I don’t often go to Target, so when I recently did, I was excited to see what sorts of funky stationery they might offer. They had a nice section of colorful notebooks and office supplies, all at very reasonable prices. But of course, the items I purchased ended up being my usual plain black 3.5 x 5.5″ notebooks! It’s not as if I need any new notebooks right now– I have a huge backlog, enough to last for years. But here’s what I felt compelled to buy:
I’d never seen this brand of Cahier-like notebooks before, branded “Noted”. I like the faux crocodile cover, which seems sturdy and substantial, with a pocket in the back. Like many of these thin, no-elastic notebooks, the cover says open a bit, at least when it’s new.
And the paper is nice and smooth! It’s a bit more creamy in color than Moleskine paper, but the graph ruling is the same size. It felt great to write on it with roller ball pens, though there was more show-through than I’ve had with other notebooks.
At 64 pages, the notebook is thinner than the Moleskine or Kikkerland Writersblok equivalents, but the 3-pack was only $3.99, which is a great deal. They were also available lined, and in larger sizes, and in blue, red, and purple, and perhaps other colors I didn’t see, as there weren’t very many on the shelf.
Branded “Noted,” Distributed by Devrian Global Industries, made in China. I haven’t been able to find these on sale anywhere other than at Target.
Then I finally gave in and bought one of these Markings notebooks– I’d never been all that tempted by the lined ones I’d seen at Staples, which I thought looked a bit cheap, somehow. But the graph paper version was new to me, and more appealing, so I decided to give one a try.
For $6.69, I’m actually quite impressed. I was nervous that the stickers on the cover would leave a gummy residue, but they peeled off cleanly. I didn’t love the exterior stitching when I first saw these, but it’s kind of growing on me, as it lends a retro look. The elastic seems strong, though the holes it’s attached through are rather large, which I find a bit ugly. The usual features are included: a space in the front to write your name, a ribbon marker, and a pocket in the back.
The paper inside the Markings journal is almost as smooth as the Noted paper, way better than the Kikkerland Writersblok, as good or better than Piccadilly, and quite comparable to Moleskine in color and texture. The graph lines are exactly the same size as in a Moleskine, but they seem slightly sharper and darker. I liked the way it worked with all my favorite pens– it’s always a good sign when I start doodling on my test page! And show-through wasn’t too bad, maybe a little better than a Moleskine. I didn’t test this with a fountain pen, but according to some user comments at the Fountain Pen Network the Markings journals may work well with them, at least with some inks.
My only complaint is that the back pocket seems a bit odd–they may have placed it too close to the outside of the notebook, or maybe it’s just very thick in the corners in combination with the way the cover material is gathered when it wraps over the corners of the cardboard underneath.
The notebook says it “lays flat when open,” and though it’s still a bit stiff from lack of use, it does seem to open quite wide without any separation of the first and last signatures.
The cover texture is a little shinier than a Moleskine– it’s supposed to be made of “bonded leather,” which they say is “80% genuine cowhide fibers and 20% non-leather materials.” I don’t know how that Frankensteinish concoction is assembled, but it looks nice enough on the notebook– a little shinier than most Moleskine-type notebooks I’ve tried, at least in its brand-new state. And it actually has a trace of that yummy leather smell.
All in all, a pretty nice product at a great price– I never thought I’d say this after my own initial impressions and Black Cover’s disparaging review, but I think I’ll try this one as my next daily notebook.
192 pages, branded Markings by C. R. Gibson, made in China. If you can’t find them at your local Target (where they are $6.69), the manufacturer sells them for $5.72 online, and shipping costs for multiple units may work out to be reasonable.