The traditional grid calendar is a domestic device. It works well enough for scheduling weekly errands because Thursdays always fall in the same place. Time, on a hectic family scale, is less about long-term goals than short-term events.
The Linear Calendar, by Marke Johnson of The Made Shop, looks at time differently. It splits each month as its own line, placing twelve legible timelines into a year (a year that you always see), and it staggers each month to line up with the proper days of the week. Rather than focus on a month to the scale of the week, it focuses on a year to the scale of the month.
In doing so, it becomes a tool for shaping the big picture, from the long term goals that disappear one notch at a time, to the trip you’ve been saving for that occurs six months from now.
"My older brother and I used to talk about the idea that it can be harmful to think of time as circular or cyclical (i.e. repeating days, weeks, years) as opposed to linear, because for us it tended to encourage a sort of complacency in thinking: ‘Well, this week wasn’t so great, but another one just like it is coming up,’" Johnson tells Co.Design. "But when we reminded ourselves to think of time with a linear instead of circular metaphor, each day or span of time felt a bit more precious, fleeting, and important to use well."
If you think about it, the typical year-long calendar is useless. It’s really just the product of shrinking down each gridded month onto a single page. You can figure out which day the 18th falls on in four months, but you can’t make notations or mark events. It’s a product that’s simultaneously too small and too bulky to be of any use. "They’re also pretty ugly," Johnson adds.
Meanwhile, the Linear Calendar is extremely practical. Rather than sacrificing real estate to a grid of boxes that doesn’t scale, it builds in a more open white space to make notations. It’s an elegant, year-long template for all of your scribbles. And should you be interested in owning a 2012 Linear Calendar of your own, they’re available in 24″ x 18″ limited-edition letterpress for $15.
[Hat tip: bltd]