The Idea Dock is an exclusive collaboration between Dudek Modern Goods and Nock Co. It is made by hand of solid walnut and retails for US$50.00. Designed to use in conjunction with Nock Co.'s DotDash 3 x 5 note cards, the Idea Dock is a sturdy, yet elegant notecard holder. Crafted to include a card slot for presenting a single card, it also includes a large storage slot to hold more than 50 additional cards, plus a large curved notch up top to rest a pen, pencil, or marker.
The Idea Dock consists of three materials: solid walnut, felt, and adhesive. The primary material is the walnut. It provides classic wood character with plenty of grain and a nice warm brown hue. The walnut is sturdy and very smooth to the touch. The felt is only used for four small "feet" at the bottom of the dock. Adhesive holds the felt to the walnut. The simplicity of the materials list allows the richness of the walnut to come through and keeps the focus of the dock on it's designed utility: to present a notecard to focus on and provide easy access to additional notecards and a writing instrument as needed.
If there is a letdown with the Idea Dock, it is the packaging. It is a very minor letdown at that, but you do not realize the elegance of the dock until after you unwrap it. The Idea Dock ships in a standard brown box. Wrapped simply in bubble wrap, there is no product-specific package or wrap. The bubble wrap is more than sufficient for protecting the walnut dock. Ideally, I think the unboxing experience would benefit from a simple wrapper, perhaps just thick packing paper or tissue paper, closed off with a simple branded sticker.
The Idea Dock, as a whole looks simple, yet sophisticated. The rich brown tones of the solid walnut combine with the overall rectangular cube shape to give the piece a solid, hefty look, like something you would expect to find on a professional's desk in the 1950s. From what Nock deems the front of the dock, you are greeted with a single wall of wood with the Nock logo debossed into the wood in the lower right corner. The front wall measures 4 7/16 inches across, 2 21/32 inches high, and 2 15/16 inches deep. The wood front hovers 1/8 of an inch off the surface thanks to four felt "feet" attached to the bottom of the dock.
From different angles, you will be able to see the stack of waiting cards jutting out from one or the other (or both) sides of the large storage slot in back. With the single card slot cut into the wood just 15/32 of an inch from the front of the block, whatever card(s) you place in the slot will be highly visible. This is the essence of the design: to be able to focus on a single idea or a short list written on the index card resting in the single card slot. The idea dock nails this execution. With a simple wood front, your focus should naturally gravitate to the lighter, brighter card held in the slot above.
The single card slot
Set back 15/32 of an inch from the front of the dock, and 2 3/8 inches from the back, the single card slot runs the entire 4 7/16 inch width of the dock. The slot is 3/16 of an inch deep and 3/32 of an inch wide. Cut straight across the dock, the single card slot offers enough depth to allow a notecard to lean either forward or backwards. As such, you can turn the dock around so that the large storage slot faces forward and still have the notecard presented out.
Inside the slot, there is a small angled groove that allows for cards to face either way. By placing a card in front of the groove, the card will face whatever way the dock faces. Placing the card behind the groove makes the notecard angle up towards the back side of the dock.
The single card slot is long enough to hold standard notecards in landscape orientation. The width of the card does not matter here because the slot is cut from end to end; there are no stoppers, caps, or walls at the end of either side of the single card slot. You can also place notecards in portrait orientation in the single card slot. The slot is deep enough for the card to still stand up as the cut allows for the card to use the rear wall of the slot for support.
The primary design of the single card slot may be for just one card, but you can push its use further. It is simple enough to stand two cards up at the same time in either orientation. This could be useful for referencing two separate, but related, lists at the same time.
The large storage slot
From the back, the large storage slot is cut at a small down angle. The slot is 11/16 of an inch tall and 2 1/8 inches deep. It is cut all the way across the 4 7/16 inch width of the dock. Comfortably holding a complete 50 pack of DotDash notecards, the large storage slot features a clever series of grooves cut into the back wall to make it easier to pull cards from the large slot without removing the entire stack. There are ten small grooves, each less than a millimeter deep. The grooves blend into the dock, making them hard to notice at first glance and near impossible to see when the slot is full.
Notecards rest in the large storage slot facing up and out. Since the dock is 4 7/16 inches wide, notecards will protrude from each side of the large storage slot in addition to sticking out from the front of the slot (back of the dock). The wide opening of the slot makes it easy to fill with additional cards. The weight of the dock allows the slot to fill without concern for tipping over.
With the dock facing forward, it is easier to grab cards from either side of the large storage slot than it is from the back of the dock. As such, I prefer to reverse the placement of the dock on my desk, so that the large storage slot faces me. It provides quicker access not only to the large storage slot, but also to the pen rest, while still providing a clear view of the card standing in the single card slot.
The pen rest
Between the single card slot and the back edge of the top of the Idea Dock, there is a pen rest cut out from the wood. The concave cutout is 3/4 of an inch wide and 1/8 of an inch deep in the middle. The pen rest runs the entire 4 7/16 inch width of the dock and starts 21/32 of an inch behind the single card slot and ends 15/16 of an inch from the back side of the dock. Since the pen rest is cut edge to edge, you can place any length pen on it. The only limitation to pen sizes is in girth. Any pen with a diameter larger than the width of the pen rest will not fit in the cutout itself, but rather lay over it. It would take an abnormally large pen or marker to not fit.
Designed to hold a single writing instrument, the curved pen rest is smooth to the touch. The depth of the cutout prevents most writing instruments from rolling off the pen rest in spite of it's rounded shape. The cutout provides additional depth to the dock since there is no color on the dock besides that of the natural walnut. When facing forward, the pen rest hides behind the single card slot, so if there is a card standing in the slot, then access to the pen requires a bit more effort. When the backside of the dock faces forward, the pen rest is always within easy reach.
Dudek leaves no detail unattended to with the Idea Dock. This includes the bottom. Never visible in use, the bottom still serves the dock well with four felt circles attached near the corners of the underside. The Dudek Modern Goods logo is centered between the felt circles.
The felt circles serve as "feet" for the dock. Attached by adhesive, each "foot" is 1/2 of an inch in diameter and 1/8 of an inch tall. The brown felt feet are placed approximately 1/4 of an inch from each corner. The feet provide not only the utility of preventing scratching between the wood dock and whatever surface you place it on, but they also provide a nice, slight hover effect by raising the dock slightly off of the surface it is placed on. A small shadow forms under the dock from light above to enhance the slight hover effect.
Utility (in use)
The Idea Dock serves its purpose well. Be it a task list or an inspiring quote, having a single notecard front and center can help create focus. If you use notecards for planning, brainstorming, or other routines, having easy access to a healthy stack of them is simple with this dock. It's an elegant luxury that provides specific utility well.
While I understand having the large card slot and pen rest hidden behind the single card slot is the original intention of the design to help focus on the single card standing in the slot, for my use, reversing the dock provides greater utility. I can still see the card standing in the single card slot while having slightly easier access to my pen and extra notecards with the back of the dock facing forward. The hidden grooves in the back of the large storage slot make it even simpler to quickly grab a card or two to jot down an idea or note. The pen rest is stable enough to hold a pen in place, but smooth enough to quickly pick up the pen when needed.
The Idea Dock stays out of the way to allow for mindless access to the tools it holds. The dock itself may be elegantly simple in materials and design, but where it really shines is in how easy it is to use.
Built around the use of notecards, the Idea Dock works with just about any readily available notecard type and brand. Of course, Nock Co. offers their own version of notecards. Named DotDash, for the simple dot and dash pattern printed on both sides of the card, Nock's notecards are sufficiently thick (80-pound cover stock), neatly printed, and a joy to write on. The dot-dash pattern creates 4.25 millimeter squares. The pattern is subtle, but still noticeable. Available with either an amber (yellow-orange, Pantone 143) or lime green (Pantone 366) dot-dash pattern, the cards measure 3 by 5 inches and come in sealed packs of 50 for US$6.00 per pack.
In my use, the DotDash cards handle most inks and leads well. They perform far better with ink than typical office supply notecards. The cards are sturdy and smooth and look good resting on the Idea Dock. They stand up easily in the single card slot and are easy to put in and take out of the large storage slot. While any notecard will work with the Idea Dock, I recommend DotDash cards for their quality and design.
You can fit 8 DotDash cards in the single card slot and 61 DotDash cards in the large storage slot. At that point, the cards will stay firm in the slots and you can even turn the dock upside down, and the cards will stay put.
- Solid build, elegant design
- Looks great facing forward or backward
- Promotes a simple workflow centered around the use of notecards
- Easy to use — no set up required
- Packaging is underwhelming
Who is this for
The Idea Dock could fit into a variety of daily uses revolving around the use of notecards.
- For philosophers, lyricists, and others who use words for inspiration,the Idea Dock is a great piece to help display a featured quote, word, or phrase.
- For businesspeople, the Idea Dock can help with project management, task lists, or even quick notes to reference throughout the day.
- For educators, the Idea Dock can provide motivation or reminders to students.
- For retailers, the Idea Dock could help promote something for sale or provide information at checkout.
- For home use, the Idea Dock can help you maintain a running grocery list or leave notes for family or visitors.
If you use notecards, then the Idea Dock has the potential to fit into a variety of workflows. It looks great, stays put, and is easy to use.