I am almost completely digital in my day-to-day life at this point. I keep all files and notes on my devices and use as little paper as possible. I deal with bills and money online. I store my photos online. I file documents using cloud services. I stream music and movies online. When I use ink, it is usually digital ink, thank to my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. At this point, I rarely pick up a pen and paper for anything. As you can imagine, my handwriting has suffered a bit in all of this.
All that said, when Pad & Quill reached out to ask if I would be interested in reviewing these notebooks, I was intrigued. First of all, the quality of their products is well-known, and their reputation speaks for itself. While I may be more qualified to test their products geared toward Apple products, I’m always interested in taking a look at something that I know is well made. Also, sometimes it is good to take a step back from all things digital and go back to good old pen and paper.
Pad & Quill’s new Linen Journal Notebooks come in two different sizes. The small version is 3.75″ x 5.25″ and the medium comes in at 5.75″ x 8.25″. Both books have the same features from there, with 192 acid-free recycled and numbered pages, a hardback cover with linen exterior, two customizeable Table of Contents pages, two ribbon bookmarks, and an expandable pocket on the inside of the back cover. Both also have an embedded nylon strap to hold the cover closed.
Both books come with a London Grey Linen exterior, and with your choice of plain or dot graph paper.
Both of the review books I received have the dot graph paper. The dots are subtle from a distance, but easy to see and use up close.
It’s the little things
What often sets a great product apart from the pack is the little details. That is definitely the case with these Linen Journal Notebooks. They are made with what Pad & Quill refers to as Smyth-sewn bookbinding.
This may not sound like an important detail, but this binding allows for the book to open wide and lay flat while writing. Have you ever used a composition book that you had to repeatedly work over to stay open while you are trying to write in it? You won’t ever have to do that with these notebooks.
I have never been great organizing my thoughts using analog methods and have relied on digital methods to do it for me for several years. Coming from this perspective, I find the included Table of Contents useful.
In combination with the numbered pages throughout, this is a great way to note and organize your thoughts.
Pad & Quill including two different colored ribbon bookmarks is also a nice touch.
This gives you some additional flexibility to mark ideas for reference without having to carry a separate bookmark with you.
While I may typically prefer leather goods, the linen covers used on these books feels really nice in the hand. The material isn’t overly soft and feels like it can take a little abuse without complaint. The texture of the cover is good for keeping a good hold on the notebook, and they also look both professional and unassuming. I also like that the embossed Pad & Quill logo is on the back of the books, and is also professional and unobtrusive to the overall look. For those who prefer to customize their notebooks, front cover monogramming is available for only $9.99 extra.
I did take some time to test both of the books out. I came away impressed with the feel of using both of them. The medium version is probably more suited to the way I would use a paper notebook, the small version will certainly have its uses for some of you.
Again, I like the fact that you can use the Table of Contents to keep your ideas organized.
Again, the medium size worked better for me. I was much more comfortable writing at that size. As you can see above, my digital life hasn’t done my handwriting any favors. That said, I found the paper really smooth and easy to write on. I also ended up liking the dot graph paper more that I expected to. I usually prefer the structure of lined paper, but the dots give you a nice balance between structure and freedom. I also prefer to use outline form a lot, and the dots are actually an even better framework for keeping things neat and indented groups aligned.
As for the small notebook, I can still see a perfect use for it on the go.
While I am typically going to be using a phone for the purpose of jotting down a quick note or contact info, for those who prefer to work with pen and paper, this book is the perfect size.
Well, I’m not going to lie. These Pad & Quill Linen Journal Notebooks are not enough to get me to covert to back to analog after years away. I will be still be using my digital methods first and foremost for both work and personal life going forward. That said, I definitely see the value in owning a well-made notebook and writing utensil for those times when you do need one. I plan to hang onto these notebooks and use them when my job demands it. Whether it is quickly recording an idea, jotting a name and phone number, or taking down notes for a quote when I can’t use my devices, I will definitely continue to use these books, especially the medium version.
The book you should choose will simply come down to what you are doing with it. If you need something that is super portable and can fit in a suit or cargo pocket, the small version is exactly what you are looking for. If pocketability isn’t a concern and you want more room to express your thoughts, the medium size will suit you better. Either way, at $17.95 for the small and $21.95 for the medium version, Pad & Quill’s Linen Journal Notebooks are a great value for the quality and features you get in return.