Sketchbook App

Journal, the newest app in Morpholio’s bag of tricks, puts a digital notebook in the hands of creatives. The New York–based design studio continues to digitize design tools, adding Journal to predecessors Trace, Board, and Crit, A combination of sketchbook, notebook, and photo organizer offers functionality with the added performance of a digital product that exists in the Cloud, and off the drawing board.

Image courtesy of Morpholio

Journal users can add an unlimited number of virtual pages to the app on which to sketch, paint, type notes, or scrawl annotations with a stylus or their fingers. They can upload and draw directly over an existing image file, such as a photograph or project detail. Add-ons will transform along with the original file.
Users can swipe through the pages of their sketchbook to reference an idea and track its progression. Toru Hasegawa, co-director of the Cloud Lab at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation and co-creator of Morpholio, says the ability to revisit sketched ideas is what distinguishes Journal from existing apps. Journal goes beyond the singular output to achieve “no end to a drawing,” he says. In Hasegawa’s words, “Journal is an idea-think app. We want to keep the ideation there and keep it messy.”
Designed to support how our brains process information, Journal adopts a highly responsive, page-turning navigation. Scrolling through pages horizontally, as with the iPhone’s photo library, or vertically, such as with a PDF document, is inefficient. Journal proposes “in-place picture replacement”, where images flash before a user’s eyes and the backdrop stays still, allows them to register up to 15 images per second and to give free reign to the imagination.
The free Journal app comes with a digital brush, pen, and eraser; other writing implements (including a highlighter, charcoal, and Chinese wax pencil), page types, and color palettes are available as in-app purchases.
Users can post page spreads to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The Morpholio team is working on adding the abilities to share an entire journal, to print pages or the entire book, and to search through journal contents. This app is an opportunity for those who resolve to keep a journal but never do. Ideal for designers, architects, photographers, artists, travelers, or members of any creative culture – the unique book interface gives instant navigation through thousands of pages, unlocking potential and new ways of seeing. Users can keep track of everything, experiment, and play. “You can literally live your whole life not making any mark,” Hasegawa says. “If there’s nothing to look back on, did you exist?”