Rhodia Webnotebook, A5 Dotgrid

Looking back over my posts to date and there is one thing underlying virtually all of them, this notebook.RhodiaWebnotebookLOGO.jpg

This notebook has become the centre of my working world. Every morning on arrival at the office my ritual is the same: 1. PC on; 2. draw pen case from bag; 2. draw this notebook from bag; 3. open on today’s page; 4. go. As this is a post about the notebook I won’t rattle on about my approach to its use, I post on that elsewhere.

The basics

Rhodia Webnotebook, A5,Black
Rhodia Webnotebook, A5,Black

This notebook is A5 with a black cover but comes in a range of sizes and colours. Note that the dotgrid version is only available in the black and orange colours, the multi-coloured Rhodiadarma line. The cover is card covered with ‘Italian Leatherette’ material which is soft and grippy. The softness may be seen by the depression caused by the elastic closure strip at the top and bottom of the cover.

Cult Pens Mini with Rhodia Webnotebook
Cult Pens Mini with Rhodia Webnotebook

The elastic closure is strong, strong enough even to hold a pen when shoved underneath with the book closed. I have often used a smaller pen for this, the Cult Pens Mini in particular, but recently found that a light pen is so much better.

Lamy Safari secured by elastic on Rhodia Webnotebook
Lamy Safari secured by elastic on Rhodia Webnotebook

The Lamy Studio with its light body and strong clip is very stable when secured under the elastic. Where the Cult Pens Mini will move about the Lamy Safari is rock solid. There are other options for storing pens with this form of notebook, see the Quiver for example.

The Rhodia logo is blind embossed on the front of the book. Overall, the book has a nice and understated look, so understated in fact I often get a “nice moleskine” comment in meetings. I shoot back my best “I’m not a peasant” glare.* I’m not criticising, understated is good for work use.

Inside the back cover is a pocket. The only use I have found for this is to hold the occasional business card, other than that it has remained empty. I can see how this would be a useful feature in a larger size notebook, in this size there is little utility that I can find.

The notebook is finished by a page marking ribbon. I found it to be too long at first but it doesn’t bother me any longer. It is thin so can become permanently twisted. The end has become a little frayed but given the rough use over the last 18 months this is still in great condition. For my own use of the notebook a second ribbon would be a great addition.

The paper is 90gsm which is higher than typical notebooks, for example Moleskin books are 70gsm (in general, the higher the number the better). The paper has an ivory colour, which I like. An unexpected positive of this is that a colleague with dyslexia really likes the paper, it helps him see the words on the page much easier. One comment on the colour of the paper, it can make inks appear quite a bit darker than they do on white paper. This has caused to me to stop using some darker inks and to switch to lighter colours.**

Some poor page binding in the Rhodia Webnotebook
Some poor page binding in the Rhodia Webnotebook

The only criticism I can lay against this book is the manner in which the pages are bound into the book. Virtually all pages are fine and will lie flat. Occasionally I come across a page which is glued down a little too much preventing it from laying totally flat, rising at the spine. The first and last pages are also affected in this manner to a greater extent in every version of this notebook I have owned rendering them non-functional. It’s a frustration but not a killer.

Down to Business

Notebooks are for writing in, so this is all that really matters. The paper is of high quality which can be felt by hand, it’s smooth to the touch on both sides. All pages are rounded off at the corner which gives a nice finish while also helping to reduce dog-eared corners and other unintended folding of pages.

The smoothness of the paper really shows when writing. Every pen I have used on this paper feels amazing; yes even horrid ballpoints get a boost. Ink can take quite some time to dry on the page. With a wet ink it is possible to see the ink sit on the page and slowly sink in, it’s quite relaxing. The drying time does lead to smudging though if I am not careful. Some inks are better than others for this. I tend to use less saturated inks (e.g. Diamine Passion Red, Waterman Serenity Blue) which work quite well. I also keep some blotting paper nearby or even some tissue works well.

There is some show-through on the pages, if you look closely you can even see the dots through the page. It can give an almost dirty appearance when writing on the opposite side of a full page but this is purely nit-picking. The paper is fantastic to write on.

Overall

This is a great notebook. A quick search online will throw up a lot of love particularly focussing on the paper. It really is a dream to write in. The above comments can also be applied to any webnotebook, I am currently using a blank webnotebook for a personal project. The paper is great.

The only issue I had with the notebook was the gluing of the pages, affecting only a small number of pages in the book. As a sign that this is not that much of a problem I have bought three more notebooks since first encountering it and plan to buy more.

This notebook is great.

* For more Moleskine fan baiting, see here.
**Any excuse to buy some ink. 

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