Review: Whitelines

Whitelines is a Swedish notebook manufacturer that takes a unique approach to their paper. All of their paper is grey with white markings (lined, grid, dot grid, isometric etc). Their approach is “Dark lines distract, Whitelines don’t.” I love the concept. They also advertise that the lines will disappear when you copy/scan the paper. Whitelines offers a wide array of bindings, cover fabrics, paper formatting.

Whitelines

This notebook is gorgeous.  The cover has this great buckram linen, with the Whitelines logo embossed on the cover. Their color palette includes this vibrant signature orange. The construction of the notebook is well-designed. Personally, I favor a notebook with a joint, the small groove that runs along the spine. It feels sturdier to me.

Whitelines

The paper is 80gsm, but it feels similar to Moleskine weight (~71gsm). In my ink test, there was some show through of my pen-of-choice, pigment ink pens, but not much.

Some of their notebooks have built in digitization formatting to be used with their smart phone app. However, this notebook does not have that feature, which is ideal for me. Some of their notebooks have alternating page layouts, for example one page has dot grid, and the other ruled. There is a lot of variety in their notebook offerings!

Whitelines

In the above photo, you can easily see the unique coloring of the gray paper/white lines, contrasted against Moleskine paper.
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Whitelines notebook on top of an A5 Moleskine for reference.

Specifications:

  • 160 pages
  • 80gsm paper
  • 6mm line spacing

Where to Buy

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Review: Cottonwood Arts Dotmatrix

Cottonwood Arts is an art sketchbook company, with a notebook offering that is equally note friendly as it is sketch, with its “dot matrix” (dot grid). Design wise, this one is heavily inspired by Moleskine, and could be an alternative, if it suits you. The main difference in the design is the binding: It has an exposed canvas spine (picture below) with two boards glued on as the cover. This binding allows for the notebook to lay completely flat. The cover has a pleasing matte feel.

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The 100gsm paper is cream colored, smooth to the touch, and takes ink very well. The packaging advertises it as being suitable for mixed-media. It’s a nice weighted paper, without any teeth or grain that can be typical of art sketchbooks being used as notebooks.

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The page layout is the highly coveted dot grid, or dot matrix as Cottonwood Arts calls it.

I love the dots, but once I wrote on the page and panned out, I found the dots to be noisy with the ink. Visually, my writing doesn’t stand out against the dot grid as much as I’d like. It’s slightly difficult to ignore the dot grid and focus my eyes on the writing. I’ve used dot grids before, and that hasn’t been my experience. I’d much prefer it if the dots were smaller/fainter. But I’m still going to fill it on up! Maybe I find them to be overbearing because I’m not the intended audience — the image on the cover slip is of typography sketches.

The notebook comes with a pen loop (only large enough to fit a basic bic pen) and a gusseted folder in the back, very similar to a Moleskine.

Specifications

  • $12.95
  • 160 pages
  • Dot grid
  • Dot grid spacing: 6mm
  • 100gsm
  • A5 (8″ x 5.25″)

Where to buy:

  • Local art supply store (that’s where I found mine)
  • Cottonwood Arts (do note that under product specifications, in error it says 30 pages)
  • Amazon

Review: Nuuna Punk Notebooks

Nuuna notebooks are made by Brandbook in Germany, which specializes in making customized large-batch notebooks. They’re available in both dot grid and blank page layout. The paper is advertised as 90g Munken polar paper and is bright white in color, as compared to the creamy off-white paper Moleskine uses. The paper is smooth, yet the ink sinks into it. The covers have a nice matte feel, and the edges are colored to match the band. This specific notebook spurred my interest in notebooks with colored edgings — I find the aesthetic of black cover with black colored edgings a very pleasing look.

It appears that this collection, the Punk Collection, of notebooks has been discontinued which is seriously disappointing. There are a few places you can find the remaining notebooks left. Nuuna’s new collections of notebooks look interesting, and worth investigating, but the punk collection is so great that I’d encourage Nuuna to keep offering them.

Technical Specifications:

  • $18.00
  • Hardcover
  • 90g paper Munken
  • Size: A5 slim (8.25 x 4.5in)
  • Dot Grid and Blank
  • Dot grid spacing: 4mm
  • 192 Pages
  • colored/gilt edged

Nuuna

These notebooks are very durable. The black notebook on the left is 100% filled on every line (er, dot grid line) and page, while the white notebook on the right is brand new. After being completely filled, the notebook has not structurally deteriorated at all, and looks nicely worn and aesthetic. With other notebooks, it’s been such a bummer to find them fall apart as I’m filling them.

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Top to bottom: Nuuna Punk Black/Black, Nuuna White/Yellow Punk, and Moleskine A5 for reference.

Where to buy: Nuuna Website