14 Oct 2009


My name is Jon Hicks, and I’m a stationery fetishist. I’m sure many of you are too. I love the design, feel, and most of all, smell of it. Some of my earliest and happiest memories are of walking into WHSmiths and smelling the pencils and paper, looking at the pads and notebooks (and being allowed to buy a new one!). Even in an age when my work is solely screen-based, I still lust after the senses-satisfying joy of new stationery.

Just recently, I’ve started using graph paper pads again, particularly for sketching interface wireframes. I’ve tried plain paper, but I’m one of those people that can’t draw a freehand straight line to save their life. Then the wonkiness of the line just becomes a distraction.

I’d been using a Paperchase notebook, which had a very faint dotted line squared paper, but it was only a few sheets amongst a variety of other types. It was ideal, but Paperchase don’t make a pad or notebook of just this type anymore, so after fruitless local searching and googling, I asked for Twitter feedback on a suitable alternative. The response was fantastic, and here are the three best options.

The Original Designers Workbook (Available from the Design Museum Shop, although mostly out of stock at the moment) fits the criteria, as subtle graph paper pad:


Here’s a sample of it’s grid:

The most-suggested option by far was the Behance dot grid book (available in the UK from Strawberry and Cream):

Behance grid book close up

Best of all though looks like the Swedish Whitelines series, as suggested by David Hughes (available from Foyles in London, Amazon and Papernation in the UK).


Rather than use the traditional lined approach, it uses the negative space, creating a less destructive white lined grid:


I should also mention the lovely Konigi Wireframe Pad, which also looked ideal, but sadly is US delivery only. Yes, I can always get someone in the US to send it on for me, but on principle I prefer not to. They offer a great range of free PDF templates that you print off, but that’s not a economical solution in the long term. Fine for the odd sheet here and there. Also, Inkjet prints just don’t have that lustfulness about them in the way new stationery does.

So, I’ve ordered both the Behance Dot book and a Whitelines notebook to try them both out!

Recent Posts

The Hicks Logowall

05 Oct 2018

Hiding Away

16 Sep 2018

Biro sketch of Lauzerte

23 Aug 2018

Firefox Identity Project

21 Aug 2018

It’s just fashion

26 Jun 2018

The Symbol Sourcebook

08 Jun 2018

Differences between Icon and Logo Design on This is HCD Podcast

10 Apr 2018

Twelve South PencilSnap

01 Apr 2018

The Infinite Canvas

09 Feb 2018

Instagram Hickstagram

  • 22 Oct 2018

    Inktober Day 22. Well, @hicksmade left me with a toughie to follow. Here’s my attempt at Dali taking his pet anteater for a walk. #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #dali

  • 21 Oct 2018

    Inktober Day 21, another bird (sorry @hicksmade)! This is the Snipe that I watched from the hide at Rusty Common on Friday. Lovely birds with beaks that defy the body they’re attached to. #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #snipe

  • 21 Oct 2018

    Common Darter Dragonfly

  • 20 Oct 2018

    Inktober Day 20: quick doodle without planning in pencil or looking at reference, which is usually a bad idea. Your turn @hicksmade! #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober

  • 20 Oct 2018

    Morning dog walk. Even the wheelie bins looked good in this light

  • 20 Oct 2018

    Inktober Day 19. Following @hicksmade’s marshmallows with more marshmallows 🤪 #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #ghostbusters #staypuft

  • 18 Oct 2018

    Inktober Day 18. When @hicksmade did a prawn I was sure she was setting me up to do cocktails! #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #cocktails

  • 18 Oct 2018

  • 18 Oct 2018

  • 18 Oct 2018

    Inktober day 17 . @hicksmade’s pen led me onto squid and their ink shooting abilities. I also found out that a part of the squids anatomy is called a ‘pen’. #inktober #inktober2018 #ink #leighandjondoinktober

Contact us

Call Jon on +44 (0)7917 391536, email or tweet @hicksdesign.

Alternatively, pop in for tea and cake at the studio…

Wenrisc House
Meadow Court
Witney, OX28 6ER
United Kingdom