Necessity is still the mother of invention — at least in the case of usem. Creator Gijs de Werker was seeking note cards the size of a credit card, but couldn’t find them. “That was a trigger for me to design them myself,” the Dutch designer told me. “What could be more logical than a solid note card that fits perfectly in your wallet or phonecase?”
But Gijs didn’t just want the cards to be handy or convenient — they’re also meant to be a feast for the eyes. To me, they marry the cozy nostalgia of a library card catalog with the unflinching demands of modern lifestyles. Tuck one in beside your technology or money, and you’ll never forget that appointment or errand again. Choose from a pleasing pale orange or dreamy sea green, and lined or unlined versions — as well as my personal favorite, a doodle-friendly time design. The paper is of a nice, thick quality, culled from FSC-approved, responsibly managed forests. Envelopes are sold separately, and Gijs also offers streamlined wooden boxes to keep everything tidy on your desk. Otherwise, they’re enclosed in cute little paper boxes.As you shop, keep in mind that the prices you see include a 21% VAT(Value Added Tax) that only applies to European Union orders. So, the prices you’ll pay once you check “United States” in the cart break down like this: 50 cards: €6.20 (about $7.30); 10 envelopes: €2.40 (about $2.85); card box €7.02 (about $8.30). If your order is under $75, expect to pay about $12.40 for shipping. Gijs told me he likes to “underpromise and overdeliver,” so don’t be surprised if your order arrives with a little something extra!