This notebook happened to be included as part of a lot of notebooks that I bought on eBay. I’d never heard of the Foray brand, and it didn’t look like anything all that exciting, but I’m always happy to try yet another plain black pocket notebook!
It turns out that Foray is made for/by Office Depot. I don’t have any Office Depot stores near me, so I’d never hear of it. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to sell this exact notebook on their website anymore– it’s still listed but shows no availability or pricing info. A similar larger size Foray notebook is still available at only $10.99 so the smaller one was probably pretty cheap.There are so many “Moleskine clone” notebooks out there– big retailers like Walmart or Office Depot probably just get the same few Chinese factories to slap their own branding on a generic notebook. And yet I’ve found that these store brands are not necessarily all identical. I’m sure each retailer is negotiating their own balance of unit cost vs. quality and features, and each factory may do things slightly differently, so there are more variations than you’d think.
As usual, the Foray notebook has many features that are exactly like those of most other notebooks– 3.5 x 5.5″ size, 192 pages, black faux-leather cover, elastic closure, ribbon marker, and expanding back pocket. The branding is mainly on a removable paper wrapper, which in this case wraps vertically around the front cover. The brand name is also stamped on the outside back cover. (Shown below next to a pocket Moleskine for comparison. The Moleskine is an older Modo & Modo one from the early 2000s, so somewhat different from those for sale today.)
Inside the front cover, there are a few lines to write your contact info, and the brand logo. The back pocket has taped edges rather than being made only of paper, which is always a nice touch.
The cover boards and the notebook as a whole feel slightly bulkier than a Moleksine. The corners are not as tidily turned as I would like, and the overhang is a bit more than I’d like, and is also not even, with some edges sticking out more than others. But other than that, the overall construction feels solid.
The notebook opens flat, and the paper inside is a creamy off-white. The lines are made of tiny dots, and don’t extend to the edges of the page. This is not uncommon but I prefer the look of lines that go all the way to the edge. The paper feels smooth– not quite as smooth as Moleskine and some others, but it works very nicely with all my usual pens. No scratchiness with fine gel pens. Fountain pen users would be quite satisfied with this paper, I think– no feathering or bleed-through. At 5 seconds, the Lamy still smeared, but by 7 seconds it was dry. Show-through is about average, and bleed-through is a bit better than average– only the Accu-liner and Super Sharpie bled.
I really was quite curious about the retail price for this Foray journal– based on the larger one being $10.99, I’d guess this one was maybe $6.99 or $7.99. If so, I’d say it was a pretty good value. The quality control may not be the most attentive to every detail, but it’s a good, solid notebook with decent paper, especially if you’re a fountain pen user. It’s too bad Office Depot isn’t carrying this size anymore. I couldn’t find any other listings for a pocket size model, but Amazon did have a listing for a 5 x 8″ squared version in a white cover: FORAY Hardcover Quad-Ruled Journal-192 Pages. Who knows if that version would have the same type of paper, but it might be worth a try! Has anyone else used this brand? Let us know about it in the comments!