According to researchers at Princeton University and the University of California at Los Angeles, students who take handwritten notes generally outperform those who type via a computer. Not surprisingly, those who write their notes by hand are able to comprehend new material better while retaining that information for longer. But in a world where we rely on nearly every piece of content to be digitally archived and searchable, what gives?

Aiming to solve this dilemma once and for all, Moleskine’s new Smart Writing Set aims to be the answer for writers, artists, designers, engineers and anybody else who wants the feel of analog sketching with the archiving and editing powers of digital notetaking and sketching.

The set, which includes the Paper Tablet notebook, the Pen+ and the Moleskine Notes companion app, works harmoniously to enable users to digitally edit and share what is created on paper in real-time without having to take a photo, upload files or scan loose documents. While the Paper Tablet is purposely designed with extended rounded edges to feel like a tablet, the Pen+ is a slim, aluminum pen with a hidden camera that traces and digitizes all written content. Once digitized, the content can be stored directly in the accompanying app and exported to a number of other Cloud services.


While we’ve seen an almost nauseating amount of products aimed at digitizing our notes over the past few years – including multiples from Moleskine themselves – it appears that the beloved notebook company might have actually found an ecosystem solution that finally works:

“We see demand for our paper-based collections grow in double digits year after year, showing the continued relevance of paper in the digital age”, said Arrigo Berni, CEO of Moleskine in a statement. “On the other end we are well aware of all the advantages of digital, for editing, curating and sharing. This is why we see analog and digital as a continuum.”

While the smart writing system appears to work as stated, it’s going to take a particular kind of buyer to cough up the $199 required to get started with it. Once started, however, the refill notebooks are comparable in price to existing Moleskines at $29. That said, if you use your sketchbook religiously and have previously been manually snapping lackluster photos of each page before uploading them to a Cloud folder – the Smart Writing Set just might be worth the cost of entry. Also – it’s cheaper than an iPad Pro.

Find out more over at Moleskine.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.