I usually find the stationery chain Papyrus to be pretty slim pickings as far as notebooks are concerned, but one day I happened to spot this little gem sitting all alone on a bottom shelf: the Leonardo Pocket Journal.
It’s kind of funny that it has a musical theme– I mean, why didn’t they call it the Wolfgang Journal, or the Ludwig Journal? Actually, there is a pretty good reason: the Italian company that makes it is called Leonardo Communication. But you’d think they might just put a DaVinci drawing on the cover instead of musical notes…
The packaging is more or less what we’ve come to expect: a paper band with the branding wraps around the notebook. Below is what it looks like without the band– I think they could have laid out the cover slightly better, perhaps– that white space running down the left side almost makes it look like it was misaligned and should have been on the spine.
The notebook is most comparable to a softcover Moleskine in size and general characteristics, as the cover is just stiff cardboard rather than boards wrapped in paper or oilcloth. The outside has a slightly ridgy texture, like some fine writing papers. The inside covers are totally blank, and I was surprised to discover there was no inside pocket, which seems like such a standard feature these days.
The coloring is fun: the elastic band is a sort of speckled blue, and the ribbon marker is bright red. And the inside pages are a recycled paper with a greyish color. The elastic is very tight– any tighter and it might warp the notebook.
My notebook was a bit stiff in how it opened, partly because of an extra blob of glue that held the spine together a bit more at one end. But even without that, this wouldn’t be the most flat-lying or flexible notebook, as you can see below. If you want a notebook you can keep in your back pocket, you’ll prefer the Book Factory notebook or a Moleskine. The Leonardo is much more stiff.
I didn’t have high hopes for the paper in this notebook– when I see that greyish or brownish tone and the word “eco-friendly” I assume the paper will be sort of rough and with the kind of soft surface that makes pens feather and bleed through easily. But although it’s not as smooth to write on as the Moleskine, Markings, Piccadilly, Rhodia and Clairefontaine notebooks I’ve been writing in recently, it’s not as rough and draggy as I feared it would be. More importantly, this paper is actually one of the better performers I’ve tried in terms of bleed-through.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this notebook. The look of it is a nice change from basic black, but it’s still understated and not too brightly colored, though of course this is a matter of personal preference. Not having a pocket is a drawback, though.
I’m not sure where these might be sold other than Papyrus– the manufacturer’s website was pretty uninformative. Let me know in the comments if you know of other retailers who sell these.
Price: $8.95 plus tax
Made in Italy by Leonardo Communication