5,000 Days of Beginnings: The Journals of Ken Carbone

While working on the signage for the I.M Pei expansion at the Louvre in the late 1980’s, I was shown some of Paul Gauguin’s journals in the museum’s collection. They contained drawings, personal letters, collages, paintings and were visually spectacular. These revealed Gauguin’s private life and were not meant for public view. That made the experience even more memorable. It was like seeing buried treasured. 

From that moment, I was inspired to start keeping my own journals. The books I've kept over the past 25 years are a chronicle of life, art, the times we live in, a collection of ideas and obsessive experimentation. Ordinarily, my work in these books has no commercial purpose. However, once I put something on a page, it is "locked" in my mental database of inspiration and often resurfaces at the just right time for the right project.

I consider my collection of journals as “5000 Pages of Beginnings" nothing finished, nothing too precious. On occasion I'll use these books to sketch out a specific design concept for a client. I like to challenge myself to find a solution to a problem within a single two-page spread to capture the essence of an idea. This constraint is both terrifying and exciting. 

Take a peek at Ken's journal collection on his Instagram page here and be sure to check out this video from Fast Company!

About Ken Carbone:

Ken Carbone is a designer, artist, musician, author, teacher, and blogger for Fast Company. He says he can’t spell, can’t type and only learned to swim after he turned fifty. He’s never won an Oscar, never watched the Simpsons, and secretly loves opera. He is the Chief Creative Director of the Carbone Smolan Agency, a design and branding firm in New York City. Their client list includes: W Hotels, Canon, Mandarin Oriental Hotels, Boston Consulting Group and the Musée du Louvre. Carbone, along with his partner Leslie Smolan, are recipients of the 2014 AIGA Medal for design distinction. The agency’s work is widely published and is recognized for excellence worldwide. When he is not doing all of the above he enjoys playing the guitar very loud.

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