It’s fun to review things that stretch the boundaries of “notebook” a bit. The Notez notebook and Dayz planner certainly do that! They are made by an Austrian company called Less Thingz, who were kind enough to send me these samples.
At a glance, you can see that these have a unique format. The outside covers are a double layer of cardboard. There is no spine, and inside is an accordion fold-out made of a heavy-weight card stock. The size is 6 7/16 x 4″– shown below with a pocket size Moleskine for comparison. I love the look of the outsides– they are very precisely cut with a slot in one layer, perfectly sized for a rubber band to sit flat in, one on each side. At first I thought the ends of the rubber band were glued inside the cover, but it’s actually just held there by the sandwiching of the two layers, and will slide in either direction if you pull on it. The only branding is the tiny laser-cut Less Thingz name on one side. The colors I received I very understated and attractive. According to the website, lots of other colors are available for Dayz, but you can’t actually see what they look like. Notez only seems to come in one color at the moment. One thing I did notice is that the cardboard cover seems to be easily stained– in the closeup below there is a small mark, which I think came from setting it down on a dining table where there were some crumbs.
Inside, Notez comes with either blank or dotted paper. Dayz has a planner layout– the sample I received is an academic year calendar going from mid-September 2013 through the end of September 2014, but the only option on their website now is a January-December 2014 calendar. The pages are laid out with 7 equally sized days running across, and 2 weeks to a page/4 weeks to a view. At the end, there is a section of smaller blocks, 7 days across and 14 weeks per page, looking ahead through October 2015.
In the main section, each day has a dot grid pattern that would make it easy to divide the day into blocks of time, but the space for each day is pretty small, so unless you have microscopic handwriting, it can’t be used for a lot of detailed agenda items or notes. But it’s a nice, clean, 2-color design. The holidays listed are not international– only Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy.
I tested a few pens– the paper is so thick, even the Super Sharpie barely shows through. The paper is quite smooth, so my Uniball gel-ink pen worked well, but my Lamy Safari fountain pen seemed to skid and bead up a little, and took a long time to dry. It still smeared after at least 10 minutes of drying time– I wasn’t timing it, but it was long enough after that I was quite surprised not to find it dry.
The nice thing about this unique format is that you can use the two elastics to mark your place in the notebook while also holding it closed. For the planner version, they show how you can use it has a hanging wall calendar or a stand-up desk calendar or a pocket planner. The blank notebook would lend itself to all sorts of uses, including panoramic or sequential drawings.
I suppose my main concern with these notebooks is the durability of the rubber band. It’s nice and thick and unlikely to snap under normal usage, but rubber bands get brittle with age, and I think it would be impossible to replace the band without destroying the notebook. But otherwise, these seem durable, and the simplicity of the construction means there’s not too much that can go wrong.
What’s not to like? Nothing… except the price. Notez is €24, Dayz is €36. Ouch. That’s $32.71- $49.06 at current rates. These are well-crafted and well-designed, and “made in small quantities by hand,” according to their website, but I think that’s pretty steep pricing for a 32-page cardboard-covered notebook and a planner you can only use for one year. Shipping is an additional €3.00, or free if you subscribe to their newsletter. Less Thingz has also offered a coupon code to readers of Notebook Stories, but you’ll have to act fast as it’s a limited offer: the first 10 people to enter NTBKSTRSCM1 when checking out will get a 10% discount on their order.
I’m also giving away the Notez sample. One lucky winner will be chosen from entries received in these ways:
On Twitter, tweet something containing “Less Thingz” and “@NotebookStories”, and follow “@NotebookStories.”
On your blog, post something containing the words “Less Thingz” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this post.
The deadline for entry is Friday Feb. 14, 2014 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner.