It may surprise you to know that until recently, I had never used a Leuchtturm notebook before. I think they’re now up there with Moleskine and Rhodia in the special section of heaven that is just for good quality notebooks, but one had simply never crossed my path until now!
The Leuchtturm notebook I’m reviewing is the new design of the classic notebook, with 80g paper that claims to be ink proof (and therefore fountain pen friendly). Leuchtturm make their notebooks with plain, lined or dotted paper, and all of the pages in the notebook are numbered. I don’t need my notebook pages to be numbered as I don’t index the information in them, but I appreciate that lots of people do and they probably like this detail.
This notebook is the A6 size, and there is a larger model (~A5) available. They have acid-free paper, a table of contents, perforated and detachable sheets (the small notebook has 8), a back pocket, a ribbon and stickers for labelling the notebook afterwards.
The dots are spaced 5mm apart and are a light grey colour. They’re quite faint and unobtrusive, as is the numbering of the pages.
A lot of thought went into the design of this notebook. You can tell that it was made by Germans – there is precision engineering involved!
I was amused to discover when I opened the shrink wrapping on the notebook that you get a teeny tiny postcard in the notebook thanking you for purchasing Leuchtturm. It’s a very sweet touch!
There’s also a little leaflet (like Moleskine have) explaining why the notebooks are different to normal notebooks, the company’s history and other designs in their range.
The notebook has 185 pages and comes in a full range of colours. This notebooks is “cornflower” – it’s a muted blue tone. I quite like it. The front cover has no markings on it, whilst the back cover has a discrete Leuchtturm logo embossed on it.
On the inside cover, there’s the standard section for you to write your name and address, in case of loss.
I’ve been quite satisfied with the performance of my fountain pens in the notebook. I’ve been using the notebook for just over a month now and I’ve not had any major problems. (Aside: The colour of the paper in the photo above is a truer reflection of the cream pages. The white balance is wrong in the next two photos!)
You can see in the writing sample above that the first three pens perform well without any problems. The fourth pen, my Lamy medium nib with Caran D’Ache Caribbean Sea has the slightest amount of feathering. This ink is a very wet ink, and in recent months I’ve noticed a few papers struggling with it. I’ve included a Sharpie test and a pencil test, because they’re fun (and mean, since paper rarely passes the Sharpie test!).
As you can see from the photo above, all the writing utensils have a degree of show-through, but there’s no bleeding with any of the inks (even the Sharpie!). The show-through isn’t enough to make the back of the page un-usable, but if you really don’t like marks detracting from a clear page then you might not like this notebook.
I can tell that the paper was designed with fountain pens in mind, as there is no bleed-through and little feathering. However, I wouldn’t recommend using this notebook with a wet ink or a wet writer as you may have problems. If I could offer any suggestions to Leuchtturm, I would request that they make the paper 90g, to reduce the likelihood of show-through.
Overall though, I do like this range of notebooks and I think they make good journals. The range of sizes and colours is brilliant, and they win points over Rhodia for the fact that I can have pretty much any colour in the rainbow. The binding feels looser than a Rhodia and more likely to lay flat (please note they don’t lay flat from first use though), and it would make a good addition to anyone’s notebook collection or pocket!
Have you used a Leuchtturm before?