Here’s a notebook that adds a splash of color to your life: Cool Notes, from the stationery and art book publisher TeNeues. The folks there were kind enough to send me some free samples to review and share with some lucky winners.
First of all, don’t you love the colors? The black notebooks are livened up by contrasting elastics, and other nice shades are available such as green, red, and blue.
The size of the pocket notebook is a bit smaller than a Moleskine and most of the other standard 3.5 x 5.5 notebooks out there– this one is about 3.5 x 5″. To me, this is a bit of a drawback, as I really do prefer that golden rectangle ratio, but others may find they like the smaller size. (Interestingly, they’ve just introduced top-opening CoolNotes reporter-style notebooks, and these are closer to 3.5 x 5.5″.)
The TeNeues logo is embossed on the back cover. The cover has a slightly smoother texture than some other notebooks, though you have to look very closely to notice any difference.
The photos above and below display my other major beef with these notebooks– there is a lot of overhang between the cover and page edges. Why do people do this? I find it really unpleasant, and it’s one thing that Moleskine always seems to do better than anyone else– their pages come very close to the cover edges. But again, this is my own personal prejudice and may not bother others. One other thing to note is that these notebooks have a very nice, neatly squared-off spine.
But now we come to the most fabulous thing about CoolNotes– the beautiful endpapers! Crazy colors and patterns that vary with the different color covers and different sizes. They’ve even made the back pocket out of the same pattern! I LOVE this– it’s like having a conservative suit jacket with a bright lining– a fun little surprise!
Inside the notebook, there’s an extensive info page at the beginning, followed by slightly creamy white pages, which are lined on the front, and blank on the back. The lines are finely dotted, and don’t extend to the edges of the page. This is a nice feature for those who often wish to have lined and blank pages for writing and drawing in the same notebook, but you’ll have to be careful what pen you use, as there can be some show-through.
As you can see from the pen tests below, most pens showed through quite a bit, though the paper feels nice and smooth with all of them and I didn’t notice any feathering. The fountain pen I tried seemed to dry fairly fast, and I also confirmed that the paper is acid free.
Bottom line: these might not be for everyone, and I personally won’t be using one as my daily notebook. But they’re well made and nicely designed, so if you don’t mind the smaller size, cover overhang and some show-through, the fun colors and patterns make these a great alternative to some of the more staid notebooks out there.
CoolNotes are available in small, medium, and extra-large, as well as new reporter-style small notebooks and City Journals. Suggested retail prices range from $8.95 to $19.95. They’re available direct from the TeNeues website (where they have lots of other great journals too) or at various stationery stores– unfortunately, they don’t seem to have a retailer listing on the website.
But of course you can also try to win one of the 3 notebooks I’ll be giving away to randomly selected readers who enter in any of these 3 ways:
On Twitter, tweet something containing the words “CoolNotes” and “@NotebookStories.”
On Facebook, “like” the Notebook Stories page and post something containing the word “CoolNotes” on my wall.
On your blog, post something containing the words “CoolNotes” and “NotebookStories” and link back to this post.
The deadline for entry is Friday January 7 at 11:59PM, EST.
Winners will be posted on Facebook and Twitter. Good luck everyone!