For the past few years, around this time, I’ll start stocking up on my planners for the next year. I’ll usually go to Fishpond, because they do have free worldwide shipping and I find the prices quite reasonable. Occasionally, like this year, I also come across an unannounced sale, which meant picking up my 2015 Moleskine and a dotted Moleskine for half the usual price.
I also stumbled across this little gem, the Matte Black Dot Grid Notebook by Everyday Carry Notebooks, which is one of the brands carried by ProductiveLuddite.com. Intriguing. I like the size, and I like the concept, and so I added it to my shopping cart.
It took a while to get to me. (Note to self: October is a bad month for shipping your online shopping) When it did, I was quite pleased with it at first.
I liked it for the size, 5×8, which is just a tad smaller than the large Moleskine, my favourite size.
The cover is, as they say, is Matte Black. It’s not leather or anything, just a thicker paper. What’s nice is that it has an amazing soft leathery feel to it and makes it feel good to run your hands over it. There is a tendency for it to crease though. You can see just a smidge of a crease in the above picture, which was caused by rough shipping and handling.
The inside pages are cream-coloured, very similar to Moleskines. The site states the paper as 60-pound weight, but I have no idea how to convert that to gsm. From feel, I’m guessing it’s just in between 80-100gsm, just a taaad thicker than Moleskines.
There are a few components to the inside pages, which makes it useful for, say, a productive luddite :).
- A very succinct title page for your contact details, and when and where you started and ended the journal (nice touch).
- An Index or contents page, reminiscent of the Leuchtturm 1917 journals
- A few very interesting pages, where you can keep a list of tags a la Evernote, or most other productivity apps
- And 100 pages of dotted / grid cream-coloured paper (they’re numbered!)
The quality of the paper, while reasonably ok, is definitely not meant for fountain pen use, as you see below. There’s only a tiniest bit of feathering with medium or stub nibs. It’s also not the smoothest of papers. There’s no bleed thankfully, although the show through does make the next page rather unusable, unless you use ballpoints, gels or light fountain pens/inks. I didn’t test any other gel pens or ballpoint pens, as I assume those will pass with flying colours.
I was a bit dismayed at the printing though. In the pictures, it’s not too clear, but you can see some patches of dots are distinctly lighter than others. It happens every 5-6 pages, so I assume something went wrong with the machine or ink during the production run. But even the About EDC Notebooks page suffers, and when your branding page suffers, that’s a big no-no.
Speaking of no-nos: It doesn’t lie flat. You can see very clearly, in almost every photo, that either my fingers or my phone are keeping the notebook open. Oh sure, you can just flatten the pages down, but that creates a rather ugly white wrinkly crease in the cover, and the notebook just won’t close entirely flat after that.
I don’t know anything about the company ProductiveLuddite.com, other than it has a number of journal/notebook collections.
The EDC notebook collection alone has heaps of options, so I’m sure stationery addicts will have a good time going through the site. Those YoungHusband travel journals are intriguing!
I do like their little mission of Buy A Book, Plant 10 Trees..
Do I like it? Yes I do! Would I buy it again? Unfortunately, maybe not.
I like a lot of things about it, it’s light, the dot grid, the soft-touch matte black cover (more to my taste than the continually changing Field Notes, dare I say) and I love the concepts behind the company. It’s a fantastic EDC, but it’s just too expensive for continual usage.
It’s priced at ~US$9.50 on their site and on Amazon. On Fishpond, it’s S$19.80 right now, although when I ordered it, it was S$9.70. I’m not keen to pay S$20 (even including shipping) for such a small journal that isn’t even fountain pen-friendly. I mean I can get FP-friendly Japanese notebooks at Tokyu Hands for about S$16. If you are in the US though, I think it’s pretty reasonable, and I think more people should know and start using these notebooks, considering their environmentally friendly concept.
I like the one I have, and am planning to use it as a brain-dump, seeing as it’s nice and light for everyday carry. But, and it is a pity, I’ll probably not be buying another one in the near future (unless there’s a sale!).