Thanks to the kind folks at Exaclair, I have the opportunity to review the new Dot Grid Webnotebook (AKA the Webbie) from Rhodia.
This is my first Webbie ever so I was surprised to see the overall quality of the notebooks. The material on the cover is a very smooth, soft leatherette. The cover is very matte-looking in comparison with Moleskines. The Rhodia logo is blind debossed into the center of the cover, subtle and very well done. There is a little give in the covers too giving the book a bit of give which will probably make it easier to over stuff it with bits of papers. The corners of the cover and the pages are cleanly rounded and the paper is inset slightly from the covers protecting the corners. The elastic and the satin bookmark are also orange that match and the whole package is quite stunning. And thank you for singeing the edge of the bookmark to keep it from fraying!
The paper is a smooth, cream color and seems a bit heavier weight than Moleskine. The Dot Grid pattern is designed to appeal to someone who might want grid paper or lined paper without being too busy. The effect is pretty good though I still feel (as I often do with lined or gridded paper) that the dots are a touch too dark especially if you like to use pencil, colored inks or a very fine line. If you use a medium or broad point and dark ink, I don’t think you’ll have any issues. I gripe but the dots are lighter than the lines or grid in a Moleskine so I will clearly never be satisfied — I want my lines, grids or dots to be just a shade or two darker than the paper and more of a warm brown to harmonize with the paper rather than a sharp contrast — PMS 7501 or so would be just about right.
The paper performed well when tested with a few different writing instruments. There is a teeny bit of show-through on the dark green ink but no bleeding or feathering of the inks.
The back cover hides a pocket like what you find in the back of a Moleskine but the folds are done in a cream bookbinders fabric instead of black and looks satiny. Both end papers are orange to coordinate with the cover material.
All in all, I find the Webbie to be a great leap forward in notebook design. Its far superior in overall quality to a Moleskine overall and I plan on continuing to use Webbies as my go-to notebook from now on. I am, however, on the hunt for plain notebooks, no lines in the A5 size.
PS: The orange covers of the Webbie match PMS 143U orange, if you’re curious.