Blank Slate Paper Co. has been in the works for some time and I had the chance to try it out back in August at the DC Pen Show. What is unique about what Blank Slate Paper Co. is doing is that they are letting individual users build and customize their notepads on the fly. So, using digital printing and an online interface, you can pick dots, lines or reticle in a dizzying array of options: size, distance from each other and color. Plus there are two paper options to choose from. If this is way too many options to consider without feeling it in your hands, Blank Slate offers a sampler pack so you can see for yourself.
My sample included a massive array of possibilities. Choosing just one is probably the hardest part. However, most of us have said at some point, “I just want XX grid/ruled/reticle in _____ color! Why is that so hard to find?” So my advice is to go with that as your first pad of paper. For me, that would be pale lime green, very fine, tiny grid (5mm or so).
While listening to the audiobook version of the new Beastie Boys Book (side note: the audiobook is read by a whole slew of famous people from Spike Jonze and LL Cool J to Rosie Perez, Will Ferrell, Jon Stewart, and Rachel Maddow — it’s riveting!) I tried out all various papers: the 28# Domtar and the HP 32# Premium. I used a variety of fountain pens from a Pilot Parallel to Faber-Castell Grip EF. There were two flex nib pens as well to try a variety of ink-depositing volumes from fire hose to diminutive dribble.
Neither paper showed signs of bleeding or feathering and only the slightest bit of showthrough where the heaviest concentrations of ink were applied.
In some instances, there was a little bit of ink resistance over the larger printed dots (similar to what happens with some Baron Fig notebooks) so if this is something that might bother you, I would recommend lighter coverage of printed ink with smaller dots or lines.
I am glossing over the brilliance of the online “designer” application that allows you to visualize, on-screen, the paper of your dreams. I say that only because it works really well and only takes a couple tries to master it. It’s the kind of technology programming that I can only imagine creating. It’s like those ice skaters at the Olympics… they make it look easy and that’s when you know it’s hard.
Blank Slate Paper Co. is a passion project from one of the pen community’s own (David Rea and his family) and, as such, was made with all the same factors taken into consideration that you or I would consider. The paper is definitely fountain pen-friendly. Every attempt has been made to provide ways to make all sorts of lined, grid, dot grid, engineering paper and more that will meet our demanding standards. At the moment, the paper is only available in letter-sized, glue-top pads but I know that Blank Slate is plotting other options in the future. The only way for them to get there, however, is for us to support the early efforts.
Congrats on a great first step and I can’t wait to see what comes next!
DISCLAIMER: Some items included in this review were provided free of charge for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.