8 Plumb Questions and Answers

Tucker Nichols, drawing for "New York Times" Op-Ed pages

1.  How did the Plumb brand come about?
Knock Knock and Tucker Nichols were brought together through a mutual friend, someone who had been developing notebooks with Tucker and graphic designers Brett MacFadden and Scott Thorpe. Knock Knock had fallen in love with their designs, and when that project fell through, the mutual friend was kind enough to make the introduction. Tucker now wasn’t interested in doing just his own notebooks, but instead wanted to explore how other artists might envision notebooks from scratch, from form to function to aesthetic. Tucker and MacFadden & Thorpe, all based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Knock Knock, in Venice, forged a partnership around this concept.

2.  Why did you choose the name Plumb?
We like Plumb for its multiple meanings, both delving into something and finding the straight and true. The logo relates to the shape of lead weights, called plumbs, that are used by carpenters to indicate vertical rectitude. The name is also open enough to embrace potential products beyond notebooks.

3.  How does the Plumb collaboration work?
The Plumb team reviews potential artists for a season, starting with about twenty names. In choosing artists, we think about the balance within a season as well as across seasons. Once we’ve decided, things shift primarily to Tucker and MacFadden & Thorpe. They work with the artists to encourage and cull ideas, talking to them about how they use journals and their creative process overall. MacFadden & Thorpe takes these bigger concepts and translates them into graphic design, and we go back and forth reviewing and commenting (with Tucker and MacFadden & Thorpe collaborating with the artists all the while) until we’ve got final designs we all love.

4.  What are the Plumb artist Interview Cards?
Each notebook includes a bound-in informational, inspirational card. One side has a photo of the artist, his or her studio, or a piece of work, while the other side has an interview about his or her creative process and, sometimes, about that particular journal. We intend these cards to help the journals’ users get to know the artists as well as to share their creative approaches.

5.  How does Plumb select artists for consideration each season?
Our main goal is to present artists whose work will inspire users in different ways and show that there are many approaches to thinking and working creatively. We collaborate with successful working artists who want to rethink the journal format, creating pieces that are more than blank books with decorative covers. We also contemplate diversity, balance, and complementarity among the three artists who share a season. As Plumb evolves we’d like to work with other established creative folks: writers, musicians, and performers, all of whom sketch and document their work in different and unexpected ways.

6.  How will future Plumb releases work?
We will have two releases per year. The next Plumb release will be Fall 2014. To start, each season will include three artists, each doing three journals, though there are always exceptions—for example, Tucker Nichols has five journals in this release.

7.  Will you do products other than notebooks?
While we’re focused on journals right now, in the future we’d like to expand into new formats, likely paper products. One possibility would be to loop back to Plumb alumni for expansion while continuing to bring new artists to notebooks.