Review: Blackwing Slate Notebook

Here’s the latest notebook offering from the folks who also bring us Blackwing pencils: the Blackwing Slate Notebook. Let’s take a look at the sample the company shared with me.

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I immediately noticed that it was in a similar style to a Notes & Dabbles notebook I reviewed not long ago, as well as the Fabio Ricci “Goran” notebook. The front and back covers have a stitched edge, and the spine is separate, with a loop for  a pen. I like this all black design– it’s attractive and feels very solidly constructed. The Blackwing pencil that’s included complements it nicely.

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When you open the notebook, it lies flat. There is a back pocket with an extra little slit where you can tuck a business card. On the inside back cover, there is a page of Blackwing brand mythology– I could live without this. It seems like they’ve tried to follow Moleskine’s lead in associating their product with a long history of famous users, as well as being the pencil of choice in cool contemporary situations like fashion week or “in Brooklyn. Just about anywhere.” That one is a double strike as I’m really sick of everyone talking about Brooklyn all the time too! (I live in Brooklyn, and I have never spotted anyone using a Blackwing pencil.) Anyway, I just wish companies would realize that a well-designed quality product can appeal to people on its own merits, without marketers trying so hard to make up these ridiculous stories, which can end up backfiring. Blackwing pencils look great and write great and I love them for those reasons, but I don’t want people to look at me and think “look at that poser who thinks she has to use trendy pencils just because they say all the cool kids use them too!”

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The paper is lined (a version with unlined pages is also available) and feels great to write on. The paper is very smooth, and performed a bit better than average in terms of show-through and bleed-through. Fountain pens seemed to dry relatively quickly despite the smooth surface.

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Bottom line, it’s a very nice notebook and despite the rant above, I am sure many people will be able to ignore that one page in the back and use it very happily! I hope they make a pocket size version someday too– the Fabio Ricci Goran notebook already comes in a pocket size, and there seems to be a relationship between Fabio Ricci and Blackwing’s parent company, which also owns Pencils.com. You can buy a small black Goran, but the stitching along the spine seems to be white– nowhere near as nice-looking as the all black look of the Slate. Pencils.com offers some other Fabio Ricci notebooks that also look promising, and I love the Fabio Ricci notebook I bought in Turkey. I thought the Palomino Blackwing Luxury Notebook was really nice too, and I hope they continue to expand their notebook offerings under either the Blackwing or Fabio Ricci brands.
The Blackwing Slate Notebook is available at Pencils.com or on Amazon.

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