Paper Review: Ajoto Pocket Paper B6

Ajoto created a Kickstarter to produce and release three notebooks featuring great paper for writing and drawing as well as notebook covers. I only backed the Pocket Paper notebook portion because I don’t need anymore notebook covers but I can always use more paper.

The notebooks use Italian paper and are made in England. The paper are acid-free with a neutral pH so what you write should stay put.

Each Pocket Paper notebook ($22 each) shipped in a paperboard wrap with information about the paper type, recommended uses and specifications. The paper wrap covers are a good way to visually differentiate between the three paper types but it seems like a lot of packaging. Of course, its all paper so it can be recycled or composted.

The notebooks were created at an unusual size. They measure 105 mm x172 mm which is a little smaller than B6 size. These books fit in my B6 cover but the Ajoto notebooks  are about an inch narrower and half and an inch shorter than a standard B6 notebook. If you’re not attached to a specific notebook size or cover, these Pocket Paper notebooks have a small paperback book feel in the hand. They are not too big, not too small so it might be a sweet spot.

However, I am less tempted by notebooks that are a weird size. There are so many “standard sizes” in the world that when someone steps in with a “we have the perfect size” notebook spiel. Shaving a half an inch from a notebook is not going to revolutionize my writing or journaling habit. Stop trying to convince me that it will!

Okay, paper size rant is over.

All three notebooks feature a black paper cardstock cover that folds flat and exposes the bound and glued spine. The paper cover and sewn bindings do genuinely lay flat and the simple black cover and exposed spine have a minimal, Japanese vibe.

Under the black paperboard cover is another cardstock cover that creates the front of the notebook.

The paper type is embossed on the cover page of each notebook to make it easier to identify the notebook once its been separated from the packaging sleeve. The overall construction for all three notebooks is the same, its just the paper that is different.

Ajoto No. 1 Pocket Paper:

Of the three notebook paper types, the No. 1 is the most papery texture to me. Its a little bit toothy but not rough. The icons on the cover recommend it for pen, pencil and fountain pen so its probably the most all-around paper of the bunch. The notes from the web site say that this paper is from Italy, is 120gsm and the No. 1 notebook includes 114 pages.

In writing tests, I found the paper to hold up to a wide variety of tools and had only slight show through, even when using broad brush pens. For someone looking to do more artistic or collage-y note taking, journaling or planning, I think the No. 1 is a good option. It reminds me of a good quality sketch paper. It wouldn’t hold up great to watercolor washes but brush pens, pencils, colored pencils, gel pens and fountain pens all perform well on the paper.

Ajoto No. 2 Pocket Paper:

The Ajoto No. 2 Pocket Paper is another Italian paper but this paper is much smoother and silkier. If you love Rhodia or Clairefontaine, this paper has a similar feel. The paper is 100gsm and the notebook includes 126 pages.

While Ajoto claims this paper is bleed proof, I found that there was a lot more show through with the No. 2 than the No. 1 notebook. There were even some signs of bleed through potential.

If you are a fan of super smooth, almost glossy writing paper, then the No. 2 will be your choice from the Ajoto line. Super smooth paper has never been my favorite. I feel like a little tooth or texture in the paper helps me to slow down a little and not rush making my writing neater and my thoughts more composed.

Ajoto No. 3 Pocket Paper:

The Ajoto No. 3 Pocket Paper notebook is another Italian paper but this one is specifically recommended for creative endeavors as the paper is felt textured and weighs in at a hefty 190gsm. With such thick paper, there are only 62 pages though.

I would compare this paper, which they recommend for pen, pencil and brush, to a multimedia art paper. Its not quite as heavy or treated as a watercolor paper but its definitely suitable for light washes or ink or paint and other art making tools.

In close-up, it is clear to see that there is a distinct texture on this paper. For very fine gel pens, there could be potential to pick up paper fibers or catch the tip in the paper but I have no issues when testing my variety of gel pens and fine fountain pens.

My guess though is that not everyone will like how textured the paper is. Of the three notebooks, the No. 3 is the roughest. Proceed accordingly.

Literally, on the flip side though, because this paper is thick and dense, there was no show through or bleed through with any of the pens I tested.

In conclusion:

Of the three Ajoto Pocket Paper notebooks, I’m most likely to recommend the No. 1. It is the most all-around, in my opinion. For those who like smooth paper, the No. 2 is a good option. The No. 3 notebook is one I would only recommend to someone looking to make art, paint, or do other intensive activities with their notebook. If you’re just taking notes or bullet journaling, the No. 3 might be too much paper, not enough pages!

Overall, I have no real complaints with the notebooks other than the slightly odd size.

Have you tried the Ajoto Pocket Paper notebooks yet? What’s your impression of them?

Pens used in the testing of these notebooks, in case you want to see the whole mess!

DISCLAIMER: Some items included in this review were purchased with funds from our amazing Patrons. You can help support this blog by joining our Patreon. Please see the About page for more details.

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5 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I have way too many leather covers as well, but you really missed the boat by not getting the Ajoto cover. The closing mechanism is great to use and it has become my favorite.

    1. I backed this project. I love this notebook and I will be honest, for me it really is the “sweet spot” size. I kinda wish that I would have gotten the cover. I have a plotter notebook in A5 (Pueblo) that I’m not using. So expensive to not be using it now (due to me liking my Ajoto better). Was afraid to drop the dime on their leather cover and then not like it. They mentioned that they are looking at making a canvas version so I might just wait for that. But I definitely need a cover.

  2. Douglas Cooper and I(Jim Hughes) in Albuquerque, NM both backed the KS on Ajoto. The NB’s available through KS seemed a bit pricey. The odd size of the NB’s was a bit of a sticky wicket. So we took it upon oourselves to see what less expensive NB’s woul fit. We road tested the B-6 Slim Midoro MD NB’s in pack configuration seem to work fine, size wise. We both prefer Lined Notebooks, Douglas is more flexible in this factor that I am. Jet, no affiliation , carries the NB’s now being tested. This is the link to Jet: Douglas is in the process of Ink testing the alternative, NB/s.

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