Cognitive Surplus hardcover notebook

Several weeks ago, I stumbled across the Cognitive Surplus notebooks which feature grid paper on the left hand page and lined paper on the right. It sparked a lot of interest so the folks at Cognitive Surplus were kind enough to send me a couple books to try out. I received the Languages & Alphabets cover and the Geographic Map cover.

The books have a matte finish on the covers that feel nice in the hand. The corners are rounded giving the books a finished “composition book” feel. The books have 56 sheets/112 pages and measure 6.5″ x 8.9″. The binding is stitched and the pages easily lay flat. The paper is 100% recycled.

Cognitive Surplus hardcover notebook

The ruling inside is printed in brown ink along with a “100%recycled” mark in the lower right corner and decorative “brain” squiggle in the left. The lined and grid is spaced at 7mm. The lined ruling seem thicker than the grid lines which I find a little distracting. The grid is the perfect lightness but the lined pages seem a little too heavy for me. I wish the grid ruling was a bit tighter but that’s just me.

Cognitive Surplus hardcover notebook

I did some writing tests expecting average performance but was pleasantly surprised that the paper handled fountain pen ink much better than expected. I even pushed it to the extremes with the wide italic nib and the writing didn’t feather or spline. There was a little show through but it was quite mild and both sides of the paper could still be used. The closest comparison paper-wise that I could make would be Paperblanks. I wouldn’t put my wettest, flex nib to work on this stock but everyday pens would be great. Oddly, the Sharpie Pen also had a little show through. I think, in general, lighter fountain pen inks would also be good with this paper — the blues and turquoise inks didn’t show through at all but the black and dark purple inks did. Gel pens and pencils did outstanding on this paper. Pair one of these notebooks with a machined pen or favorite pencil and you’ll be happily writing and drawing all day.

Cognitive Surplus hardcover notebook

The Cognitive Surplus hardcover journals ($15 each) are available in 26 different cover designs as well as an assortment of softcovers as well.

DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Cognitive Surplus for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

4 Comments on Review: Cognitive Surplus Notebooks

  1. Thanks for the review Ana, always open for cool covered journals and recycled paper that plays nice with fountain pens. How well do these do in the open and lay flat category? Thanks

  2. Funny, I just made up a notebook, last Saturday, that was graphed on the left and lined on the right… except I was using 5mm spacing. I can highly recommend the tighter pattern for anyone with compact handwriting. As a former industrial engineer with way too many English credits, a combination of grids and lines is suited to all my needs.

    Would having the graph paper on the right side be more convenient for you, or is the left-handed, artist-brain more comfortable doodling on the left page?

    • To be honest, for doodling, I prefer blank paper. But I’m and equal opportunity doodler, I’ll use both the left and right sides of the paper.

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