José Naranja is a Spanish aeronautic engineer who left his job to start travelling the world, and who has been living a nomadic life for 13 years. Ever since he started this adventure, he has been keeping journals with highlights of his trips, as well as information, curiosities and ideas that cross his mind. He initially bought Moleskine pocket notebooks, and now binds them himself.
José combines perfectly all the elements with ephemera from his trips around the world, especially stamps, and packages them on little containers in the form of a notebook. As he writes, his ink pen “contains the lovely words [he] will dedicate to you, new ideas, dreams, equations, notes and experiences [he] can’t even imagine now.” (Naranja, 2018)
With a dozen notebooks finished and over 190.000 Instagram followers, José is able to keep travelling the world with a backpack and his writing gear. His beautifully designed spreads are thoughtful and cohesive, and he plays with elements throughout, like an orange circle, that make the whole notebook a piece of art. “Joining orange dots here and there a curve is shown as I planned” (Naranja, 2017)
José does not consider himself an illustrator, a graphic designer or a writer, but he thoroughly blends a multitude of elements on the pages. He calls what he does “to notebook”, as a verb (from the Spanish “cuadernear”). As a finished container piece, José scans his original notebooks and reprints a selection of spreads to sell on a unique, hand-bounded version that anyone can buy and keep as a small part of his memories: The Orange Manuscript.
Check out more on his Instagram page