Notebooks are not something that are hard to find. There’s such a massive variety of brands and products around these days, that finding a notebook that suits your needs isn’t something that’s particularly difficult. However, there are those times when you want something custom, something unique; either to give as a gift, or keep for yourself.
You may be thinking, “Hold on, didn’t he already review this?”.
You’d be forgiven for thinking I’m duplicating my last post on Monsieur Notebook, but this one’s a little different. Since my last review, they have been trying to improve the look, feel, and overall quality of the notebooks, and got in touch with me to let me know that they’re bringing out a whole new range of “Soft Classic” leather-bound notebooks.
I came to a realisation today that I simply don’t have enough time in my life to review all of the notebooks I have in my shelf. It’s ridiculous really, an entire row of shelving is dedicated to over 100 notebooks and notepads of varying sizes. Some are common (Rhodia) and some are relatively difficult to find (Paperways, and some small brands), but they all need reviewing. Almost every notebook I own is unique and great in its own way, which really shows how much can be done with such a simple concept.
Anyways, this new series of posts will involve quickly reviewing three different notebooks in the one post. I thought I’d begin with some of my really unique journals in the first post, so let’s go.
Standard Number Color Pop Diary
Korea seems to churn out weird and whacky stationery as if it’s their primary export. This journal is no different. The cover is unassuming at first, just black with a faint grey grid on top and a color pop logo. It comes with a plastic sleeve to protect it too, which is nice, but all this stuff doesn’t really live up to the “color pop” in its name. However, this notebook is anything but boring once you look inside.
Time for a break from inexpensive pens and pencils from JustWrite, and onto some premium level notebooks with Japan-made Tomoe River Paper. These notebooks are the result of a collaboration between JustWrite and Olive and the Volcano Letterpress, meaning they are exclusive to JustWrite. Not only that, but they promise to deliver on a few lofty goals.
The first is an unbeatable writing experience for fountain pens, with silky smooth textured paper, high bleedthrough resistance, and no feathering. Alas, this is a goal many supposed “fountain-pen-friendly” notebooks have often failed to achieve. The second objective is to deliver this performance in a package that is thin and light, owing mainly to the thinness of the paper. 52gsm is the quoted weight value (note: Rhodia is 80gsm, copy paper is 70gsm), and this initially left me extremely skeptical of whether or not this paper could deliver on both these promises at the same time, as normally these two things would cancel each other out.
As it turns out, not only does this notebook range keep both promises, it does so in an exquisitely presented package that is certain to knock other brands like Field Notes and Moleskine clean out of the park.
Recently Monsieur Notebook got in touch with me to tell me about their company and what they do. After reading their story – just a couple of guys wanting to make awesome notebooks – I thought hey, this is the type of brand I can support. Monsieur Notebook is based in the UK and is run by Ed and Tom, two chaps wanting to get superb notebooks in the hands of creative people such as yourself, and heck they convinced me enough to give them a try!
I’ve been negative towards Moleskine notebooks for a very long time. They’re expensive, cheaply made, and low quality for the price you pay. Monsieur Notebook (I’ll call them MN from now on) are aiming smack bang at the Moleskine crowd with their line of leather (yes, REAL leather) notebooks in a variety of sizes and shades.
So they sent me a free sample to try out, but that got lost in the mail. They sent another out! That got lost too. Maybe my postman is stealing the notebooks for himself, but in any case they simply weren’t arriving. Rather than wait for ages for another to MAYBE arrive, I went ahead and bought one from Notemaker for a couple of reasons:
a. I really like MN’s brand philosophy and the way they do things.
b. I just finished university for another year and haven’t bought a notebook in a while!
So yeah, now I have one of their leather bound notebooks in my hands. This one is A5 size, which is my perfect compact notebook size, in red dyed leather (again, REAL FREAKIN’ LEATHER).
My next post will be a comparison between the MN and its closest competitors (in my opinion), the Moleskine and the Rhodia WebNotebook. I’ve been looking for another suitable alternative to Moleskines, how does MN stack up?