Notebox is a designer’s toolkit. This was one of my most prized possessions, and unfortunately it disappeared some time between moving from RISD to San Francisco. I have yet to make a duplicate. The concept was to be able to carry with me all the tools I enjoy using in a given project, but not in a cumbersome way. My preferred sketchbook is Moleskine, but none of the cases or containers or pouches or bags I carried around were a suitable companion. They’re bulky or slippery, or awkward to hold. I used the measurements of a 5x8 Moleskine so I could create the illusion of carrying a stack of books (much easier to hold).

The constraint of corrugated cardboard was a welcome challenge as it provided ample protection as well as a clear aesthetic direction. The first obstacle was finding a suitable way to pack in all the Tetris pieces of my toolkit. Initially, I made a topographic form out of multiple sheets of cardboard that I hand die-cut in the correct shapes, but, as the glue dried, this proved to be too rigid. It didn’t have enough give to remove the objects.

Foam, on the other hand, provided the flexibility to easily remove each tool without being so loose that they fell out on their own. After precisely measuring each tool and hand cutting layers of foam at appropriate depths, I wallpapered the interiors to provide a smooth, clean surface against which the tools would lie. I designed a hinge for the book that allowed room for it to open and close without a strain. The last bit was cutting out a smaller cutting mat (which, if you’ve ever tried to cut apart a self-healing cutting mat…). The box stays shut with an elastic band. Some day, when I have several hours of free time, I’ll dust off my physical design skills and make myself a new Notebox.