kinds of bindings with different kinds of textures and papers. At the end, I had more than 30 notebooks and I didn’t know what to do with all of them, but I knew that I had discovered a passion and I had to do something about it. That’s when I decided to build my brand and started participating in small exhibitions and garage sales to sell my creations.
When did you first realize you’re interested in this?
My obsession with notebooks started a long time ago. Wherever I was out and saw unique notebooks, I used to buy them and store them on a shelf in my room without ever writing anything on them partly because I was scared to ruin them with my dull handwriting! The day I discovered the workshop teaching bookbinding basics, I knew i had to register immediately; and i did. After struggling during the workshop, I stayed up all night determined to perfect the bindings that I did earlier in the day and that’s when I realized that I had found something I’m truly passionate about. I had finally found something I love, something I was looking for all along: arts and crafts meets scrapbooking meets design.
Which one of your designs is your favorite and why?
If I really had to choose one, I would say that my favourite product is the daily planner simply because I can be very flexible and customize each and every planner depending on the interest of very client.
How do you choose the material you use and where do you get it from?
Every time I travel, I always carry with me an extra bag just for new cover material. I think this is one of the things that make Yayo stand out. I have textures and patterns from india, Berlin, Paris, Stockholm and many more places. This makes every notebook a “limited edition” and therefore unique.
Tell us more about your future plans and what you aspire to achieve.
Moving forward, I’m going to do more focused and customized notebooks. They’re not only going to be plain on the inside as there will be a template, similar to the daily planners or the baby books that I had done a while ago. I also want to do a line of designed stationary and host workshops to share my passion with others who are as passionate about this as I am!