2016 Pantone Color of the Year & Your Favorite Office Supplies

Rose Quartz & Serenity - Pantone Colors of the Year 2016

Rose Quartz & Serenity – Pantone Colors of the Year 2016

The Pantone color of the year for 2016 is actually a pairing of two colors: Rose Quartz and Serenity. The Pantone website explains the thought behind their selection for this year:

Joined together Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.

Would you like to add these calm, relaxing colors to your stationery arsenal? Below are a few of our favorite choices of pens, ink and paper related items that are part of this color family.

The first pens that come to my mind when I think of Serenity and Rose Quartz are the Platinum Plaisir fountain pens in a pearlized soft pink and frosty blue. Also worth mentioning is the popular Aurora Style Aquamarine pale blue fountain pen.

It’s not common to find pastel shades of fountain pen ink, however there are a few inks out there that remind me of the 2016 Pantone colors. Noodler’s Periwinkle Eternal Ink is inspired by the color of the blue curve of a periwinkle snail’s shell and Noodler’s Ink Polar Blue makes me think of washed denim. J. Herbin’s Bouquet d’Antan is a soft, muted shade of light pink. If the thought of a tropical sea makes you feel relaxed, then try J. Herbin Bleu Azur fountain pen ink.

The PlePle Candy Wrap Pen and Pencil Case is a calming shade of blue.

Personalize your letters or other items by using a brass stamp and J. Herbin Rose colored Supple Sealing Wax.

Shades of blue and pink pastel paper can be found in Clairefontaine’s Multiple Subject Notebooks (small, medium or large) and Clairefontaine Loose Sheets of paper with Graph or French Rules. Exacompta also has pastel colored index cards that are super smooth and their grid lines make it so that any side of the card can be the top.

What are your favorite Rose Quartz and Serenity blue colored pens, paper and ink?

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Frequently Asked Questions about Disc Bound Notebooks

Myndology Luna Disc Bound Notebooks

Myndology Luna Disc Bound Notebooks

Disc bound notebooks have specially punched loose sheets of paper that are bound together by small circular discs. This binding system makes it easy to  customize, organize and re-organize your notebook without ruining your work or your notebook! Companies such as Myndology, Clairefontaine, Levenger, Staples, Atoma and Rollabind have their own versions of disc bound notebooks. We’d like to answer a few frequently asked questions about this style of notebook.

Is the paper interchangeable among the different brands of disc bound notebooks?

The answer is yes and no. The shape of the discs and shape of the hole punched in the paper of many brands of disc bound notebooks (such as Myndology, Clairefontaine, Staples Arc, Levenger Circa, Rollabind, Martha Steward and Atoma) is similar and therefore the paper can be used with different brands of discs. Mixing brands can make it a little bit more difficult to turn pages, so if this bothers you for best results stick to the same brand.

The “no” part of the answer is that paper sizes (and insert sizes) vary from brand to brand which might mean you don’t want to mix brands. For example, if you try to fit a metric A4 size piece of paper (approx 8.25″ x 11.75″) inside an American notebook that takes 8.5″ x 11″ paper, you’ll find that the A4 size paper is too tall so it sticks out the top/bottom of the American notebook. Some medium size American notebooks are 6.5″ x 8.5″, but a metric A5 medium size notebook is 6.5″ X 8.25″ and so on. However, it could be fine if you are using small sheets of paper inside a large size of notebook.

Myndology Sync Disc Bound Notebooks

Myndology Sync Disc Bound Notebooks

Are paper refills available?

Yes, most companies offer a variety of paper refills. One exception is Clairefontaine which, as of this date, has not yet made separate paper refills available for their disc bound notebooks.  A suggestion for Clairefontaine users: If you’re using a Clairefontaine Clairing Koverbook you can buy a cheaper card stock covered Clairefontaine Clairing notebook and use the paper inside that as a refill for your Koverbook. Myndology offers paper refills with college ruled, graph or plain paper.

Myndology Plain Paper Refill

Myndology Plain Paper Refill

Can I punch my own paper and make my own refills?

Yes, several companies offer hole punches so that you can make your own paper refills.

Does it matter what kind of paper I use for making my own refills?

Yes, paper quality and weight do make a difference. Good quality paper that is a heavier weight than your average 20 lb copy paper will give you best results in your disc bound notebook. Clairefontaine disc bound notebooks contain 90 g bright white paper that works beautifully with fountain pens.

Can I use a punch to make my own covers?

Yes, many punches are strong enough to punch through card stock and even light weight plastic.

Can I buy accessories like dividers?

Yes, dividers and other accessories are commonly available. Myndology offers folders with pockets and 8 movable tabs for both medium and large size notebooks. Clairefontaine does not sell accessories separately, instead they include 2 book mark flaps with an integrated clear pockets to store documents, one adhesive label and 5 repositionable polypro dividers with their disc bound medium and large size Koverbooks.

Clairefontaine Clairing Koverbook Accessories

Clairefontaine Clairing Koverbook Accessories

Can I buy discs separately?

Many companies allow you to purchase discs separately so that you can make your own custom disc bound notebooks.  The discs are made from a variety of different materials and come in different colors. Clairefontaine does not make discs available separately, but Myndology does.

Myndology Disc Bound Notebooks with 5/8" Discs

Myndology Disc Bound Notebooks with 5/8″ Discs

Can I get different sizes of discs?

If you buy discs separately, you’ve got a bigger choice of disc size to choose from. We’ve seen discs that range in size anywhere from 3″ to 0.25″.

Of course, products change over time so some of the information in this blog post may change over time too. Do you have any tips you’d like to share about disc bound notebooks? Any questions? New discoveries? Ideas? Let us know!

Clairefontaine Clairing Notebooks with Graph Paper

Clairefontaine Clairing Notebooks with Graph Paper

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Clairefontaine Coloring Books for Grownups Review

Clairefontaine Coloring Book - Flowers

Clairefontaine Coloring Book – Flowers

If you’re looking for a fun and creative way to unwind, Clairefontaine Coloring Books for Grownups are just what you need! Each coloring book contains 36 pages (18 sheets) of drawings that are begging for your imagination and your favorite pens, colored pencils, paints, markers, crayons or ink.

The illustrations vary in the amount of detail and are printed in black ink on white paper. Some of the drawings have printed black backgrounds which provide a dramatic contrast to both bright and pastel colors. Other drawings have enough white space to add your own doodles if you are so inspired. Many of the drawings take several hours to be completely colored, so this book will give you plenty of relaxing coloring time.

Clairefontaine Coloring Book - page with a black background

Clairefontaine Coloring Book – detail of a page with a black background

The Clairefontaine art paper in these coloring books is a hefty 120g and has enough tooth to it that it works well with colored pencils and even wax crayons. To read more details about how a variety different media performs on this paper check out the Life Imitates Doodles blog. I used fountain pen ink, Staedtler triplus fine-tip markers and colored pencils in my own personal Clairefontaine Flowers coloring book. The paper handled all 3 of these things very well. The only bit of ink bleed through that I experienced with this paper was when I used my glass nib pen and liberally doused the paper with fountain pen ink.

Clairefontaine Coloring Book - birch trees colored with fountain pen ink

Clairefontaine Coloring Book – birch trees colored with fountain pen ink

The coloring book is approximately 8″ x 8″ square – very handy for carrying in a backpack, purse or tote. The cover is a heavy weight laminated card stock. The book is glue bound, so I needed to weigh it down a bit in order for it to stay open. The Clairefontaine coloring book for grownups is available in 3 themes: birds, mandalas and flowers.

Have you tried the Clairefontaine Coloring Book for Grownups yet? What’s your favorite art tool for coloring?

Clairefontaine Coloring Book - part of a detailed drawing

Clairefontaine Coloring Book – part of a detailed drawing

Clairefontaine Coloring Book - part of a drawing colored with Staedtler triplus fine-tip markers

Clairefontaine Coloring Book – part of a drawing colored with Staedtler triplus fine-tip markers

Clairefontaine Coloring Book - Leaves colored with pencil crayons

Clairefontaine Coloring Book – Leaves colored with pencil crayons

Clairefontaine Coloring Book - reverse of page colored with fountain pen ink

Clairefontaine Coloring Book – reverse of page colored with a generous amount of fountain pen ink

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Best Paper Tablets for Writing Letters with a Fountain Pen

R by Rhodia - Medium Size, Black Cover

R by Rhodia – Medium Size, Black Cover

Many of us that write with fountain pens still appreciate things like the value of good penmanship and how meaningful a handwritten letter can be. Since electronic communication has replaced much traditional correspondence that was previously written by hand, where does one still find a paper tablet worthy of a personal letter written with a fountain pen? In case you haven’t already discovered them, we want to introduce you to two paper tablets that will inspire you to put your fountain pen to paper and write a letter to a friend!

Clairefontaine Triomphe Stationery Tablet

Clairefontaine Triomphe Stationery Tablet

Clairefontaine paper is considered by many to be the best paper in the world for writing. Their affordable Triomphe Stationery Tablets contain exceptionally smooth velin veloute paper that will make your fountain pen glide across the page. The calcium carbonate in the 90g paper minimizes any fountain pen ink feathering, bleed through or show though that can be a problem with other papers. The paper is bright white which allows your ink colors to really stand out. Clairefontiane paper is acid-free and made from pulp and wood by-products from sustainably managed forests. Triomphe Tablets have a sturdy back cover to give support while writing and the glue binding allows sheets to be easily removed. Each Triomphe Table contains 50 sheets of paper and is available with blank or ruled paper, in 5.75″ x 8.25″ or 8.25″ x 11.75″ sizes. Matching Triomphe envelopes are also available.

Clairefontaine Triomphe Stationery Tablet - Large, Blank Paper

Clairefontaine Triomphe Stationery Tablet – Large, Blank Paper

The paper contained in R by Rhodia Premium Notepads is manufactured by Clairefontaine so you know it’s going to be top quality! It is also a super-smooth 90g that is fabulous when paired with fountain pens, but instead of bright white it is a soft ivory color. These notepads are stapled at the top and each sheet is microperforated so that it can be removed from the notepad with ease. R by Rhodia Notepads have cardboard inside the back cover for extra support and the front cover is scored so that it folds back neatly. Each notepad contains 70 sheets, comes with either blank or lined paper, orange or black cover, and is available in the following sizes: 3.38″ x 4.75″, 6″ x 8.25″, 8.25″ x 11.75″. For more in-depth information about R by Rhodia read our previous blog posts: Introducing R by Rhodia and R by Rhodia vs Original Rhodia Notepads.

R by Rhodia Notepad - Medium Size, Lined Paper

R by Rhodia Notepad – Medium Size, Lined Paper

Do you like to snail mail hand-written letters? What’s your favorite paper writing tablet?

R by Rhodia Notepad - Medium Size, Orange Cover

R by Rhodia Notepad – Medium Size, Orange Cover

 

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Best Paper Notebooks for Left-Handed Writers

If you are left-handed you know what I’m talking about – the binding style and type of paper in a notebook can really make a difference as to how comfortable and functional your notebook is. Here is a list of five of my favorites:

1) Stitch Bound Notebooks. I love writing in journals or notepads with stitched binding! Many of these notebooks are able to open nice and flat which is great for when you’re reaching over the inside margins of the pages to write on the page on the right. There’s no wire spiral or metal rings to get in the way of your reach. In addition, the stitching keeps the pages from falling out.

Journals with sewn binding that I like to use include the Exacompta Forum Journal, Quo Vadis Habana Journal and Rhodia Webnotebook.

Exacompta Forum Journals with a Club Cover

Exacompta Forum Journals with a Club Cover

Quo Vadis Habana Journal in Black

Quo Vadis Habana Journal in Black

Rhodia Webnotebook with an Orange Cover

Rhodia Webnotebook with an Orange Cover

2) Side Staple Notebooks. This type of notebook is functional for the same reasons as the stitch bound notebook. It may not be as classy, but it is usually less expensive and allows for comfortable writing. A few of examples include the Clairefontaine Crok Book Sketch Notebook, Clairefontaine Side Staple Notebooks and Rhodia Side Stapled Notebooks.

Clairefontaine Crok Book Sketch Notebook

Clairefontaine Crok Book Sketch Notebook

Rhodia A4 Side Stapled Notebook

Rhodia A4 Side Stapled Notebook

3) Top Staple or Top Wire Notebooks. Top staple or top wire notepads work pretty well for a lefty. The only awkwardness occurs when writing near the top of the page where the spiral or staples are. This is the only type of wirebound notebook that I prefer to use for writing. To try: Rhodia Top Staple Notepads, Rhodia Top Wire Notepads, Clairefontaine Top Staple Notepads and Clairefontaine Top Wire Notepads.

Clairefontaine A4 Top Wire Notepad

Clairefontaine A4 Top Wire Notepad

4) Glue Bound Notepads. Most glue binding provides a nice flat surface for writing without any obstacles to get in the way of your hand. Sometimes, glue bound notepads tend to want to snap shut or their pages break loose and fall out when they aren’t supposed to. Of course, these problems are annoying to both right-handed and left-handed writers. A couple of glue bound notepads with tear-off pages that I like are the Leuchtturm1917 A4 Academy Pad and the Clairefontaine Triomphe Writing Tablet.

5) Non-Smearing Paper. I’m not sure if there is such a thing as paper that completely prevents ink from smearing as I write, but I do know that depending on what writing instrument I’m using, some paper stops ink from smearing better than others. Sometimes I’ll choose what notebook to use depending on what I’m writing with that day. Leuchtturm1917 notebooks include a nice quality paper that works well for me when I’m using Pentel Energel pens (I’ve found that I can write with Energel pens even though I constantly smear the ink of most other gel pens) or fountain pens.

Leuchtturm1917 Journal in Pink

Leuchtturm1917 Journal in Pink

Are you a lefty? What kind of notebooks do you love to write in?

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5 Eco-Friendly Supplies for Back to School

1. Clairefontaine Notebooks

Clairefontaine has been making paper in France since 1858 and they are committed to controlling the environmental impact of their manufacturing process. They also happen to make notebooks in all sorts of formats that are great for school!

  • This paper is made from materials sourced from certified sustainable forests.
  • Clairefontaine recycles water, and when it leaves their paper mill this water is cleaner than when it arrived.
  • Their paper is chlorine-free.
  • Natural water-based vegetable oil pigment ink is used in printing.
  • Clairefontaine supplies 80% of their own energy needs.
  • They practice recycling and waste reduction.

2. Fountain Pen & Ink

Just how many disposable pens does one student use throughout their entire time spent in school? How about a multitude of students? It’s hard to even imagine the quantity of plastic pens tossed into the trash. Switch to a good fountain pen and you’ve got a pen that can last a lifetime! If you fill your fountain pen with bottled fountain pen ink, you’ll eliminate the need to throw away empty plastic ink cartridges refills. To use bottled ink you’ll want to be sure you have an ink converter or a piston-fill (or similar) fountain pen. Filling a fountain pen with bottled ink while you’re on the road or at school can be a little bit tricky, so I carry 2 fountain pens loaded with ink with me on those intense note-taking days.

LAMY Safari Fountain Pen & Ink

LAMY Safari Fountain Pen & Ink

3. Refillable Highlighters

Highlighters are another plastic writing tool that usually get tossed in the trash when they’re dried up. Take another step to help ease the strain on the environment by using refillable highlighters. There are many refillable highlighter options you’ve probably never thought of.

Staedtler Textsurfer Classic Highlighter

Staedtler Textsurfer Classic Highlighter

4. Book Darts

Book Darts are paper-thin metal line-markers that slide onto the page of a book and are used as place-finders for facts, quotes, key points and passages that you want to refer to later. They do not stain or damage paper and eliminate the need to highlight, underline, bend page corners or use paper clips or sticky notes. These light-weight metal darts can be reused over and over again for a lifetime. You don’t have to know all the answers, just where to find them!

Book Darts

Book Darts

5. Quo Vadis Academic Planner

What makes Quo Vadis academic planners different than other academic planners? They are full of earth-friendly Clairefontaine paper and most of them have covers that can be refilled every year with a new calendar insert. In addition, your fountain pen will write amazingly well on super-smooth 90g Clairefontaine paper. Academic planners are the must have tool to juggle a busy class schedule.

 

Quo Vadis Minister Academic Planner

Quo Vadis Minister Academic Planner

What environmentally friendly back to school supplies would you like to recommend?

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Dot Grid Paper: Think Outside the Box and Color Outside the Lines

Have you tried dot grid paper? It’s the new freckled kid on the block! In contrast to traditional wide rule, college rule, narrow rule, French rule, graph, grid, blank or plain paper, dot grid paper has a grid of evenly spaced dots designed to be subtle guides for your writing or sketching. Frequently these dots are spaced at 5mm intervals across the page and could be compared to the intersections of the lines on 5mm graph paper. However, since there are only light colored dots instead of the busy lines on graph paper, the dotted format is a much less intrusive way to guide your pen or pencil across the page.

If you wanted to give dotted paper a try, what options are available to you? This blog post is our shopping guide to some of the dot grid paper we love.

Dot Grid Paper Journals

Rhodia Webnotebook - Medium, Orange, Dot Grid

Rhodia Webnotebook with Dot Grid Paper

The dotted Rhodia Webnotebook has deliciously smooth ivory colored 90g paper that pairs well with fountain pens. The Italian leatherette hard-cover comes in either orange or black, and the journal comes in both medium and pocket sizes.

 

Leuchtturm 1917 Hard Cover Dots Notebook - Gray Cover

Leuchtturm 1917 Hard Cover Dots Notebook – Gray Cover

Leuchtturm1917 makes a classy hard cover journal with quality 80g off-white dot grid paper. A cool feature of these journals is that they have numbered pages and a blank table of contents so that you can easily find your place when you need to.

Dotted Reporter Style Notebooks

Rhodia Webnotepad - 3.5 x 5.5, Black, Dot Grid

Rhodia Reporter Style Webnotepad – 3.5 x 5.5, Black, Dot Grid

When you need to take notes or make sketches on the go a reporter style notepad sure comes in handy. Take some dotted paper on the road with the Rhodia Webnotepad.

Dot Grid Top-Stapled Notepads

Rhodia DotPad No. 18 - 8.25 x 11.75" Black Cover

Rhodia DotPad No. 18 – 8.25 x 11.75″ Black Cover

Rhodia DotPads have bright white paper with a 5mm grid of pale violet dots. These notepads are so versatile you can use them just about anywhere!

Dot Grid Sketch Pads

Clairefontaine Graf it 90g Sketch Pad - 6x8, Dot Grid Paper

Clairefontaine Graf it 90g Sketch Pad – 6×8″, Dot Grid Paper

When you frequently use a pencil for writing or drawing, paper with just the right amount of tooth is much appreciated. The Clairefontaine Graf it Sketch Pad has white 90g acid-free paper with a subtle grid of pale violet dots. These notepads are versatile enough to be used as either a sketchbook or a notebook.

What’s your favorite dot grid paper? What do you like to use it for?

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Six Essential Back to School Supplies for 2013

Back to school is an especially exciting time for pen, pencil and paper geeks. All of those fresh school supplies in your backpack and new writing instruments in your pencil case are almost reason enough to go back to school! Here at Writer’s Bloc we are especially fond of these things and have a few suggestions for your back to school arsenal.

1) Notebooks

Need a lot of new notebooks? Check out our quantity discounts to see if there are any of your favorite Clairefontaine or Rhodia notebooks such as this set of 10 medium size lined Clairefontaine side-staple notebooks. Don’t see the notebook you’re looking for? Email us and we’ll give you a quantity discount quote. We’ve carefully planned our quantity discounts to give you the best value on both shipping and notebook price.

2) Academic Planner

Keep yourself organized with an academic planner that is specially designed to keep track of your schedule throughout the school year. The Quo Vadis Academic Minister includes 13 months of plans that run from July of one year through July of the following year. Its 8 am to 9 pm weekly schedule spread over two pages gives lots of room for tracking a detailed action-packed schedule. For something quite similar, only pocket-size, take a look at the Quo Vadis University Pocket Planner.

Staedtler Textsurfer Classic Highlighters

Staedtler Textsurfer Classic Highlighters

3) Highlighters

No school year would be complete without lots of highlighters for studying. The Staedtler Textsurfer Classic Highlighter is one of my favorites since it stands up to heavy use, can be used with inkjet printouts and can be re-inked with the Textsurfer Classic refill station. For something completely different try a Staedtler Textsurfer Gel highlighter. It has a soft wax lead that glides over paper effortlessly and will never bleed through, even on the thinnest paper.

Le Petit Prince Pencil Case by 7321 Story

Le Petit Prince Pencil Case by 7321 Story

4) Pen & Pencil Case

Corral your pens, pencils and highlighters with a flat-bottom pencil case that will sit upright on your desk. 7321 Story’s fabric Le Petit Prince Pencil Case is decorated with whimsical illustrations from the storybook by Antoine de Saint Exupery. If soft sheepskin leather is more your style the Clairefontaine Basics Square pencil case holds a good quantity of your favorite writing instruments.

Myndology Disc Bound Index Cards

Myndology Disc Bound Index Cards

5) Index Cards

Index cards are a useful tool for studying, collecting quotations, making flash cards and more. Keep your index cards in order and re-order them anytime you like with Myndology’s disc bound index cards. Exacompta index cards have grid lines so they can be used in whatever direction you want to turn them, can be color coded since they come in a pack with a variety of colors and as a bonus work well with fountain pens.  Myndology and Exacompta index cards are lined on both sides to make the most of each card.

Palomino Blackwing Pencils

Palomino Blackwing Pencils

6) Pencils & Art Supplies

Need to erase mistakes? Planning on taking a drawing and sketching class? Palomino Blackwing Pencils constantly get rave reviews from artists who prefer a soft, dark line! They are also available with a firmer lead for both writing and drawing as the Blackwing 602 pencil. Pair these pencils with a Clairefontaine Graf it sketch pad and you’ll be all set for class.

These are some of our favorite paper and writing related tools for back to school 2013. What are some of your favorites?

 

 

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Quo Vadis Scholar #55 Academic Planner Review

Quo Vadis Scholar #55 Academic Planner is a weekly, desk-sized agenda designed for both teachers and students alike. It has an open format that makes it easy to track when your assignments and papers are due, and keeps test dates and other activities organized. It is an academic planner which means it starts with the month of August and ends with the month of July of the following year. It’s a welcome addition to Writer’s Bloc this season. What features make it a useful organizing tool?

The Quo Vadis Scholar begins with a page for personal information including such details as name, address, email and important medical information. Across from this page is one ruled page for notes. Then comes a 2-page Monday through Saturday Time Schedule with half hour increments starting at 8:00am and ending at 9:00pm (it assumes that you are taking Sundays off). It seems that it would be a good idea to fill this in with pencil since schedules tend to change over time. The lines from Noon to 2:00pm are printed with grey to help you keep track of when your lunch break might occur in relation to the rest of the day.

There are two annual planning pages that cover one school year – starting with July of one year to the end of June in the following year. Each month has one column with a box for priorities on the top, and small spaces beneath for each day of the month. These pages allow you to see a general outline of your yearly plans at a glance.

The Scholar has an “open format.” In other words, each day of the weekly plan is not broken down into hourly increments, rather, each day has a space with several lines for freestyle planning in whatever format you want. It has one week on two pages: the top of the left page starts with Monday and the bottom of the right page ends with Sunday. Underneath each weekday date is a small area for noting daily priorities. Other details included in the weekly plan are the month number, the week of the year number, the day of the year number, lunar cycles and holidays.

A set of world maps in grey tones follows the end of the weekly plans. Map pages include: North America, Canada, USA, South America, Australia & New Zealand, Europe, Asia and Africa.

The Scholar includes a small address book section.

If you like to write with fountain pens the Scholar is a good choice since most versions of this planner contain 90g white Clairefontaine paper (except for the Basic and Equology covers which contain 89g recycled paper). Besides being super-smooth to write on, this paper reduces ink feathering and bleed through, is acid-free, pH neutral and is PEFC certified. For a list of other fountain pen friendly planners you can take a look at our list under the blog post “Fountain Pen Friendly Planners.”

The binding is sewn to keep pages from falling out and the lower corner of each page has a tear-off perforation you can use to help you find your place. The page size of this planner is approximately 6 1/4” x 9 3/8”. The Quo Vadis Scholar academic agenda can be purchased with a refillable cover that’s available in different colors and materials such as Texas Vinyl, Club, Soho and Equology. If you don’t want a refillable cover you can get the Scholar with a Python or Noir Spiral cover. (The equivalent Quo Vadis calendar year planner beginning with January and ending with December is the Hebdo #56.)

What’s your favorite academic planning diary and academic planner format?

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