This post here is the second part of what is a special cooperation between Scrively and X17 / X47. Good parts of the companies’ product portfolios are unique products on the stationary market, which is why I am glad about this collaboration which allows for bringing to you some posts about those great note-taking tools.
The first post of this series was on the X47 Steel, which is a flexible and nice looking book-by-book note taking-system. This post here will be on an extremely practical concept that I have never seen anywhere else before, which is called Mind-Papers.
What is Mind-Papers?
Essentially, Mind-Papers is a really simple idea (most great ideas are simple, right?!): note-taking based on index cards. Index cards are an age-old system – they are really flexible and have even proven effective in learning.
The great thing about index cards, in my opinion, is that you can just sort them the way you want, add stuff, remove things, and so on. There are few things that are more flexible than index cards. The flipside of the coin, though, is that they are not really mobile and do easily get lost. This is exactly where Mind-Papers comes into play.
Basically, one could say that Mind-Papers shares some features with the Hipster PDA, which also is a stack of index cards that are held together with a binder clip. Just that Mind-Papers is definitely a lot better looking. But enough with the prelude – let’s just dive right into things and take a first look at Mind-Papers. I got two versions to test: the A5- and A6-size Mind-Papers (they are also available in A7 and A8).
I will go into the details of those two different loose-leaf notebooks in a bit. Let us first consider what Mind-Papers are and what they might me useful for.
Mind-Papers basically consists of a real leather wrapper (which is “Made in Germany”) that is available in a wide range of colors and leather-types, a pencil-holder called “Sloop” that always comes in the wrapper’s leather-color, and a stack of 160g/sqm index cards (30 of them will come with any ordered Mind-Papers set).
What might Mind-Papers be useful for? Well, that is pretty much up to you, which is the beauty of it. There is nothing like a predestined use-case, I guess. X17 suggests a spectrum of application-scenarios, though:
- to learn languages or for studying
- as an alternative to a regular notebook
- as a time-planner alternative
- as a creativity-tool
- for short hand-notes
- for task-management and to do-lists
After having put Mind-Papers to test for a while now, I do personally use them solely as a creativity-tool (i.e. mind-mapping and brain storming). To me, they prove really helpful in thinking about new ideas, concepts, and just generally in structuring my thoughts. This is probably because of the unique strength of index cards that is precisely this reordering, flexibility, adding-on, and so on. In my job I often have to think about larger patterns, ideas, concepts, and how these are interlinked. Mind-Papers is really great for that. I can even take the index-cards out and use them in a genuine mind-mapping way – put them on a table or even pin them unto a wall. I can then take a picture of the result with my phone and tuck the cards back into the wrapper. So by now, I usually carry my regular notebook that I use for general note-taking as well as a set of Mind-Papers for brainstorming, mind-mapping or when refining some concepts or ideas that I am currently working on.
After having talked about Mind-Papers generally and how I use them, let’s have a closer look at the two versions I got for reviewing. We start out with the A5-version.
I got the A5-version of Mind-Papers in a vegetal tanned, dark brown leather skin. This version goes for about 40€ and contains the leather wrapper, the Sloop pencil-holder, a black pencil and 30 index cards in a color that matches the wrapper. The vegetal leather has a beautifully unique structure and feels really nice.
The foldback-clip sits tightly on the leather wrapper, holding all the index cards together in one place. The pencil also sits firmly and can’t fall out. You may well replace the pencil with any other pencil of your choice. Size-wise it will fit as long as you do not use non-standard size pencils.
In order to open the notebook, just as with any other binder clip, just fold it back, press and remove the clip from it’s dedicated carved out place.
The “Sloop” always comes in the leather-color of your set of Mind-Papers. It has two felt-pads worked into its inside in order to protect the leather wrapper from the otherwise metal-insides of the binder clip.
When you turn Mind-Papers around, you will see the brand name engraved into the lower backside of it. That is where you usually, with all premium notebooks, find the label.
When opening Mind-Papers, you will have access to the stack of index cards. Of course you can refill Mind-Papers with any type of index card or any Hipster PDA-template that you might find on the internet.
When empty and turned around, Mind-Papers shamelessly reveals its beautiful simplicity: it basically really is just a piece of (very beautiful) leather that is wrapped around some index cards – all hold together by a foldback-clip. Genius, isn’t it?!
The leather is pretty thick and stable, definitely making it worth its price.
When folded together, however, the whole thing still is pretty slim and slender.
The A6 Mind-Papers is the one that I personally do use more frequently, which is due to its smaller size and greater mobility. This one here is a smooth leather in red-orange and goes for about 25 € .
Like the A5-version, this one also comes with the leather wrapper, of course, the Sloop pencil-holder, a black pencil and 30 index cards in a color that matches the wrapper. On top of that, you get a X17 notebook-journal in squared ruling as a sample. Remember: you can add anything beyond index cards to Mind-Papers that is A6 in size (in this case).
Just as with its other sibling, flap back the wings of the binder clip, press and remove it.
This one here also comes with a nice set of index cards, colored according to the leather wrapping.
When turning it around, you also see the Mind-Papers label embossed onto the backside.
If you are looking for the most flexible, however still orderly, note-taking solution, Mind-Papers might just be for you. To me personally, it is the ultimate (analogue) creativity-tool that allows for mobile brain-storming and mind-mapping while keeping the structure of my ideas open and ready to be rearranged anytime.