Until a few weeks ago, I would have needed a “way back machine” to recall my last Paperblanks journal. So when the company offered products to review, I was happy to oblige. Imagine my delight when not one but three of the beauties arrived!
These journals are solidly constructed and friendly with enough inks to earn a place in my paper wardrobe. They come in lined and blank formats and offer standard Smythe sewn binding, acid free archival paper, ribbon bookmarks and Memento Pouches in the back of each journal. The closures vary by model from clasps to flaps to traditional book style.
The journals sent for review include the Parisian Mosaique Safran Midi, the Gandhi Embellished Manuscript Mini, and the Silver Filigree Maya Blue Ultra.
At 5″ x 7″ the Safran Midi is just the right size for my desk. The cover is gorgeous, rich in color and texture. Like the other two Paperblanks, the spine carries the same detail as the cover and looks sumptuous and vintage on my bookshelf. My Safran will get pressed into service as a repository for famous, and maybe not so famous, quotes along with a few doodles and flourishes in the margins. How would you use such an elegant journal?
The Gandhi has an aged look with an embossed quote decorating the front. It’s a mini at 3 3/4″ x 5 1/2″ and a very comfortable size in the hand. Pages are lined on both sides so there is ample room for writing. The cover of the Gandhi snaps closed with concealed magnets. The flap protects the pages so it could easily serve as a travel journal and it is sure to be a head-turner at the local coffee shop.
The 7″ x 9″ Silver Filigree is just beautiful with its blue and silver cover and antique-looking clasps, but then I do have a soft spot for those colors especially when turquoise ink flows from a white gold nib. However, black ink might be better suited to this journal allowing the cover to be the prominent feature. The Silver Filigree is so elegant it begs to be treated like royalty.
Then there is the paper. Although there is a faint impression on the back of a sheet, it isn’t enough to be considered show-through or ghosting and there is absolutely no bleed-through. This makes the paper suitable for writing on both sides and is how all journals should perform. It’s like getting double the writing surface compared to Moleskine and the like.
Black ink is the perfect neutral for the beautifully detailed covers and it has convinced me to keep a pen so loaded at all times. Noodler’s Black performed very well and, as a good all-purpose ink, is a fine choice for Paperblanks. For now NB is loaded in the ivory Pilot Prera Italic for an elegant duo that will suit any of the journals.
Additional inks that tested well include Noodler’s Air Corp, Diamine Sepia, Diamine Steel Blue, Sailor Sky High and Waterman Florida Blue. The remaining inks tested showed the tiniest amount of feathering, but no show-through or bleed-through. Rohrer & Klingner was the exception and produced too much feathering to get a pass, but I’ve been disappointed with it on other brands of paper as well. I will continue to test inks as pens get refilled and post an update should any ink prove to be as trouble-free as Noodler’s Black.
So here’s the deal. Paperblanks journals are gorgeous, but you already knew that. If you use anything but fountain pens, the paper will be fine. For fountain pen users for whom paper is the deal breaker, my findings are mixed. Some pens and inks are good to excellent. Others are not up to my standards.
Because the covers are so attractive, I won’t use my full ink inventory but restrain myself to neutral colors like black, gray and brown. With Noodler’s Black handy, ink performance will not be an issue. Eventually, the best gray and brown inks will emerge and my ink selection for the Paperblanks journals will be settled.
Since all inks tested performed better or comparable to Moleskine without any show-through or bleed-through, and Paperblanks easily beats Moleskine in the looks department, I know which one I would choose. Well, at least I know which brand. Selecting a style from the Paperblanks offering is a whole ‘nother matter.
With the lone exception of the writing sample, all photos were taken by Tessa Maurer.
Here is a first for An Inkophile’s Blog: