When it comes to starting a side project (or a “project” project), ironing out early ideas and evaluating them ahead of time – rather than just jumping in – can mean the difference between a hugely successful venture or a massive major headache further down the road. Unfortunately, moving productively through this brainstorming process and staying inspired isn’t always as simple as it seems.

Aiming to help guide makers and design entrepreneurs through the idea hatching process, the Hatch Notebook is a new design tool that helps take ideas from concept to reality with a structured brainstorming system.

“We came up with this idea about a year ago and started using a basic version to organize our own ideas,” says co-creator Liz Downey. “We quickly found that having one place for all our ideas helped us generate more ideas and make connections that we wouldn’t have otherwise. Also, we found that just the act of writing down an idea made it more real and helped us stay committed.”


Downey – along with her sister Sarah – has spent the past year creating several prototypes of their brainstorming system and gaining feedback from makers and entrepreneurs. Once they had a revised concept for the system itself, their focus then shifted towards finding the best book manufacturer in the US that was sensitive to notebook design details including bookbinding and paper quality.

“We needed one dedicated place to keep our ideas organized throughout their life cycle, a system that makes it easier to take ideas from concept to reality.”

    Ultimately – the sisters wanted a system that not only worked, but was also something that people would actually want to carry around and use.

    YouTube video

    The Hatch Notebook consists of the following sections (also available in a PDF preview here):

    Conceive section
    List your ideas by category to create an unorthodox table of contents as you enter page numbers. As you fill in the excitement & difficulty levels of each idea, you’ll be able to see which ones might be worth pursuing at a glance.

    • 4 pages to list and categorize your ideas
    • 16 blank dot grid pages to brainstorm ideas

    Incubate section
    Evaluate and define your ideas by answering important questions. Then decide which ones you’re most passionate about and want to Hatch.

    • 14 spreads with questions to help you evaluate your ideas to decide which ones to pursue

    Hatch section
    Define your project specs and dreate an action plan to keep you moving forward. Use the blank pages to sketch, take notes, or anything else you can imagine. Hatch will help you stay inspired throughout the process of bringing an idea to life.

    • 5 project sub-sections to develop and plan your ideas; 18 pages each, with 1 page for specifications and action plan and the others blank for your sketches and notes

    Guidelines, tips & resources section

    • 10 pages of guidelines, tips & resources at the back, to guide you if you need it while being unobtrusive if you don’t


    The 5.75″ wide x 8.25″ tall 160-page notebook features a lightweight cloth hardcover enveloping 70 lb. acid-free paper with Smyth sewn binding. For just $20, early supporters of the notebook’s Kickstarter campaign can get theirs first with an expected delivery date of September of this year.


    “We’re very excited about what we’ve created and even more excited about helping people develop their ideas and find something that’s meaningful to them,” adds Downey. “We believe that ideas can come from anywhere, that no idea is too big or too small, and that ideas can change the world.”


    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.