Another day, another notebook… But wait! This is a new brand! Around the time that I got in contact with Karen from Exaclair, I also got in contact with Laura from Kikkerland. Kikkerland Design Inc. is an American branch of a company which also has a location in Holland. Located on Broadway in New York City, this company truly caught my attention. Their website “about us” sections states, “Since 1992, the folks at Kikkerland Design have traveled the world in search of original designs for things that can make life more enjoyable. Clever things to intrigue you. Smart things that make everyday tasks easier. And gentle things that make you feel happier when you use them.” In addition to novelty and useful items such as bookends, mouse pads, clocks, calendars, and doormats; Kikkerland also produces the Writersblok brand of notebooks and are now the North American distributor of the Leuchtturm1917 brand from Germany. When I contacted Laura, she said that she would be more than happy to send me some samples of their products, and when I received a box from their processing location in Dallas, I discovered (to my delight, and eventually to your delight) a huge amount of Kikkerland, Writersblok, and Leuchtturm1917 products for me to try, review, and perhaps even (ok, you know I will) pass on to others. I definitely recommend you visit their website, if not for their stationery products, then to just check out some of the cool, quirky items they offer for everyday living… One more thing that I noticed about Kikkerland is the fact that 2% of every Writersblok notebook sold goes to support local creative non-profits such as 826NYC and Publicolor.
I must admit, that when I took the (recyclable) polystyrene packaging off this notebook that I was impressed. The cover is a soft leather-like plastic material (Leuchtturm’s website wasn’t very descriptive about what material it is, perhaps vinyl?) which is glued to the cardstock cover of the notebook signatures. The only indicator of the brand is a small embossed Leuchtturm1917 logo on the bottom of the back cover. The notebook was well-bound and very flexible. If you’ve ever read other blogs and seen reviews of the Leuchtturm brand soft covers, you’ve probably seen photos of them rolling them up or folding them in half. While I didn’t do that, due to the fact that I may be giving it or some of the other products away (I like them to be in relatively new condition), I test it’s flexibility somewhat just to satisfy my curiosity. As I mentioned before, it is well bound and also (with a bit of persuasion at first) lies open flat, which is definitely a benefit for this left-handed blogger.
Along with each and every single Leuchtturm1917 notebook is included a small card with a thank you note from the manufacturer, a brief company/product history pamphlet, and a sheet of labels to help you archive your notebooks. Along with these labels, Leuchtturm also was thoughtful enough to include a page index in the front of their notebook, allowing you to keep track of what page you wrote a particular set of notes on. Yup, the pages are numbered… “You mean I don’t have to go through and number them myself?” Nope… Each of the notebook’s 121 pages has a small pages number at the bottom right of the page.
So, let’s talk about the paper. When I first opened the notebook, the cream-colored, acid-free, ink-proof, 80 gsm paper definitely caught my attention. It’s extremely smooth. I could feel no tooth at all with my fingers and none of the pens that I tried on it seemed to scratch at all. The print on the page is in a light grey/brown (I actually couldn’t quite discern what color it was) blends well with the color of the paper, but it was an extreme pain to photograph and even scan. Each photo or scan that I took would not show the lines or type on the page (a great thing at times, but horrible when you’re trying to review a product). I eventually had to take partial photos at an angle to show the type on the page.
Now, how did the ink test go? Eh, not so well… I was slightly disappointed in the drying time of this paper. While the Habana I used yesterday seemed to suck any leftover ink into the page, drying almost instantly, the Leuchtturm let it lie on top, and it smudged if I accidentally brushed it or rand my finger over it. Since I’m left-handed, this is something that I look very closely at when I buy notebooks and pens, as it’s a major hassle to wash ink off my hand as well as to decipher smudged notes. The pencil, ballpoints, rollerballs, and ball-gels seemed to do fine, but all of the gel pens and fountain pens (my two favorites) that I tried smudged if I was not careful. Also, when I tried the highlighter on the 0.38mm Pilot G-2 (which lays down a minimal amount of ink) it smeared horribly, but that was due to the fact that the ink hadn’t dried. While not a total killer for me, the fact that the first pen I usually reach for is a gel or fountain pen, means I’ll have to put thought into using one of these frequently. Also, while these notebooks claim to be ink proof, the Noodler’s Bulletproof Lexington Grey that I tried on it feathered as well as bled through if I was not careful. Otherwise, it held up relatively well.
These notebooks feature 121 pages for notes, each labeled with “Datum/Date:” and a page number at the bottom, and 22 lines spaced 6 mm apart. The first page features a name and address line on cardstock and the next 3-4 pages are table of contents. Also featured is an elastic closure, inside back cover pocket for notes, a place mark, and the last 8 pages are perforated for easy removal (I used the last page in the book for my ink test, that way I didn’t damage any of the signatures).
So, for the final verdict: I truly enjoyed this notebook up until I hit the ink problem… But after I found that ballpoints, rollerballs, and pencils don’t have that problem, I reopened my mind to their use. The quality of the notebook is excellent, and it definitely is a deal in cost compared to a Moleskine. I didn’t really have much trouble with the Platinum Preppy Ink or the Parker Quink, so I could still see myself possibly carrying one of these in my jacket pocket for when I need to quickly jot something down (and since I write for my college paper, it’s a distinct possibility). Still, an excellent offering from Kikkerland…