In September of 1934, an iconic product was born in Rhône, France. This September, it celebrates its 80th birthday. Not a bad age for a simple stapled notepad, but Rhodia's classic head-stapled notepads are a bit special.
The Name: People from the area by the Rhône River in France were known as Rhôdaniens. These notepads from the same area were named Rhodia.
The Logo: Two fir trees symbolise the brothers, Henri and Robert Vérilhac, who founded the company. The story is that Henri's wife drew the logo quite spontaneously, and it represented them so well it has remained in use for 80 years.
The Style: A simple timeless design, but with a certain character to it - a very French combination that has remained unusual and distinctive ever since.
The Product: A stack of really good quality paper that works beautifully with fountain pens (as well as almost any other type of pen). Perforate each sheet at the top, so they tear off neatly. Add a card base, and staple through the top - one, two or three staples, depending on the size of the notepad. Add a simple shiny card cover in bright orange to protect the whole thing, attached such that the staples don't show on the underside to scratch desks, and score it so it folds nearly over the back in use. Perfect. So don't change it.
The company was originally "Papeteries Vérilhac Frères", and was founded in Lyon in 1932, selling notebooks and stationery across France and parts of Africa. In 1934, the brothers came up with the Rhodia pad, and a modern classic was born. The company was bought by another great French paper company, Clairefontaine, in 1997, and they have looked after the Rhodia brand and logo well. Rhodia notebooks are still made in France, and now sell in their millions, in 87 countries around the world, with a strong following of fans.
A Birthday Treat - Rhodia Ice: To celebrate, there is no cake, but there is a kind of icing. Rhodia are making a new version of the iconic pad. With a design this good, there's no point in changing too much about it, so they've just given it a new look on the outside, and a little change inside to fit in better with modern technology.
The outside cover is white, with the Rhodia name and logo printed in silver. The result is very clean, with the silver giving it a touch of celebration while remaining quite subtle.
The lines or squares inside are grey, instead of the usual purple. This makes them fade into the background a little easier to our eyes, but also makes them easier for scanner apps on smartphones and tablets to ignore. If you scan your notes with an app like Evernote, you should find them looking a bit cleaner with Rhodia Ice.
Update: The competition is now over - congratulations to Informal Scribble, Michelle C, TC D, Dmitris N and PenPaperJournal!
To celebrate the launch of Rhodia Ice, Rhodia have generously given us 5 black and orange Rhodia polo shirts to give away! To be in with a chance of winning one of these 'money can't buy' prizes, as well as two Rhodia Ice notepads, answer the question below before 24th August. The more creative, elaborate, or comical your answer is, the better!
"Rhodia sells in 87 countries around the world, but if you could be anywhere in the world with your Rhodia right now, where would you be?"
We'll select the best entries and notify the winners on 26th August (and check which size is required), before announcing the winning entries here and on our Facebook page.
16 June 2014