Remember the tiny little notebook from this post? I contacted the company that makes it, and they were kind enough to send me some products to review– more traditionally sized ones!
Presign International is based in the Netherlands, and they make a variety of stationery products including notebooks. The samples I received are from their PSN and Flash lines of Moleskine-like notebooks. I say “Moleskine-like” because that’s become the standard, but actually, these reminded me somewhat more of the Pen & Ink Sketchbook, or in some ways, the Rhodia Webnotebook. As you can see from the photos below, these have the same 3.5 x 5.5″ format as most of the notebooks I’ve reviewed, but they’re slightly thicker than a Moleskine, similar to the Webnotebook (the orange notebook in photos below, underneath the squared Moleskine at right).
I love the colors they sent me– I know the white would probably get dirty with day to day use, but there’s still something very cool about it.
The black and white PSN notebooks have a slightly textured cover just like the Pen & Ink Sketchbook– almost identical to Moleskine or Piccadilly, but just slightly softer, somehow. The orange and blue “Flash” notebooks have a smooth, matte-textured cover– the texture is hard to describe, but it’s almost similar to a wetsuit. Inside, the PSN and Flash notebooks seem exactly the same, so I’m just showing the Flash. They have the standard features: a ribbon marker and an expanding back pocket. The inside front cover is totally blank.
The binding feels a little stiff when you open it, but both notebooks lie quite flat when opened all the way.
Instead of the typical embossed logo on the back cover, these notebooks have the branding stamped on the front. The back is totally plain. As you can see in the photo below, one of the notebooks has a contrasting color elastic cord rather than the usual flat ribbon– I quite liked this little detail, though the flat elastic might be more practical. Like the Rhodia Webnotebook, the slightly padded cover gets a little dented by the elastic.
Below is a comparison of the graph paper in the orange notebook (top) with a squared Moleskine (bottom). The PSN notebook has slightly darker, sharper lines.
In testing my usual pens, I found that the paper performed pretty well, about the same as a Moleskine, and maybe with a tiny bit more showthrough than a Piccadilly. It’s very smooth and pleasant to write on with my favorite pen, the Uniball Signo RT 0.38– I’d say it’s very comparable to Moleskine or Piccadilly or the Markings journal I was using recently and only slightly falls short of the ultimate smoothness of the Clairfontaine/Rhodia paper. The Pilot Varsity fountain pen I tried feathered very slightly.
The blue notebook has heavier weight sketch paper with a bit of texture to it– pens barely show through at all. It also seemed to work nicely with watercolors, holding up well without much buckling.
Overall, I think these notebooks are quite nice– I personally tend to prefer something that feels slightly more slim and sleek, as I mentioned when reviewing the Rhodia Webnotebook and the Pen & Ink Sketchbook. The thicker covers give a feeling of quality and permanence, but that ever so slight extra bulk can just make them feel a bit less pocketable. But if that doesn’t bother you, you’ll probably be happy with the paper and the rest of the features.
The PSN notebooks shown here retail for around €4.95, and the Flash notebooks are €3.95. These are said to be A6 size, which is supposed to be 4.133 x 5.826″ but the actual measurements of the notebooks are approximately 3.5 x. 5.5″. Both styles are also available in other sizes.
The graph notebook has 192 pages of 80 gram paper. Lined and plain versions are also available.
The sketchbook has 80 pages of 150 gram paper.
Made in China.
For readers in the US, the biggest drawback to these notebooks is that you can’t buy them! They are available in the Netherlands and some European countries, and a few other places with Dutch ties such as Aruba. For more info and a list of retailers, please visit Presign International. But if you want one in the meantime, you can enter the GIVEAWAY!
I’ll be picking a random winner to receive the black PSN Sketchbook (heavy unlined paper). Here’s how you can enter:
- Follow me on Twitter @notebookstories AND post this message as a Twitter update: Win a cool notebook this week @notebookstories http://www.notebookstories.com
- If you have a blog, write a post linking to this review and email me your blog post URL at firstname.lastname@example.org
The deadline for entry is 5pm EST on Friday October 30. I’ll announce all the winner next week. Good luck!