The Midori MD lineup of notebooks has been one of the most popular stationery products in the past couple of years, despite being around for much longer. Over Midori’s history, they have consistently made great goods, and are one of the companies I look to for innovation. In the case of the MD, stripping it down to the basics has done wonders for the brand.
These are simple notebooks, at least from an aesthetic standpoint. Clean, ivory-colored covers, with only a subtle debossed logo on the front. Pale blue lines or grids (or blank), depending on your ruling style. Binding that matches the overall look and feel of each product. These notebooks would look right at home in a Muji store.
I’m reviewing the Midori MD Notebook Light A5 Grid, which has several standout features for my personal use. First, and most importantly, the paper quality is elite. It handles all of my fountain pens - from extra fine to broad, from wet to dry - exceptionally well. It doesn’t offer Tomoe level shading and sheen, but it doesn’t need to. It offers enough to where I can enjoy the ink characteristics, and no inks or nibs I tested feathered or bled. There is also minimal ghosting. It’s there, but the back side of the page is completely usable, if that is your thing.
Second, I love the light blue grid. It doesn’t overwhelm the page, which is helped by an incomplete grid. If you look closely, the vertical line in each 5 mm grid section is only about 4 mm tall. That makes it easier on the eyes. We use a similar philosophy on our DotDash grid Nock Co. paper. It helps with the visuals.
Third, the size is perfect. 48 page A5 softcover notebooks are a sweet spot I didn’t know I had. It’s a great combination of size, format, usability, and portability - all things I want in the products I use. In fact, I’ve probably made mistakes in the past grabbing a 200-ish page A5 hardcover notebook for things like (ahem) journaling. The scope of that size notebook can be intimidating if you don’t have a gameplan on how to use it. 48 page books give a sense of completion, and allow you to cycle through different ones more regularly.
Fourth, the price is amazing. These notebooks are a good deal. I don’t know how to say it more plainly that that. A 3-pack of 48 page notebooks is $13. These are $18-$22 notebooks, at a minimum, based on quality and in comparison to the competition. Don’t tell Midori I said that though!
The only negative I see, and one which has honestly kept me from using them sooner, is the ivory page. It’s a darker shade than I prefer for daily use. I like a mostly white background, or if it is going to be ivory, something closer to what Maurman offers. Midori ivory is closer to yellow than white. But, the way every pen or pencil performs on it makes me want to use it.
That’s what I’m looking for in any stationery product: Be so good that I want to use it all the time. Midori MD paper has entered that realm.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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