Inspiring Designer: Denik

October 14, 2016 by Erin Behan

In an age of digital everything, it's nice to see a company that's focusing on the good old-fashioned notebook, even more so as this one has both an artistic and do-good twist.

Inspiring Designer: Denik
Denik (pronounced De-Neek) started in 2011 with a student's dream of shattering stereotypes and making a living out of art, while also making the world a better place. The student was founder and CEO Tyler Tolson, and his company puts emerging artists' work on the covers of its journals, notebooks and sketchbooks, returning a portion of the sale to the artist and donating a portion to help build schools in underserved areas of the world like Laos and Mali.

For a company that has its roots in a group of college students hawking books at concerts, parties, campus events, and farmers markets, it's come a long way in a very short time.

Inspiring Designer: Denik
The myriad of book covers Denik puts out — they've collaborated with more than 1,000 different artists — are colorful, eye-catching, thought-provoking, and inspiring. Artists who've been featured range from big names like the California-based Greg "Craola" Simkins (in a collaboration with Juxtapoz art magazine), whose surrealistic work references both classical and pop art, to relative unknowns like artist Liesl Cannon whose warm pieces focus on the natural world. Artists get their name and Instagram handle on the inside cover of every book.

These are notebooks that will get you noticed when you whip one out, whether it's for a 4 p.m. Friday staff meeting, for a 9 a.m. first-period class, or for drafting your novel at the local coffee shop. Follow Denik on Instagram for a peek at the latest designs.

Inspiring Designer: Denik
Brand manager Brett Reynolds says people who want to distinguish themselves artistically and who appreciate "louder and a little bit more fun designs" are the ones who gravitate to Denik notebooks. As do pen-and-paper junkies, he says, as all of the brand’s notebooks use high-quality, acid-free paper that doesn’t bleed through.

Denik has four basic designs, a 150-page softcover book, sized 5.25 by 8.25 inches; a 200-page hardcover book, also sized 5.25 by 8.25 inches; an 8 by 10.5 inch or 9 x 11 inch spiral sketchbook with 150 pages of thick, premium paper; the spiral book is also available lined. All notebooks are made from 75% recycled paper. And they're sold across the U.S. and in global markets including Canada, Mexico, Europe, South America, and Southeast Asia.

Inspiring Designer: Denik
The Denik design team seeks out artists of its choosing, but anyone can submit a sketch for consideration, and many of the final covers come in through blind submission. Artists receive anywhere from 2 to 5% of the sale price and get the satisfaction that those sales (5% of the gross profit) also help to build schools across the world.

Denik notebooks are for sale on its website, and they're often available at retailers like Michael's, Nordstrom's, and others. The company specializes in collaborations with big-name companies like Vans and Cartoon Network, both for sale and for use internally. Reynolds says that a special collaboration from start to finish, whether it's putting a logo on an existing product or coming up with a new design, can be produced "in a matter of weeks."

SHOP AT Distinct Papers.

Erin Behan

Written by Erin Behan

Erin Behan is an L.A.-based writer and editor who considers fine paper one of life's little pleasures.


Visit Distinct Papers to buy high-quality paper or card stock for your next project or to find the right copy paper, correspondence stationery and envelopes.


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