Once again, Studio Neat has ventured into the stationery world and proven that they are more than up to the task. This time, they have produced a more traditional style notebook in a not-quite-A5-sized (135 mm x 195 mm), flexible cover, leatherette Totebook (2-pack for $20).
Inside the front cover is a place for contact information and content notes. After this weekend at the St. Louis Show where I found lost items twice, I highly recommend filling this section in.
Inside the back cover is my favorite “helpful info”. Studio Neat includes a font point size guide, the NATO Phonetic Alphabet, ideas for archival sticker placement, and details about how the notebook is designed and laid out. There’s also specifications about the production of the notebook itself like the paper, ink and printing processes, like the closing credits in a feature film. For most people, none of this will ever be useful or needed but I find it aesthetic and nerdy. It’s like the map of time zones in planners — they aren’t really necessary but I still like when they are included.
The Studio Neat Totebook features 5mm dot grid paper and the last eight pages are perforated (“perfed,” as we say in the business) into quarters so that the sections can easily be removed for notes, lists or other small tasks. The dots are light and unobtrusive but still visible. They are also not ginormous dots. I did not get a caliper out to measure them but suffice to say, they did not irritate me. Since I normally prefer blank paper, that’s saying something.
In writing and pen tests, the 100gsm paper withstood all the pens I subjected from rollerball, gel, felt tip and fountain equally well.
There was no feathering of ink and no bleed through.
Even when I switched to thicker brush pens, there was very little show through. I did not test alcohol markers like Sharpie markers or Copics so use those at your own risk (in other words, put a slip sheet between the pages on your first attempt, just in case).
Stickers are included for labelling the Totebooks when completed for storing. I’d like to think I would be this organized and remember where I kept the stickers AND I completed a whole notebook but I think that’s a bit of a pipe dream. I’m not very notebook monogamous. But if you’re the kind of person who is, this might be useful.
The Totebook is a serious upgrade to the Moleskine Cahier which is the closest comparison I can make to this notebook. If that size and format is something you liked but wished someone had made it better, then the Totebook will be perfect for you.