Review: Action Cahier by Behance

ActionCahier-1The Action Cahier by Behance in its packaging glory.

I recently went to Montreal, Canada, which has a very strong French influence, which means CLAIREFONTAINE. Anyways, besides loading up on Clairefontaine notebooks, I also visited a particular stationery store called Papeterie Nota Bene. Located near McGill University, this stationery store is perhaps the best stationery store that I have visited in that it has a large variety of... well... stationery. (Not so much in the pens department, but they do carry the full line of Diamine and J. Herbin inks.) I had a wonderful experience and highly recommend anyone who is visiting Montreal or from the area to go acquaint themselves with the store. Regardless, among the many things that I purchased there, I also got these Action Cahier notebooks by Behance. I saw these online and was particularly interested in them because the idea behind them reminded me of the Rhodia Meeting Books. They also look pretty nice from a design stand point, as their slogan seems to be "Designed by and for creative professionals." While I don't fit really into  this category, it was quite appealing.

ActionCahier-2Unwrapped and back of packaging with logo sticker.

The Action Cahier is part of the line of Action Notebooks by Behance, which follows their Action Method that aims to increase the productivity and efficency of indivuduals (particularly "creative or non-creative" individuals).  It's kind of a nice idea and such, but it really just seems like you're paying for a product to help you organize yourself that looks pretty when really you can use anything (and I got sucked into it). While they have the Action Cahier, they also have an Action Pad (think desk pad version) and Action Notebook (their fulfledged version with an extended layout). Anyways, back to the Action Cahier.

ActionCahier-3The spread. Looks nice, right? It doesn't lay flat, though, which is somewhat expected.

The Action Cahier is a collaboration between Behance and the green oriented NewLeaf (100% ecofriendly and recycleable!). It comes in two color schemes, blue or orange; I got the orange because that's all that what they had at the store at the time. As I said previously, the design is pretty nice. On a spread, you see that one side has their designed boxes and checkboxes and such for you to put your "actions" (aka to do list) and on the other side you have basically a dotpad for you to "put info on how you implement your ideas." There is also a nice, usable back pocket. While the boxes are nice, I feel as if I am always in a situation of find it really hard to fill them all up or have enough boxes for my actions. However, I love that the back is a dotpad because you can have structure but freedom when drawing diagrams and such. Each page is also perforated so you can just tear out the sheet and stick it somewhere else, which is convenient and thoughtful. However, I somehow wish that you wouldn't have to turn the page to elaborate on your ideas and could just use the left side. Of course then this is a problem with perforation, but yeah, just wishful thinking. This is not the largest problem of the notebook.

ActionCahier-5Writing sample on one sheet of paper (back on left, front on right).  The quality of the paper is pretty good, except for the waxy layer on the front side of the sheet making it unfriendly for fountain pens.

I tried a variety of instruments to test the paper of the notebook, and it's great on all writing instruments I tested, except fountain pens (well, the ink of the fountain pen that I used). It seems as if the paper has some kind of waxy layer on the top or something as to make it really not want to absorb the ink from the pen (at all; although it appears fine, this dried for like.. 8 days). There is also some "bubbly" effect for fountain pen ink in that the ink did not want to interact and spread on the paper so much it'd rather interact with itself and form mini droplets on the paper. Additionally, there was very mild bleed through on the back side with the fountain pen. So, fountain pen users should beware! However, the waxy layer does not seem to be present on the back so if you want to be stubborn and buy this and you are a fountain pen user, you can go crazy on the dotpad (although most fountain pen users would go for Rhodia I'd imagine). Besides this, the paper has a nice feel to it and is substantial (aka not like the Moleskine Cahiers). The waxy-ish layer seems to add to the design in that perhaps the papers are meant to be ripped out, and the waxy layer can thus protect whatever you are writing or the integrity of the sheet itself.

ActionCahier-4The back of the notebook has "New Leaf" and "Behance"(not in focus) embossed.

While the Action Cahier looks aesthetically appealing (and can therefore make you look really cool by using it - I can imagine an artsy hipster using this if they decide that moleskine is not unique enough, haha), it is not worth its value in my opinion because of its inability to take fountain pen ink on the front and confinement due to the  premade boxes (it's actually a bigger problem for me than it seems). While I've never used a Rhodia Meeting Book before, it seems a lot more useful and practical in that there is more space to write and you don't have to confine your ideas to 7 boxes and the like (the Rhodia Meeting Book seems to overlap in function with the Action Cahier). I'd expect that the quality of the Rhodia Meeting Book is different in that it can take common fountain pen ink, as well. The Rhodia Meeting Book seems to accept more flexibility for people with tons on their to-do list. However, what I do like about the Action Cahier is, if the purpose of the cahier includes ripping out each sheet, the design is very thoughtful. The size is small and convenient, the perforation allows for the easy of tearing, and the quality of the paper gives increased durability. 

I got this for 9$ at Papeterie Nota Bene, but apparently they sell it for 7$ at the Behance website. Not cheap for the student budget. Other products of their Action Method line can be found on Amazon.

Posted on November 1, 2010 and filed under Amy, Behance, Notebook, Notebook Reviews, Notebooks.