⟨ Misc ⟩

The Survey Field Notebook

A Durable Design

Words and Photography / Ron Lam
Translation / Iris Heung

在書店發現「測量野帳」的筆記本時,感到驚異不已。售價才200多日元的小本子,封面是硬皮的,墨綠的凹凸花紋紙上,熨了金色的本子名字。紙張是較為厚的,平滑而堅挺。釘裝採用了穿線的方式,手工非常仔細,感覺很紮實。究竟為甚麼一本廉價卻造工出色的本子,是為誰造的呢?

「測量野帳」由為人熟悉的Campus筆記本製造商Kokuyo生產,早在1959年便推出市面。推出前的十年,即1949年,日本更改了測量法,工程地需要在工地裡做更多的紀錄,Kokuyo於是開始著手研究,期望製作出一本耐用的、方便站著抄寫,而又能收在口袋裡以便携帶的筆記本,「測量野帳」便應運而生了。

由推出至今的五十多年裡,紙質改善了,但除此以外,設計始終如一。在設計推陳出新以吸引顧客注意的營銷潮流裡,「測量野帳」的存在,更見彌足珍貴。

I was almost astonished to come across this survey field notebook in a bookshop. This little notebook that costs only around 200 yen has a dark green hardcover, printed on it is the words “LEVEL BOOK” in gold. The paper in the notebook is comparatively thick, smooth and sturdy. Featuring a very solid sewn binding, the manufacturing technique is of an observably high quality. Why is this well-made notebook sold at such a low price? Who are supposed to be the target customers?

The survey field notebook was produced by Kokuyo, the notebook manufacturer behind the hugely popular Campus notebook. It was first sold back in 1959. Ten years before the birth of this notebook, Japan enacted the Surveying Law in 1949. Practitioners of the industry were then required to provide a more detailed documentation of the construction field. Seeing the demand for a durable and portable notebook, Kokuyo began to work on producing the pocket-sized survey field notebook.

The paper quality has been improved over the years, otherwise, the notebook nowadays is exactly the same as how it was first sold 50 years ago. In this society where new products are constantly launched to attract the curious customers, the unchanged survey field notebook is of an invaluable existence.