Thoughts on Moleskine Notebooks

Moleskine Notebooks
Wide–range of Moleskine Notebooks

I recently came across Moleskine® when I was looking to purchase some good quality notebooks for work meetings and jotting down snippets of code and web design ideas.

I generally use notebooks with squared paper as the grid layout is ideal for writing in portrait or landscape, jotting down code, drawing diagrams or mind–mapping.

Being an SEO Consultant and Web Coder means that I use a computer and keyboard most of the time—and as a result of this dependence on technology—my handwriting has deteriorated significantly over the years.

Using a Fountain Pen with Moleskine Notebooks

When I write down ideas on paper I like to use a fountain pen where possible. I’ve found that using a fountain pen encourages a more flowing writing style. It also encourages a lighter touch on the paper and I find I’m subconsciously forced to slow down my writing—which in my case, helps to improve the legibility of the words on the page.

An issue I discovered with Moleskine’s is that some fountain pen ink feathers and spiders on the pages, or bleeds through to the back of the page—less than ideal! It seems this is a whole topic in itself, with numerous discussions and resources on the topic.

However, I have found a solution that works for me. My Waterman fountain pen combined with Noodler’s BP Black ink writes perfectly in a Moleskine. In fact, Noodler’s BP black ink has received some great reviews for use in Moleskine notebooks.

As an alternative to my Waterman fountain pen, I also use Pilot Hi-Tecpoint pens, which I find write well in a Moleskine—although I prefer the 0.7 nib to the thinner 0.3 or 0.5 nibs.

As mentioned earlier, I generally use the large–squared and pocket–squared hardcover notebooks, although, there are soft back Moleskine notebooks available if that suits your needs better. The range of Moleskine’s is quite large, with notebooks that are suitable for artists, designers, journalists and travellers.

Moleskine’s tend to be a bit more expensive than your average notepad, so you’d expect the quality to be higher, and from my experience they are! The quality of the binding is very good, and the notebooks have a warranty where Moleskine will send you a free replacement notebook if there is a defect.

There are some nice features to the notebooks, such as an elasticated band which secures the pad when closed. This is useful when it rains, as it helps to protect the pages from water–damage. There’s also a nifty pocket in the back of the notebook for holding business cards, blotting paper or any other small paper notes.

Customising (Hack) Moleskine Notebooks

As mentioned earlier, there are lots of sites dedicated to Moleskine notebooks. Some of these highlight ways to customise (hack) your Moleskine. From simple things like, expanding the back pocket or adding a pen holder—to more advanced hacks such as setting–up a GTD system or even converting your Moleskine into a wallet.

Moleskine Notebook Cover
Moleskine Notebook Cover

You can even insert digital content into your Moleskine using the MSK system at myMoleskine. You will find a number of printable templates (I.e. calendar, week–planner or contact information) as well as a wizard for converting your own digital content ready for printing and inserting into a Moleskine.

Final Thoughts

There’s no doubt about it—when you compare Moleskine’s to a regular notebook, or spiral notepad, the Moleskine’s are of a higher quality. The paper is quite thin, which means you’ll likely need to experiment with finding the right combination of ink and nib size if you use a fountain pen.

Their construction reminds me of a good quality hardback book.

I like the hardback cover that protects the notebook, and helps give a steady surface when cradling the notebook in your hand whilst writing. But the best feature for me is the quality of the binding, which means the notebook lays flat when opened on a table.

Moleskine lay flat
Moleskine notebook laid flat

The lay flat design makes it very easy to write without your hand coming into contact with a large spiral binding common on some notepads, or the curving at the spine with cheaper notebooks. I find this affects my writing flow. The lay flat format of Moleskine’s also mean drawing is much easier, and you can easily draw across the spine over two sides of two pages.

The pages in Moleskine notebooks are an off–white, ivory colour. This is more unusual than the regular brilliant white that is common in many notebooks or notepads. For this reason certain ink colours look particularly nice on a Moleskine. I find black, blue–black, green and purple look great.

Regular spiral notepad
Regular spiral notepad

Overall I’m impressed with Moleskine notebooks. They are well constructed, and the hard cover versions are easy to write on due to the quality of the binding (lay flat design). Their construction reminds me of a good quality hardback book.

Where to Buy?

You can buy Moleskine notebooks at a variety of high street retailers, directly from Moleskine.co.uk, or I’ve found Amazon to be the cheapest.