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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Exacompta Refillable Pocket Journal Review

Exacompta Pocket Journals are adorable yet sophisticated notebooks for your purse, pocket, briefcase or backpack. They are the perfect size for journaling on the go or while traveling.

The gold-colored page edges of the pocket journal add a touch of class to the high quality paper it contains. The paper is made in France by Clairefontaine and has the exceptionally smooth finish that is the hallmark of their writing paper. Even though the journal is only 1/2″ thick, it contains 192 sheets of lined ivory paper. The lines are light grey, are spaced 7 mm apart and do not go all the way to the edge of the page. To fit so many pages into such a compact size, Exacompta has used a light-weight yet strong 55 g paper.

The journal insert is covered in a flexible, textured. light brown colored cardboard. The sewn binding enables you to open it without fear of the pages coming loose and falling out. Each page is perforated in the lower right corner so if you tear off the corners as you go, you can easily open to the current unused page. The ribbon bookmark is glued to the outside of the top of the spine which is okay because even though you can use the insert on its own, the journal is usually paired with a stylish refillable cover. Without the cover, the insert is about 3.5″ x 5″, with the cover it is about 4″ x 5.5″ in size.

Three styles of refillable covers are available for the Exacompta Pocket Journal: Club, Soho and Mignon full calf leather. All of them are stitched around the edges and when taken care of can last for many years. The refillable covers have pockets on the inside that the cardboard cover of the journal refill slides into. The Club and Soho covers are both made of a sturdy leatherette, the difference being that the Club cover is textured/grained and the Soho cover is smooth.

From my own personal experience, if you want to use both sides of each page, I would recommend writing with fine tip gel pens, ballpoint pens or pencil. Fountain pen ink tends to bleed through this light-weight paper. Medium and broad tip gel pens tended to bleed through the paper as well. Check out the scan of the writing test below and see what you think.

Do you carry a journal with you when you travel? What are your favorite pocket-size journals?

Exacompta Pocket Journal Writing Test - Front

Exacompta Pocket Journal Writing Test – Front

Exacompta Pocket Journal Writing Test - Back

Exacompta Pocket Journal Writing Test – Back


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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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Inspired by Radiant Orchid Pantone Color of the Year 2014

Radiant Orchid - Pantone's Color of the Year 2014

Radiant Orchid – Pantone’s Color of the Year 2014

The Pantone color of the year for 2014 is Radiant Orchid, a purple-pink that is described by Pantone with these eloquent words:

“An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.”

If you find this color to be inspiring and would like to add this color family to your daily arsenal of paper, journals, ink and writing instruments we have some suggestions for you.

Exacompta Forum Journals

Exacompta Forum Journals

Exacompta Journal with a Lilac Club Cover

The sturdy leatherette Lilac Club cover on this Exacompta journal can be refilled over and over again with 190 sheet refills in graph, blank or undated 365/lined paper.

Rhodiarama Webnotebooks Purple - A5 & A6 Sizes

Rhodiarama Webnotebooks in Purple – A5 & A6 Sizes

Rhodiarama Webnotebook in Purple

Rhodia’s Webnotebook contains some of the best quality paper you’ll ever find, plus you can get it with a purple Italian leatherette cover. Available in both A5 and A6 sizes.

LAMY AL-Star Fountain Pen Purple

LAMY AL-Star Fountain Pen Purple

LAMY Al-Star Fountain Pen – Purple

The LAMY Al-Star purple aluminum fountain pen is a very deep, dark shade of purple-pink – we might even call it Midnight Orchid.

Zebra Optex Highlighters

Zebra Optex Highlighters

Zebra Optex Highlighter in Purple-Pink

We were excited to discover that Zebra Optex highlighters include a Radiant Orchid shade of purple-pink!

Pentel Energel Alloy RT BL407 Gel Pen - Metallic Pink

Pentel Energel Alloy RT BL407 Gel Pen – Metallic Pink

Pentel Energel Alloy Gel Pen in Metallic Pink with Violet Ink Refill

The Pentel Energel Metallic Pink Gel Pen is made from a long-lasting aluminum alloy and can be refilled with a great shade of Violet Energel ink (refills purchased separately).

Pilot Iroshizuku Fountain Pen Ink - Crimson Glory Vine (Yama-budo)

Pilot Iroshizuku Fountain Pen Ink – Crimson Glory Vine (Yama-budo)

Pilot Iroshizuku Fountain Pen Ink – Crimson Glory Vine

This is our biggest temptation when it comes to Radiant Orchid shades of ink – Pilot Iroshizuku Fountain Pen Ink in Crimson Glory Vine (or yama-budo). Such a beautiful glass bottle too!

Noodler's Ink - Saguaro Wine

Noodler’s Ink – Saguaro Wine

Noodler’s Ink – Saguaro Wine

Noodler’s has such a huge variety of fountain pen ink we’re not surprised to find this Radiant Orchid shade of Saguaro Wine. It’s made in America too.

J. Herbin Fountain Pen Ink - Larmes de Cassis

J. Herbin Fountain Pen Ink – Larmes de Cassis

J. Herbin Fountain Pen Ink – Larmes de Cassis

The name Larmes de Cassis means “Tears of Blackcurrant” and according to J. Herbin it is the symbol of grievance and penitence (Tears).

Platinum Fountain Pen Ink - Silky Purple

Platinum Fountain Pen Ink – Silky Purple

Platinum Mix Free Fountain Pen Ink – Silky Purple

Platinum’s Silky Purple Mix-Free fountain pen ink can safely be combined with other Mix-Free inks to create custom shades of fountain pen ink. We like the Radiant Orchid purple-pink shade of this ink just the way it is!

Other fountain pen inks that belong to the Radiant Orchid purple-pink color family include:

These are just a few paper, pen and ink supplies that can add more Radiant Orchid purple-pink to your home or office desk. What Radiant Orchid stationery supplies do you find inspiring?

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New! Texas Covers for Quo Vadis Planners

New affordable and refillable Texas covers from Quo Vadis and Exacompta Prestige are available for both 2012/2013 academic planners and 2013 appointment books. These covers are available for at least 30 different planner formats, so we were excited to finally see them in person.

Texas covers are made from an incredibly soft, velvety suede-like material. They have a matte finish and are available in 5 lightly-marbled colors this year: vibrant shades of blue, red or bamboo green, muted violet purple and classic charcoal grey. The front of these covers has a matching decorative area that I would suspect is designed to mimic the appearance of a strap closure on a leather journal. The Texas cover is very flexible, compact and light-weight. Since it is refillable, inside both the front and back cover there are pockets that the cover of your planner refill can slide into.

Notably, Quo Vadis assures us that the vinyl material ‘does not contain PVC – making them one of the few manufacturers to be fully in accord with California’s Proposition 65 environmental regulations.’

The edges of the Texas covers are not saddle stitched like Quo Vadis’ Club and Soho covers. Rather, the edges of the Texas cover are embossed to look as if there is stitching. Since these covers are new this year, their durability has yet to be seen. We would guess that the Club and Soho covers are made to last longer, but those covers are also more expensive. With our present struggling economy, the Texas cover is a colorful new option that can save you a few dollars.

Do you like to use Quo Vadis or Exacompta date books with refillable covers? What’s your favorite cover and planner format?


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Exacompta Journal 21 Daily Calendar Review

Journal 21 by Exacompta Paris is a refillable daily planner made with delightfully smooth Clairefontaine paper. The format of Journal 21 is ideal for both advance planning or as a diary recording each day’s thoughts one day at a time. Each day has twenty-seven 6mm narrow ruled lines with time increments listed on the far left. The Clairefontaine paper inside Journal 21 is 72g and it is tinted a very soft green color with blue and grey/black print.

Journal 21 measures about 5 1/4” x 8 1/4” – similar in size to the large Rhodia Webnotebook but it’s thicker and a the pages are about 1/4” less wide. It has a stitched binding to keep it from falling apart and to help it to open flat. The bottom corner of each page is perforated and can be torn off after each day is completed so that you can easily find your place. If you buy Journal 21 with a Club or Soho cover an elastic Quo Vadis bookmark can be purchased as an accessory that comes in handy to mark your place and keep your planner securely closed. An additional feature to help you navigate this planner is that the names of the months are printed in blue boxes that are visible on the page edges and they are staggered from top to bottom like tabs would be.

(Journal 21 with a blue Club cover)

Journal 21 comes with a few different durable and refillable cover options. Current cover options can be viewed at Writer’s Bloc. There is the stitched, grained leatherette Club cover that comes in several different colors.

(Journal 21 with black Soya cover)

The Soya cover – now replaced by the Soho cover – has different color choices and it is also saddle stitched, but this leather-like material has a smooth finish.

There is a Texas vinyl cover that comes in several colors and it has a soft faux-suede finish. Of course, you can always make your own cover or just use the Journal 21 refill as it is with its plain, white cardboard cover.

Journal 21 begins with a title page followed by a page that records useful personal information including emergency contact info and where the planner can be returned to if it happens to get lost. There is a list of dates for US holidays during the current planner year and the following year, as well as major world holidays of the current year (covers 11 countries: Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland). There’s a page with a whole bunch of international telephone access codes and another page showing a map of the US with time zones.

Following all of that there is a semi-annual planner that spans 6 pages and covers a year and a half of plans – for the 2012 planner it includes July 2011 through December 2012.

Next comes a monthly plan that covers 16 months – for 2012 it covers November 2011 all the way through February of 2013. Each month shows the previous month and following month on the bottom of the page. Saturdays and Sundays are combined into one column on the right to save space.

The daily calendar has one day per page and covers 8am to 9pm plans broken down into half hour increments. The page on the left shows the current month with the current week in a bold font, and the right page displays the following month. Each day also shows which day number it is out of 365, and which week number of the year it is. The very top of the page lists the current date and day of the week.

The back of Journal 21 includes a yearly planner for the following year, in this case it is for 2013.

Lastly, there is a fourteen page alphabetical address, phone number and email section.

The paper performed pretty well with all types of pens including fountain pens (minus the Sharpie pen ink bleed-through). In order to prevent this diary from being too thick and heavy, the paper weight is 72g which does allow some of the ink to show through to the back side of the page, although I personally did not feel that it was overly bad. Journal 21’s soft green paper has the beautifully smooth finish that most Clairefontaine paper has which means that fountain pen ink does take a little while to dry. Take a look at the writing test and see what you think:

(Writing test – front)

(Writing test – back)

Journal 21 has a lot of great features to help you plan a successful year. Do you use Exacompta Journal 21? What’s your favorite daily planner?


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Fountain Pen Friendly Planners

Many people consider paper to be fountain pen friendly if it has the ability to prevent the following three problems: ink feathering, ink bleed through and show through of your writing (so that you can clearly write on both sides of the page).

Quo Vadis, Exacompta and Rhodia planners all have very high quality paper, and I would have to say their planners with 90g paper are the most suited for use with your beloved fountain pen. I’ve compiled a list of which of these planners contain 90g paper:

Weekly Planners with white 90g paper:

Rhodia WebPlanner 6×9
Prenote #24
President #16
Trinote #48
Minister #15
Executive #14

Weekly Planners with colored 90g paper:

Space 24 – soft green paper
Visual – soft green paper
Note #27 – ivory paper
Minister #15 – cream paper for the Habana and Smooth covers (discontinued)

Monthly Planners with white 90g paper:

Monthly 4 #76
Visoplan #67

Academic Planners with white 90g paper:

Academic Minister #34
Septanote #49
Principal #31
Scholar #55

I must also mention that the Quo Vadis Exaplan #66 21-month planner has 85g white paper. This paper likely performs almost as well as the standard 90g Clairefontaine paper.

As as lefty over-writer, my own personal requirements for fountain pen friendly paper are a bit different. In addition to the three requirements mentioned in the first paragraph, the ink must also dry fairly quickly on the paper to avoid smearing or I end up not wanting to use it. I compensate for this partly by choosing ink that dries reasonably quickly, but I am willing to compromise somewhat on the bleed-through, feathering and show-through issues to speed up the ink drying time.  I do well with the ink-proof paper inside Leuchtturm1917 planners. I believe this paper is typically 80g, so there is more show-through compared to a 90g paper. This issue may bother you, however to my liking, ink seems to dry more quickly on Leuchtturm1917 paper than it does on Clairefontaine paper.

While they are still in stock many of these planners with a variety of different covers can be found at Writer’s Bloc. If you see something you want and we don’t have it please feel free to ask if we can special order it. Planner season is upon us (what happened to summer?) – get your fountain pen friendly planner now before they’re gone!

What’s your favorite fountain pen friendly planner?


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Exacompta Paper Chart

Exacompta makes planners, journals, sketchbooks and index cards with a variety of high quality papers. Some of the paper is a little different than the usual Clairefontaine and Rhodia paper that many of you may be used to using. For example, some of their planners such as the popular Journal 21 and Space 24 weekly agenda contain a light green tinted paper. Other planners such as the Daily Pocket diary contain light-weight but sturdy ivory paper to help make them as compact as possible. The Basics Journal and Sketchbook both contain 100g paper that is 25% cotton with a laid finish. Exacompta Index Cards are made from a 205g stock in soft pastel colors and they work beautifully with a fountain pen! You can check out Exaclair’s Exacompta paper chart to get some insight into the specific paper used in each product.

Product Weight Description
Forum Journals / Refills 64 g White paper, 365 daily undated, blank, graph, cloth bound
Club Journals / Refills 64 g White paper, 365 daily undated, blank, graph
Pocket Journal 55 g Ivory, gold edged paper, ruled, cloth bound
Basics Journal 100 g Off-white, gold or silver edged paper, cloth bound
Basics Sketchbook 100 g Laid finish, 25% cotton, off-white paper, blank, silver edged, cloth bound
Index Cards / Bristol Cards 205 g Graph, subtle pastel colors – yellow, pink, green, blue
Visual Weekly Agenda 90 g Green-tinted paper
Space 24 Weekly Agenda 90 g Green-tinted paper
Journal 21 Daily Agenda 72 g Green-tinted paper
Space 17 55 g Ivory Paper
Daily Pocket 55 g Ivory Paper


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Dual-Purpose Planners With Room For Notes

Do you have the kind of life that involves both scheduling appointments and taking notes? You could carry around two books to accomplish this purpose, one planner and one notebook. Or, you could simplify your life and take along just one planner that has room for both planning and note taking!

If you prefer using daily planners with room for notes on each day of the week, you may like the Quo Vadis Notor with a small 8am – 7pm plan at the top of each page and a larger area underneath for notes. Exacompta’s Forum journal in the undated 365 format is quite similar with the biggest difference being that it is undated so that you can start your planning on any day of any year.

Exacompta Forum Undated 365 Planner & Journal

Another daily desk diary that could possibly accommodate notes is Exacompta Journal 21. The planning schedule runs down almost the entire length of the left side of each page, but if your appointment notes are brief then you’ve got plenty of room for notes on the right side of each page. Interestingly, this planner has 72g paper in a soft green color.

Exacompta Journal 21 Daily Appointment Book

If you’d like to have a weekly planner with a space for notes each week, Exacompta Space 17 and the new 4×6 Rhodia WebPlanner are two pocket-size planners with this format. Both of these diaries have Monday through Saturday planning on the left page and Sunday’s plan on the bottom of the right page with a larger space above for notes. The Rhodia WebPlanner has white graph paper for notes, while Space 17 has ivory lined paper for notes.

Exacompta Space 17 Weekly Planner

Rhodia Weekly WebPlanner 4×6 size

Larger size weekly desk diaries with space for weekly notes include the 6×9 Rhodia WebPlanner and Exacompta Space 24. Rhodia’s WebPlanner has Monday through Sunday plans on the left and almost a full page of graph paper for notes on the right. There are 3 small months on the bottom of the right page. Space 24 has Monday through Friday plans on the left page, Saturday and Sunday plans on the bottom of the right page and lined paper above for notes. The largest Quo Vadis planner with room for notes on the right page is Note 27 at 8 1/4” x 10 1/2”.

Rhodia Weekly WebPlanner 6×9 size

Exacompta Space 24 Weekly Desk Diary

The Quo Vadis Monthly 4 Calendar includes 16 ruled pages in the back for taking notes. If you’re not going to use the address book pages for your contacts these 5 narrow ruled pages could also be used for note taking. Since the 90g paper in this planner is made by Clairefontaine it is also fantastic for writers that use fountain pens.

Quo Vadis Monthly 4 address & notes pages

Quo Vadis Monthly 4 address & notes pages

Moleskine makes both a Weekly Planner Plus Notes and a Monthly Planner Plus Notes.

To see the full range of yearly planners and undated planners at Writer’s Bloc please visit our website!

Do you take notes in your planner? What is your favorite planner and format?


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Exacompta Club Leatherette Journal with Exacompta Basics Refill Review

I’ve used my Exacompta Club Leatherette Journal regularly for three years now and still have not grown tired of it.

These refillable journals are made with a leather-like, grained cover material that is sturdy and holds up well over time. I can’t even see any wear yet on my three-year-old cover. Since these covers are so durable it’s nice that they can be refilled over and over again.

The cover opens easily and the journal lays nice and flat. I love this! It is currently available in eight different colors, from a conservative black to an energizing orange. A color for every personality! I have an older bright green color that was originally named “bamboo”.

The edges of the cover are stitched and the Exacompta Basics refill fits easily into pockets inside the front and back covers. These pockets can get in the way of writing when using the first and last several pages of the journal. I solved this problem by making a cardboard cut-out that is twice the size of the page size (about 9” x 6 5/8” total). I fold the cardboard in half (4 1/2” x 6 5/8” folded) and slide half of it into the pocket so that it doesn’t slide around or fall out. The other half of the cardboard folds over the top of the pocket to provide a smooth writing surface until I use up enough pages that this is no longer an issue. Then I remove the cardboard until I need it again, which isn’t for quite awhile since there are 200 sheets of paper in this journal.

The Exacompta Basics refills have a stitched binding so that pages do not fall out and the refill will open flat. The paper inside is white, pH neutral, acid-free, 64g and has a smooth-satin finish.

When you take the Club Leatherette cover off the Exacompta Basics refill you’ll find its cover is a brown, textured cardboard with a cloth spine. Old versions of the Basics refill had ribbon bookmarks, but the new versions do not. It’s still easy to find your place though since the bottom of each page has a perforated tear-off corner.

The front and back end sheets are glued to the Basics refill cover, so when inserting the refill into the Club cover I like to insert the cardboard cover as well as one page.

The Basics refill is available with three different paper options: blank, graph, and undated 365 so that you can use this journal as a planner. There are also Notor and Textagenda daily planners available with the same size Club Leatherette covers (Notor 2012 planners will be available soon,  Textagenda 2011/2012 academic planners are available now). Although blank paper is my favorite, in addition it would be nice to see Exacompta make a ruled Basics refill as well.

The size of the Exacompta Club Leatherette Journal is a handy 5” x 7”. The Basics refill is about 4 3/4” x 6 3/4”. The cover is flexible and in your hand it has a nice book-like feel.

Is this journal fountain pen friendly? I guess my answer would have to be mostly no. Most of my fountain pens bleed through and show through this paper. As a left-handed writer I really like this paper since I can have the nice smooth Clairefontaine finish that my fountain pen glides across, but it is more absorbent than regular 90g Clairefontaine paper so the ink dries quickly. This is crucial for me to prevent a smeary ink mess. If I want to use both sides of the page I need to stick to a fine nib and only use certain inks or use a gel or ballpoint pen. However, if you don’t mind using up your journal more quickly, you can just use one side of the page like I do sometimes. There are 200 sheets so for me it lasts quite awhile.

Do you use any Exacompta Club covers or Basics journals? Which are your favorites?

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