Fun Designs from Letternote

Letternote is a stationery company based in India. They have some very fun and colorful notebook designs, as well as more understated classic designs. Here’s a few that struck my fancy:

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A Brief History of the Journal

An interesting post about the history of journaling from Rossi 1931‘s Italian Stationery Blog, accompanied by a photo of one of their beautiful notebooks:

Journaling is not a modern phenomenon; there are recordings traced back to 55AD China. During the Renaissance period, the Western world began journaling regularly and the diary, began to have some literary value as the importance of the individual began to come to the fore. Ladies of the court in tenth century Japan used pillow books to record their dreams and thoughts with images and poetry. Throughout history, travel logs were also used as journals in both the Eastern and Western worlds. They were used to record details of places, people, navigational insights, botanical and other information. Since then it has often been used by the historian, not only as a supply of factual information, but as a picture of the daily life and personality of its writer.

Read more at A Brief History of the Journal.

Some Notebooks on Kickstarter

Here’s a few recent and in some cases still active Kickstarter notebook projects you might want to check out:


Stateside Co. Notebooks

Attractive design, but those intricate cut-outs on the cover will be trashed the first time you put the notebook in a bag or pocket. Deadline for funding is August 14, 2014. They’re already past their goal.


The Perfect Sketchbook for Travel Artists and Art Enthusiasts

“Perfect” is a big word to live up to, but this looks interesting. High quality paper and a few extra features not seen in other notebooks, such as a value chart. Grandluxe, whose notebooks I’ve reviewed before, will be a partner in manufacturing. I was intrigued enough to pledge $20. Deadline for funding is Thursday August 21, 2014. As of this writing, they’re at about $15,000 pledged towards a $50,000 goal.

The Sketchy Notebook

This was already successfully funded, well exceeding the initial goal. Nice concept– a notebook with plain paper that comes with a set of templates for different line and grid patterns. You slide them behind the page you’re using and the pattern shows through as a guideline. Does that mean the paper is too thin for a lot of pens? Perhaps, but this should appeal to a lot of people anyway.


Other past notebook projects I’ve funded:

LatLon Notebooks

Furrow Books

Both of these successfully exceeded their funding goals, but I haven’t yet received any notebooks to actually review. I hope they’ll be shipping soon!


Moleskine Monday: Spotted at Target

I stopped into a Target store the other day to see if there were any exciting notebooks to be found among all the back to school displays. Unfortunately, there was nothing all that enticing, but I did notice these unusual Moleskines, which must be made specially for Target. It’s not the first time I’ve seen or heard reports of Target-exclusive Moleskines…

The patterns are cute, but they only seem to come with lined paper. And they don’t look any better in terms of quality than other current Moleskines– clunky looking covers… Oh well!

Notebook Addict of the Week: Bee

This week’s addict blogs about creativity, and declares that she is “addicted to pretty notebooks.”

“So I was extremely excited to learn that I am not the only gal who has an overwhelming addiction to fancy diaries, journals, and notebooks. They can be plain, they can have beautiful covers, there can be lined, plain, and paper with monograms within. I enjoy both the bound books and the spiral kind. I have had this desire for fancy little books since a very young age. However the sickest part about this addiction is, they are all left blank! I’m serious, I buy and buy with great intention, and huge plans for these awesome little books. I just can not bring myself to write in the books.”

Read more at Addicted to pretty notebooks |

DIY Hybrid Notebook

Here’s a cool notebook hacking project. Inspired by the Midori Traveler’s Notebook, Kate Smith decided to make something similar. She took a Ryman hardcover notebook and swapped the inside pages out for some elastic bands to hold inserts, either Midori ones or Moleskine Cahiers. Should work with Field Notes and many others too. I really want to try making something like this…

Read more at studio-sweepings: I like the Midori Traveler’s Notebook so much I decided to make a small one….

Found via Casetteancira on Pinterest.

Review and Giveaway: Miro Notebooks

Miro has been around for a few years now, but their product lines have evolved since I last reviewed some Miro samples in late 2012. Let’s take a look at another generous assortment of more recent samples sent to me by the company:

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Miro’s hardcover journals at first glance seem very similar to many others on the market, but they do offer some nice variations, including colored page edges and different paper weights as seen below.

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I’ll be taking a close look at the pocket sized black notebook below. One immediate difference jumps out right away– Miro has chosen to make their pocket notebooks in a 3.25 x 5.5″ size, just a bit narrower than then standard size favored by most of the competition. Beyond that, the exterior of the notebook is pretty typical– small logo on the bottom back cover, but there’s also an additional stamped logo on the spine. The spine is a bit more rounded and soft than most Moleskines these days, which are more squared-off. I like the rounder spine, and I think it can tend to be less liable to tear at the corners. The notebook comes with a barcode sticker on the back, but it peeled off easily without leaving any sticky residue. The cover overhang is pretty typical– a bit more than I would like.

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Below, the Miro notebook is shown with a pocket size Moleskine for comparison. The narrower shape makes it a bit more pocketable, though many people may miss the extra writing space.

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Inside, you get a logo and a spot to write your personal details. This example also had a small tear in the front endpaper near the spine– it doesn’t affect the usability of the notebook at all but I was a little surprised it would slip through their quality control. The page layout is rather odd– a gap runs down through the lines near the spine on both sides, one line in the middle of each page is thicker than the others, and the top line of the page is dotted. (When I first reviewed Miro notebooks a couple of years ago, they had various options for plain and squared paper but now it seems that most of their notebooks come in lined only, except for the large size being offered in lined or plain.) But the double ribbon marker is a great feature, and I like that they are a bit thinner than usual.

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The pocket in the back is a bit different from most of the competition. Rather than an expanding pocket that runs the length of the cover, there’s just a small glued-on corner pocket where you can tuck a few things. And really, just a few– it’s a small pocket with a pretty tight little opening. A full sized pocket would have been more practical, and more attractive, as the current design allows the dark color of the cover to show through the endpapers.
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The paper held up pretty well with my usual pens. Show-through and bleed-through were about average– given that I was testing the 100 GSM paper, I would have expected it to perhaps perform even better, but paper weight isn’t everything. Fountain pen users should be very happy, though–both of mine went on smoothly with no bleed-through or feathering.

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I also tested the 90 GSM paper in one of the other notebooks (the larger one in the photos below). It’s definitely different– not quite as smooth, not as creamy a color. Definitely more show-through and bleed-through, though fountain pens still worked nicely. One benefit to the 90 GSM paper is that the fountain pens were totally dry when I swiped my finger across them after 5 seconds of drying time. On the 100 GSM paper, they were still wet and smeared at 5 seconds, taking more like 10 seconds to fully dry.

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I didn’t do a thorough review on the rest of the products, but they’re a nice variety of styles. Cahier-style stitched spine notebooks with chalkboard designs:

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Wooden and felt covered wire-bound notebooks:

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And even a bookmark:
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You can buy these and various other notebooks at the Franklin Mill website. Some are also available on Amazon, and in various local stationery shops, though unfortunately there is no retailer list on the website.

And of course I’m doing a giveaway for a lot of these extra samples! I’ll randomly select 4 winners from entries received in these ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “Miro Journal @thefranklinmill” and “@NotebookStories”, and follow @NotebookStories and @thefranklinmill.

On Facebook, “like” the Notebook Stories page and the Franklin Mill page and post something containing the words “Miro Journal” on the Notebook Stories wall.

On your blog, post something containing the words “Miro Journal and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this post.

The deadline for entry is Friday July 25, 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. Please allow a couple of weeks for me to check all the entries and determine the winners.

Moleskine Monday: The Voyageur Traveller’s Notebook

Here’s a new product from Moleskine that looks kind of cool: The Voyageur Traveller’s Notebook.
When I first saw it, I thought, “Wow, Moleskine’s trying to get a piece of the Midori Traveller’s Notebook action.”
There are lots of differences, but this new Moleskine is brown, which seems to be the most popular Midori color, and has a new trim size of 4×7″, which is smaller than the Midori, but a bit closer to its proportions than the usual Moleskine shape. (They say the size is “designed to store printed emails, itineraries and maps” though I’m not sure why 4×7 was considered the best size for that– a taller size would more easily hold anything printed on letter or legal size paper with just a fold or two.) Beyond that, the similarities are limited. The Moleskine has a cloth cover, which is a first. It comes with sections of different page formats– lined, plain, and dot grid, as well as some travel-themed stickers.


Find out more at Moleskine’s website. You can also pre-order it on Amazon, with stock due July 23, 2014: Moleskine Voyageur Traveller’s Notebook, Nutmeg Brown, Soft Cover

Notebook Addict of the Week: Dave Chow

Another sketchbook addict! This is quite a box-full!

“This is what four years of sketchbooks look like. It’s 25 lbs. (or just a touch over 11 kilograms for those of you on the metric scale). They’re all 5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ Handbook Journal Company Travelogue Series sketchbooks. In this box, there is 55 individual sketchbooks. Each sketchbook contains about 65 individual images for a grand total of 3575 drawings.”

Read more at Dave Chow Illustrations: Sketchbooks sketchbooks sketchbooks sketchbooks…. Be sure to check out the rest of Dave’s blog for some examples of his very amusing drawings!

Egyptian Notebooks That Look Like Videocassettes!

Fun idea: notebooks that look like old VHS tapes, from an Egyptian brand called Mokfera:

Read more at Mofkera notebooks colourfully combine old and new – Daily News Egypt.

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