I’m mildly obsessed with composition notebooks. There’s something about that familiar black and white marble pattern that is incredibly appealing. In the past year alone, I’ve somehow amassed over 40 marble notebooks, each with a distinct cover. It’s interesting to see the same base pattern being used–and distorted–by different brands.

Composition Notebook Patterns
(center pattern is flipped upside-down)

Composition Notebook Patterns

While some companies create their own style of the pattern, others manipulate a particular version, first seen in the Roaring Spring books (they’ve been producing composition books since 1887), which early catalogues describe as “black agate marble with paper sides.” Their pattern has no copyright, and is considered public domain.

Roaring Spring Composition Notebooks

Roaring Spring Composition Notebook Pattern
(the Roaring Spring pattern on other covers)

Composition Notebook Patterns

Companies even use multiple patterns within their own product line (perhaps to indicate a different paper style). The pattern is so recognizable that lately it’s been used on a range of things other than notebooks (shoes, socks, bags, hats, art objects, and other random stuff).

Composition Notebook Pattern Shoes
my shoes

(I also think it would make a great jacket):

Composition Notebook Pattern Jacket Sketch

Ultimately, I think the most beautiful versions are the ones that are completely original and unique to one brand:

Montag's Blue Horse Composition Book

More images below…