Why You Should Keep Three Notebooks

It has always boggled my mind when architecture students don’t put the same effort into their career development that they put into study that is forced upon them. You might feel like you are surrounded by networks and resources, but none of these are your own personal learning and connections.

I recommend keeping three notebooks:

1. The first should note people who you meet in the industry, and what you know about them. This helps you create your network, remember names, build relationships, and catalogue a library of people to call on and reference.

2. The second book should be your technical learnings. Keep this book handy at work and collect lessons learnt on projects. Ask how certain details work and sketch it. Copy a 'cheat sheet' of key information. This will help you learn things faster, and know where to find them if you forget (rather than having to ask twice.)

3. The third book should be for collecting project inspiration and design ideas. This book is for sketching buildings, recording details, and noting architects that you come across inyour reading, research, and travels.

Personally I’m pretty good at the first two, and trying to improve on the third!


Which notebooks do I use? I have to confess that I will only use Moleskin Cahier Large notebooks. I have some plain, and some ‘squared’, in tan and cranberry red. I’m getting quite the collection and they look beautiful together on a shelf. They are also a perfect size for carrying around. You can buy the same set of three that I started with, here.*

As far as pens go, my taste is much simpler. I just like a good old artline fineliner 0.4 - nothing fancy. Though, they don’t last forever so grabbing a dozen* is a good investment.

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Sarah Lebner