Let’s take a look at an adorable little notebook I bought at a store called Kiosk in NYC. The store unfortunately no longer exists– it was kind of a conceptual project more than a real business, I guess, almost more like an exhibit of various products from around the world. You can still see their archives here, though nothing is for sale online anymore. They do curate a selection of items for the ICA in London, which can be ordered online.
Anyway, I liked the look of this Ideal notebook when I first saw it online, and I liked it even better in person. It is a nicely pocketable size at about 3.5 x 5″, (just a bit shorter than a pocket Moleskine, shown below for comparison) and looks great with a red faux-leather soft cover and red stained page edges. I like the retro logo on the front, too. The spine is rounded with staggered stitched signatures– rather unusual for softcover notebooks like this.
The inside front cover has space to write your personal details, and an ad for the rest of their product line. Again, very retro looking and kind of reminds me of the Alwych notebook.
When I first opened the notebook it seemed a little stiff and I worried that it wouldn’t open flat, but it immediately loosened up and did open flat. The pages inside have a dark blue line, with wider spaces at the top and bottom. A few pages in my notebook had lines that didn’t run all the way to the edge of the page– just a quirk in the way they were trimmed, I guess.
The paper feels fairly smooth– not super smooth, but when I started writing on it with a fine gel ink pen, it seemed really nice. Unfortunately, when I moved on to some fountain pens and other wet writers, things got pretty messy– feathering and bleed-through were pretty bad, though I would say show-through was average to maybe a little better than average. This is a notebook you’d want to use with pencils or fine gel ink pens only.
I love this notebook for its aesthetics and that it allows me to tick off Mexico in my list of notebook origin countries. Too bad it doesn’t have better paper.
If you want one, it might be tricky– I found a couple of listings online (here and here) but I’m not sure if they ship to the US. Don’t be alarmed when you see the price as $90 MXN– it’s only about $4.56 in US dollars.