There are a large number of manufacturers making notebooks for fountain pens today. This is great news for those of us who love using fountain pens in our notebooks and journals! But it also presents a challenge – the huge number of possible choices! The purpose of this article is to help you decide which notebook fits your needs the best.
Both Sean and I are big paper junkies. We love to collect writing paper in all its varieties, so we both have quite the collection of notebooks! We’ve tested them all to see how well they work with fountain pens, and here we let you know what we think about some of the best. Some of these notebooks are commonly available, but some are a little more rare and hard to find.
If you’re more interested in good paper for fountain pen writing, we’ll be posting an article soon with our thoughts on some that we like. If you’re interested in reading that article when we publish it, make sure to join our mailing list.
Factors and Features to Consider in a Fountain Pen Friendly Notebook
It’s helpful to spend a little time thinking about what you want in a notebook for fountain pens. It may be tempting to just grab any old notebook you have laying around, but notebooks for fountain pens have some specific requirements not found in all notebooks.
The Size of the Notebook
One of the first things you may want to consider is the size. There are some popular sizes out there (with A5 being the most common), but there are also some very unique sizes in the market. Besides the A5 size, some other common sizes are B5 and A6. There are also a number of tall and narrow sized notebooks available.
There is no right or wrong size, but think about your preferences. Where will you be using the notebook most often? At a desk? Or outside in the garden? What size of notebooks do you generally prefer? What other sizes do you have and already enjoy? Will you be carrying your notebook around with you throughout the day? If so, you may want a smaller, lighter notebook. Take a few minutes to think through what would work best for your situation.
The Page Layout
The next thing to consider is the page layout. This will depend somewhat on what you plan to do with the notebook. For example, if you’re planning on doing a bullet journal, then you’ll probably want to choose a dot grid layout because it gives you a lot of flexibility while still providing an underlying structure.
Standard lined or blank pages are also popular. Lines pages are usually preferred by those people who want a more highly structured environment for their written words. Blank pages are more often used by those who enjoy doodling or drawing in their notebooks.
There are also many specialty notebooks with unique layouts intended for a particular purpose. These may have pre-printed labels, boxes, quotes, writing prompts, dates, or other standard information for their particular purpose. An example of this might be a daily goal tracker notebook.
Then there is the paper. The paper is one of the most important factors in whether a notebook is good for writing in with a fountain pen. The quality of the paper will be a major factor in determining how much enjoyment you get out of writing in your notebook.
Dry time is an important factor in high quality paper. The longer your ink takes to dry, the more chance you’ll have of smearing it on the page, or worse, on your hands or clothes.
The ghosting level of your paper is also important. Most people like to write on both sides of the page in their notebooks. If the ink from the writing on one side of the page seeps through to the other side, it detracts from the experience of writing on both sides of the page.
The Material and Construction
The next thing to consider is the material used in the construction of the notebook. For the binding, you’ll most likely enjoy a format that can lay out flat, as these are generally more easy to use. But that may not be the case for your own particular use case or preferences. And for the cover, think about whether you prefer a more soft, flexible cover, or a hard cover. A hard cover will provide you with more protection. It will also serve as a writing surface when you aren’t writing on another flat surface such as a desk. But also keep in mind that hard cover notebooks are usually more expensive.
One final area to consider is the accessories that come with some notebooks. Accessories are things like an index, ribbon page markers, and elastic closures. Depending on your use case, any or all of these things may come in handy.
Recommended Notebooks for Fountain Pens
We’ll have some reviews and recommendations coming soon. If you’d like to be notified when those arrive, be sure to sign up for our mailing list.