Thursday, January 28, 2010

Doane Paper Idea Journal Review

I've been a fan of Doane Paper products since I first purchased some of their writing pads about a year ago. I love the grid+lines layout and the high-quality paper they use. I keep a healthy inventory of both sizes of writing pads as well as their fine Utility Notebooks. Now Doane has tempted me once more with the release of their Idea Journals. Like their writing pads, they are available in two sizes - a letter size version and a smaller, 5.25 x 6.875 version (their measurements). I opted for the larger Idea Journal which cost $10.95. The smaller version is $8.95.

Spiral notebooks have never been my favorite medium for writing. Most tend to be flimsy with thin cardboard covers and poor quality paper. Having said that, the Idea Journal is to your typical spiral notebook what a Land Rover is to a Yugo. The Idea Journal is very substantial, with a sturdy wire binding ("Rugged Wire-O Binding" - no, really!) and thick 80 point chipboard covers. I like the utilitarian gray with the black lettering on the front. It seems to say, "I'm a serious workhorse of a journal. You want pretty? Ha! Run along before I take your lunch money." Okay, maybe that's a bit over the top, but seriously - this thing is a chunk! And I mean that in a good way - these covers won't curl and tear unless you assault it with a chainsaw. But enough about its tough facade, what of the paper?

Oh yes, this Idea Journal is chock full of grid+line goodness! Wall to wall, so to speak. No wasted space on these sheets and the grid+line pattern is front and back (Thanks, Chad!) unlike earlier releases of the Doane Paper Writing Pads. The clever aspect of the grid+line system is that the horizontal lines are bold at appropriate intervals to make writing very easy - the vertical lines are less bold, yet the grid pattern is easily apparent. In other words, this is a very versatile paper - great for writing, drawing, doodling, planning, etc. In the large Idea Journal you get 100 sheets (200 pages) of 60 lb. brite white paper. You can put a LOT in this journal!

I tried out a variety of inks on the paper with excellent results. Even my medium nib Pilot Varsity (which tends to lay down ink like a fire hose) wrote smoothly with no feathering and no bleed-through. In fact, nothing I tried bled through the 60 lb. stock. Oh sure, if I went wild with a heavy Sharpie marker, I might get a slight amount of seepage, but for most purposes this is excellent paper.

If you have followed my blog, you know I generally use a Moleskine or Quo Vadis Habana for my "serious" journaling. So, how do I plan to use my Idea Journal? Glad you asked! I intend to fill this bad boy up with all kind of random stuff - drawings, doodles, ideas, quotes, and give it a workout with some of the most radical ink I can lay my coffee-stained fingers on. Bwahahahahaha! *Deep breath* Sorry - caffeine overload. Seriously, this is a great experimental notebook to try all sorts of pens, markers, etc. I'm looking forward to using it and I think you would like it too.

I see that DP has added a "Flap Jotter" to their lineup. Must resist the urge to . . . Oh, who am I kidding? Daddy needs another notepad.


  1. I haven't heard of Doane products. Agree with you about spirals, they kind of interfere with the placement of the wrist on a notebook.

  2. Excellent review! Except, dang it, now I want one!!!

  3. Strikethru - You should give Doane Paper a try! They have some great writing pads if you don't care for the spiral journal. Might be fun to roll a sheet into a typewriter. ;-)

    Laurie - Thank you! You should get one - I think you'd like it.

  4. As a math teacher, I think it's a great idea to have a notebook with gridlines so when you are taking notes or completing homework assignments you don't need a separate sheet of paper for graphing. I purchased the Idea Journals for my son and daughter to use at school and they are great. You are so right about the sturdiness of the wire binding and the chipboard covers. My son's has survived a semester long beating in his backpack and is still going strong!

  5. Erica - Yes, they make great school notebooks and you make a good point about their usefulness for math homework.