Moleskine Classic Notebook Review


The great Moleskine experiment is over.

It was short, but telling. And I wish it would have ended differently. I appreciate Moleskine as a company. I love the projects they take on, like digital apps and online magazines. I love their product designs and their product tie-ins. I’m a fan of their pens too.

But their notebook paper sucks.

I bought this notebook to see if the rumors I had heard about improved paper were true. It is worse than I expected. With a fountain pen, it feels like I’m using a stone paper notebook, which if you have ever tried, you will know that the paper feels spongy and soaks up the ink. It was instant absorption with every fountain pen I tried. A picture is worth 1000 words

There was no need to go much further, but I did my penance on the next page for thinking this would work. There are a few redeeming choices if you absolutely must use this notebook:

Good pens for Moleskine:

Ballpoint, like the Bic Cristal or Uni-ball Jetstream.

Gel, like the Uni-ball Signo or Zebra Sarasa Clip.

Drawing pens, like the Sakura Pigma Micron.

Average pens for Moleskine:

Rollerball pens, like the Uni-ball Vision or Pilot Precise V5.

Liquid ink refills like the Schmidt P8127.

Brush pens, the finer the better.

Bad pens for Moleskine:

Fountain pens, any nib size or ink type.


Pens in the Good category feel nice on the page and don’t feather or bleed. Pencils fall into the good category as well. Average pens can experience some bleed and feathering, especially with wider tip sizes in the category. Bad pens, well, let’s just say don’t use fountain pens with Moleskine notebooks. Your office copy paper is a better choice.

“But Brad, I don’t use fountain pens!” I hear ya, and you may be ok purchasing and using a Moleskine notebook. I’d say with ballpoints and pencils you will be perfectly happy. And while gel and drawing pens fall under the Good category, the wider tip sizes could get you in trouble, especially if you like to draw or sketch. For that, you should use the Moleskine Sketch Notebook, which is a great product.


Recommending a Moleskine is too difficult. There are too many caveats. Too many what ifs to dance around. And there are too many other good options on the market that don’t have the ink challenges Moleskine does. In hardcover format, Leuchtturm1917, Rhodia, Baron Fig, and Apica are easy to find and are far superior in every way. For softcover, that list easily triples.

If you are reading this blog you know all of this already, yet Moleskine remains the most popular notebook of this style in the world. The marketing machine has ramped up to epic proportions. They are synonymous with the little black notebook. But there are better choices. A lot of them. Remember this: Pen friends don’t let their friends buy Moleskine.

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Posted on November 13, 2017 and filed under Moleskine, Notebook Reviews.