A new American-made notebook is always exciting, so I was very happy to be offered a sample of the First Draft notebook for review.
The one I received is a lovely red color– navy and sand are also available. The first impression is of a solid, well-made, chunky mid-size notebook. I had a flashback to the library books of my childhood– that is what the cloth cover material reminds me of, and if it’s as durable as those library books, this should be a nice, long-lasting notebook! The cover is neatly wrapped at the corners but there is quite a large cover overhang, which longtime readers will know is something I happen to dislike! The First Draft logo is embossed on the front cover, while the back is totally plain.
The size is 5.5 x 8.25 inches, about an inch thick at 224 pages. The notebook comes with a removable horizontal elastic that has a sewn-in pen loop. It’s a nice touch, especially with the First Draft branding on the patch, though I worry it would easily get lost since it’s not attached to the notebook. There is a matching ribbon marker, but no back pocket. The inside front cover is attractively designed with space for your contact information.
The binding is designed to open flat– the covers fold back very easily and the pages do stay open pretty easily with good access to the gutter, especially after you’ve opened it a few times to loosen up the binding.
Inside, the 70# paper is a bright, cool white, unlined. It is smooth and works beautifully with fine gel ink pens, but I’m afraid fountain pen users will be disappointed, as those inks feathered out– I could see the lines spreading as I wrote– and bled through. Overall show-through was about average, but bleed-through was a little worse than average.
At $22 for a notebook of this size, it’s not a bad value, especially for something that is made in the USA. For those who tend to write with gel ink pens or pencils, and want to support a home-grown small business, First Draft is a good choice for a solid, well-made everyday notebook. You can buy them at First Draft’s online store.