Arwey is an interesting brand of notebooks you don’t see too often. The company is based in Turkey, but even on my trip to Istanbul, I only saw their notebooks sold in one store. I first discovered them at A.I. Friedman in New York, but they don’t seem to be carried there anymore. However, the company kindly sent me a generous batch of samples to review. Let’s take a look!
As you can see above, I got quite an assortment of samples. Arwey makes a wide variety of styles and sizes, with different cover materials and features such as built in pens or exterior pockets. Below is my favorite of the batch, which I’ll look at in detail in this review.
Once you remove the paper band on this notebook, you’ll notice its most interesting feature: the outside cover features interior and exterior pockets, and is in fact reversible! You can remove it from the notebook within so that either yellow or red appears on the outside. It’s a clever design, and the color combinations are striking.
I don’t love the fact that the cover overhangs the paper edges so much, but it’s unavoidable with this sort of design.
The cover is made of a soft, almost suede-textured vinyl. It’s pretty flexible but did stay open a bit instead of closing fully.
The nice thing about the cover is how you can use the pockets inside and out– this would be a great notebook to bring to a trade show– you could keep your own business cards in one side and cards you collect in the other.
The size and flexibility of the notebook make it very pocketable– shown below with a pocket Moleskine for comparison.
On the inside cover is the Arwey logo and a few lines for your personal info.
Inside the back cover you get a slip of paper with some Arwey advertising, which can be quite amusing:
Arwey, with its newest colour combinations, quality material, important infirmation inside, usage comfort different from each other and unique designs is fronted with you as the most functional detail of your life, or plainest from of the life. [typos theirs!]
You also get a useful extra– a card with traceable lines and ruler edges. Most of Arwey’s notebooks seem to include this card.
The paper is light enough that the grid lines show through for tracing lines or just to use as a guide to keep your writing straight.
The pages inside the notebook are blank, but at the end there is a section of the kind of helpful information that is usually only included in diaries. Why is that, anyway? I think area codes and size conversions and maps make perfect sense in a blank notebook too!
The paper has a similar creamy color and texture to Moleskine’s but it is thinner at 70 gsm. Some of the pages in the back of the notebook are perforated for easy removal. My usual pens all went on smoothly, but fountain pen feathered a bit and others showed through quite noticeably.
Here’s a quick look at the other samples I was sent:
This first one has a unique cut-out in the pages that allows you to tuck away a pen, but I find the resulting shape of the pages a bit weird.
This one is a cloth covered book with blank pages. It has a magnetic closure that wraps around from the back of the notebook– I don’t love the way the rivet looks on the back.
The back pocket is on the left side, and does not expand, so it won’t hold much more than the ruler/grid card:
It has a nice fold-out map:
This cloth-covered notebook is a tri-fold binder with a magnetic closure that just blends into a nice square edge:
Inside, you get a blank notebook, a pad with spaces for each day of the week, and an address book, but unfortunately, they’re glued in and not refillable.
Here we again have a cloth-covered notebook where Arwey throws in a pen tucked in a handy storage loop hidden in the middle. The pen is visible through the cut-out on the spine:
Inside is a blank pad and the week-view pad.
This larger blank notebook has blank pages, some of which are perforated, and a section of useful info pages. The cover is made of a soft vinyl similar to the first notebook I reviewed, but in this case it’s not reversible.
The inside front cover has a little slit that is meant to function as a pocket for business cards, I guess, but it’s not that easy to get at.
The inside back cover has another cut out meant to function as a bookmark:
All in all, I feel like Arwey has put quite a lot of thought into ways they can make their notebooks stand out from the crowd, with some handy extra features. As their website claims, these are “functional notebooks,” though I think there’s a few things they could have done better. They seem to be well-made, especially the cloth-bound notebooks– though it’s a shame they haven’t made these nice sturdy covers refillable. While the vinyl covers are colorful and practical, I can’t totally embrace the material– it feels a little cheap to me and the edges and stitching were a little uneven in spots. Some of the notebooks carry the FSC certification noting that the paper is from mixed sources.
As I already mentioned, these notebooks aren’t easy to buy– their website lists availability mostly in Turkey and France and a few other spots in Europe. I don’t know what other retailers may carry these in the US. But since I did promise you a “massive giveaway,” 5 lucky winners will be getting an Arwey notebook for free! As usual, I’ll do a random drawing– you can enter in these ways:
On Twitter, tweet something containing the words “Arwey” and “@NotebookStories.”
On Facebook, “like” the Notebook Stories page and post something containing the word “Arwey” on my wall.
On your blog, post something containing the words “Arwey” and “NotebookStories” and link back to this post.
The deadline for entry is Friday October 8 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!