I’ve been testing out a new product from my friends Dan and Tom at Studio Neat over the past couple of weeks under the notation REDACTED in my stationery usage log. They gave me an early look and asked me not to share it until it is live, which I’m happy to do. I’m also happy to say that the product is now live!
I’m a big fan of the quality, style, and performance of the Panobook, so my expectations were high for the Totebook. Studio Neat’s design philosophy is present in this new product, with a clean, minimal design, and thoughtful add-ons to what looks like a basic notebook from the outside.
The paper looks, feels, and performs similarly to the Panobook, but spec-wise, it is different. The Totebook uses wood-free paper, which is made via a chemical process as opposed to a mechanical one as used for traditional paper. In use, I wouldn’t have known the difference - I just know that it works well with any pen and paper I threw at it.
My handwritten review was done with the Schmidt P8127 rollerball in blue, which is a wide, wet writer, and it worked flawlessly. The only feathering I saw was with the even wetter Tombow Brush Pen, and the notorious Sharpie Ultra Fine Permanent Marker wasn’t as tragic as I have seen in other notebooks.
I mentioned add-ons above, and the Totebook has a specific one I don’t normally see: The last 8 pages feature a perforation that splits the page into quadrants. I love this, as seen by my chat recap to Dan when I discovered it. I never want to rip pages out of any bound notebook, and this alleviates any hesitancy I have about tearing away. It also ships with spine stickers for help with archiving your notebook when complete.
I love what this notebook is, but I do have two minor quibbles with it. If you know me at all, the first one is easy to pin down: This notebook has no size. Call it smart-sized, right-sized, Neat-sized - whatever you want to call it, but it’s not normal-sized in the common A or B international standards. This is a me problem, and one of the hills I will apparently die on one day, but I like notebook sizing standards. The best I can come up with for this one is B6-ish.
Secondly, the paper “waves” near the spine. This happens to thicker softcover notebooks from time to time, although I don’t know exactly why. For me, I notice it mostly when I am not writing as opposed to when I am. It doesn’t affect usability, but I can’t help but notice it visually.
The Totebook is made to be small, portable, pliable, have really good paper, and a few bonus extras to boot. It is everything I have come to expect from the Studio Neat Stationery Department, including a more than reasonable $20 for two price tag. If this notebook fits your aesthetic and workflow then it is well worth grabbing a pack or two to add to your portable writing arsenal.
(Studio Neat provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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