The famous Moleskine notebooks have been a favorite of artists, writers, and travelers for drafting ideas, and capturing inspirations and musings. But what is a company to do when it sees the shift taking place from paper notebooks to digital writing apps? Well, it develops its own digital notebook. And that’s exactly what Moleskine has done with it’s new Moleskine Journal for iPad.
This revised Moleskine Journal is actually replacing its first app released last year. The old app will be removed from the iTunes Store at the beginning of September. The Moleskine Journal seeks to mirror the style, feel, and purpose of the paper journals, with of course some features you will never get in the analogue versions.
Design and Features
As classy as Moleskine paper notebooks are, they are not cheap. But you will be happy to know that the Moleskine app is completely free. The app opens with six default notebooks, including Plain, Ruled, Squared, Weekly Planner, Story Board, and Passion Recipe. Each sits on a white and brown bookcase design.
If you tap the Library button on the top-left of the menu bar, it will put notebooks in a stack display, which I find conveys the feel of a stack of paper notebooks. You can delete, add, or change the purpose of the notebooks. When you tap the + button, you can create a notebook with its own title, paper style, and band color.
Tapping on a notebook opens to the first page where you find features and tools for both writers and artists, including the Moleskine style pencil, paintbrush, highlighter, and block eraser. Because this app is both a drawing and text notebook, you need to be sure to tap the Artist Toolset or the Text tool button in the menu bar to add content in either mode.
As a writer, I particularly like that the font styles, size, and color of text can be changed within the app. The default font, I believe is RotisSanSerif, but Moleskine includes just about all the fonts you’d find in the OS X Font Book. You can easily change the size of a font by using the slider above the built-in keyboard. Text can also be formatted for left, right, or center alignment.
The range of artistic tools for the Moleskine Journal may not be as wide as some of the most advanced drawing apps in the iTunes Store, but they seem to fit the traditional purpose of a Moleskine notebook. It features a color picker, opacity slider, and cream-color paper backgrounds found in the paper notebooks.
You can also tap on the Moleskine Inner Pocket and add photos from either your iPad Photo Library or ones that you snap with the built-in camera. From there you can slide photos onto the page, and resize and move it around. This feature of the Journal though, I found, is buggy and not as smooth as it needs to be.
There are several ways to edit content in the pages, including using an eraser and scissor tool which will cut out anything on the page, including typed text and photos. The scissor tool works faster for getting rid of junks of content. You select the scissor tool (in the Artistic Tools palette), draw around the content you want to edit, tap and hold inside the space and select the pop-up to cut, delete, copy or Pocket the selected item.
The Pocket selection puts whatever you select in the side Inner Pocket of the app, which can be used like a digital clipboard. To edit anything on a page, you will need press down on the content to bring up the pop-up menu bar for copying, deleting, editing, moving, lifting, and Pocketing content. There’s also undo and redo buttons that you will probably use a lot for artistic drawings.
The Moleskine Journal includes many of the export and sharing features that you might expect in an app like this. You can export pages to email, Evernote, Facebook and Twitter. Pages shared to your social networks get captured and attached as an image file. You can also backup content to your Dropbox account.
Overall, Moleskine is a pretty useful writing and drawing app. In its first release there are some performance bugs, and the app sometimes crashes during the editing selection process. I’m sure the developers will address those problems in upcoming updates. The developers have also posted a list of additional features they’re working on for future updates.
If you’ve ever been a Moleskine notebook user, and now you’re an iPad user, then you will probably want to give the digital journal a try. Let us know what you think of it.
For other digital journal ideas, check out these reviews: