It’s a rare day when I miss a cool Japanese stationery product, but the Craft Design Technology A5 Notepad escaped my field of view until Caroline Weaver of C.W. Pencil Enterprises mentioned it to Myke and I on Episode 252 of The Pen Addict Podcast.
I’ve reviewed other Craft Design Technology (CDT for short) products in the past, and I refer to them as a design firm in the stationery business. They don’t manufacture their own goods, but partner with existing brands to reimagine products with the CDT aesthetic. Most of that aesthetic involves mint green.
For this notepad, CDT partnered with Life Notebooks. It is a desk pad with top-perforated sheets in an A5 size. The paper is Life’s standard cream colored offering with a mint green grid - aka the CDT touch.
The quality of this notepad - as expected - is top notch. The construction is solid, and the paper performance with nearly any pen and pencil is perfect. The grid pattern is even printed on both sides, which is not something you always see when a plain border is used around the edge of the page.
What surprised me the most about the paper was how it handled pencil. With a cream colored background I thought graphite would blend in and be hard to see, but the opposite took place. It practically jumps off the page with HB and 2B grades and looks great. I see why Caroline likes this pad so much.
If you are waiting for the hammer to drop on this product, here it is. It’s $12 for a 50 page notepad. This is Craft Design’s modus operandi. They collaborate with other brands and put the CDT twist on existing products. That comes at a cost. A simple example is the Camel HB pencil. The standard model from Camel is $1.50. The CDT Camel HB is $2.00. The internals are the same, only the color and stamping on the pencil are different.
A 50 cent increase on a pencil isn’t a large sum of money, but you see where this is headed as you climb the ladder. I’m not opposed to this business model by any stretch - I own several CDT products that I enjoy. I just want you to be aware that you are paying for minty freshness, not added performance. But sometimes all it takes is a fresh coat of paint for me to open my wallet.
(I paid full price for these goods with my own money.)
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