Announcing the winning designs, as selected by our panelist of five judges!

First, thank you, everyone who entered the Design Your SketchNote contest! We’d like to present the five winning designs, which sprang into being on the canvas of five different colors of SKETCHNOTEs.

Our panel of five judges, all with strong ties to our SKETCHNOTE Project, have selected five of their favorite designs after careful deliberation, presented here with comments from the judges and the designers themselves.

These SKETCHNOTE designs will also be on display at FabCafe in Tokyo and Shibuya starting in July.


Takuro Takagi

Everything is picturesque.


Creator’s comment:
Everything is picturesque… Even the trash on the side of the road.
If you open your mind to that potential, life is so much more fun.

Selector’s comment:

IijimaTo my mind, the idea of SKETCHNOTE is perfectly encompassed in a piece of paper, interposed to be sketched upon anywhere, at any time.

The only time the graphic on the back is visible is that moment when the paper runs out, or when you’re about to replace it.

In this design, that’s where “everything is picturesque” is inscribed.

The designer’s comments go something like this:

“Everything is picturesque… Even the trash on the side of the road. If you open your mind to that potential, life is so much more fun.”

Now, was that a message written to themselves, a general guideline to life, or something else?
Regardless of the answer, the question is posed to anyone who holds a SKETCHNOTE in their hands.

You know the words already; you don’t have to go through life every day being reminded of them.
But as days go by, and they begin to slip from your memory, all you need is a quick reminder and they spring back into your mind.

Perhaps those times are when SKETCHNOTE is able to provide the perfect punctuation to those thoughts, when you’re changing out paper pads.

That was drew me to this design and made my choice for me.

Granted, not everyone has their own words to live by, but certainly everyone stops for a moment when they lose their way. Perhaps there’s something they think to themselves then, something that’s all their own.

Artwork on the back, a blank canvas on the front, and underneath that, hidden words to live by.
All wrapped up in the SKETCHNOTE you carry with you from day to day.

A smart phone is a convenient tool too, of course. It reminds of your tasks for the day, appointments, things like that. But that fuzzy interval between realizing the paper’s run out and replacing it… There’s a contrasting comfort there that only an analogue media like a notebook can provide.

(Osamu Iijima)




Creator’s comment:
I created this design with help from my favorite sushi restaurant and a local bar.

The front cover features a mouthwatering photograph of sushi, and on the back is part of a handwritten menu that could obviously only come from a bar.

When I’m down in the dumps stressing out about work or how tight money is before payday, all I have to do is whip out my sketch book, and think to myself, “Alright! Work a little harder and you can eat that sushi! Or go to the bar!” And then it’s like this try-hard switch gets flipped inside my head. It’s a design about the things I want!

Selector’s comment:

IshitaniThere were so many great designs I had a hard time choosing at first, but the “try-hard switch,” the sushi, and the hand-written bar menu were what clinched it for me.
When someone has a rough image of something in their heads, they put their pen or pencil to paper and give it form without stressing the fine details. That’s always been my definition of sketch, to be honest. But when that “try-hard” switch flips in our head and a light goes off, we want to sketch that out, too. I’d like to recognize this design for helping me realize that there’s another meaning there.
Not to change the subject or anything, but I couldn’t help noticing that smack dab in the middle of that page was goya, and the last entry was for cream croquette… You trying to tell us something here?

(Masaki Ishitani)

Sumie Isuyama

The Little Wolf


Selector’s comment:

ToshiyaWhen you’re creating something that’s meant to last for a long time, it’s important not to be too heavy-handed with the design; otherwise, anyone would get tired of it after about a month. You want some level of individuality to shine through, of course, but you have to find the right balance. When I looked at the entries, I wanted to choose one that skillfully and cleverly manipulated that balance to their desired affect. There were many that were well done, and many that made me think, but this one in particular spoke to me. “The Little Wolf” certainly has personality as an illustration, but the designer was showed a deft hand in where they chose to restrain that as well. By using a pattern as the primary focus of the design as well as a monochromatic theme to tone down the design’s idiosyncrasies, I feel they were able to achieve a very compelling balance of elements.

(Toshiya Fukuda)




Creator’s comment:
With eyes made out of glossy buttons (maybe resin?), it would be like a monster was glowering at you for a lot of shock impact. Also, it would be great for shock value if the cover was visible to other people while you sketched on the pad.

The underside would feature a simple accent drawing. I put a pair of scissors where the stitching begins just for a fun touch.
The upper part of the underside would be marked so it could double a ruler.
For convenience’s sake, the bottom part has my signature and copyright to denote that I’m responsible for the design for when people upload their sketches to social networking sites.

Selector’s comment:

Minamiit, so I make sure the patterns and elements of the design align with my own tastes as much as possible. That said, I feel that to that end,“I AM MONSTER” strikes a nice balance between simplicity and meaning to the designer in its illustration. Adding a ruler to the top to increase functionality, and adding a tiny illustration to make the necessary stitching an inherent part of the design were all strokes of creative genius.

I feel it’s evident that the designer pictured something they themselves would use, and created an illustration with meaning to them.
Sure, it might not be the design of choice for every other person out there, but that’s part of what makes it fit the “Design your Sketchnote” theme so well.

(Kazushige Minami)

Ryoko Nagara

A book for sketching, feat. cats


Creator’s comment:
Well, it’s a book meant for sketching, so I decided to sketch my design.
It’s encouragement to channel your inner cat; be free and relaxed!

Selector’s comment:

rouiseidrianCute cats, simple design. Fantastic, I say! When I see that beautiful, delicate line work in its simple one-color palette, even I feel compelled to pick up a pen and sketch something out. Despite the feline abundance, the design never becomes too cluttered or over-crowded, making it spartan yet functional; just like SKETCHNOTE itself.

(Luis Mendo & Adrian Hogan)


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