When I first saw the Keep a Notebook branded notebooks some months ago I thought they looked beautiful. The lovely coloured card stock with the gorgeous logo in gold embossing instantly caught my eye. However at the time buying these notebooks outside of Asia was tricky.
Months later I contacted Keep a Notebook directly through their Facebook page to find out if there were any online retailers that shipped internationally. Turns out Stickerrific was the place so I promptly ordered a couple of these notebooks, plus some other goodies.
I picked up the ruled 03 insert and the travel journal 06 insert out of a wide variety of different options. So far I have used only the 03 ruled insert.
Background of the brand
I am not overly familiar with the background of Keep a Notebook but I have managed to find that the brand was started by an avid Travelers Notebook user Thomas H. He has fantastic photos on Flickr showing how he uses his Travelers Notebook, if you have time it’s definitely worth scrolling through.
The Keep a Notebook inserts are all designed to fit the regular sized Travelers Notebook, measuring 11 x 21cm or A5 slim. Like the Midori inserts most have 64 pages, however some of the more specific inserts, such as my travel journal insert come with 32 pages.
The good points
There are some really lovely elements to the Keep a Notebook inserts. I love the exterior colours that Keep a Notebook use. Each different style of notebook has a different colour cover stock making it really easy to tell the different notebook inserts apart. The colour of these covers are also really pretty and have a classic look.
I adore the logo and the gold foiling. The logo features a man and woman sitting back to back, taking notes. It’s distinctive and different. Keep a Notebook seem to have been inspired by a Jack London quote which appears on the paper sleeve of each notebook. It reads “Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it.” This really embodies the Travelers Notebook mentality of note taking and a very apt tag line for a brand of Travelers Notebook refills.
The paper quality is very nice. They contain a cream coloured paper making it easy on the eye. The paper performs very well with lots of different types of pens. It takes fountain pens without any feathering or ghosting, gel pens perform nicely as do pencils. You can see written samples of each in the photo below.
As I have used predominantly the ruled insert most of my somewhat negative comments are in reference to this insert in particular. Firstly the ruling design is quite off-putting. The lines in the notebook alternate in colour going from a solid blue to a dotted grey line. The solid blue lines also then have a couple of dots at different points on the page. It’s all a bit much for how I use these notebooks. I am not creating any form of tables, I am not splitting the page in two, nor am I crafting with these notebooks. I use it for general note taking, my main reason for selecting the ruled grid. All of these additional touches to the ruling in the insert make it a bit too busy for me.
Another small downside is the quality of cover stock used. If I compare the cover stock of the Keep a Notebook inserts and the Midori inserts, the Keep a Notebook inserts are much thinner. Overall this is not something to consider too much especially when they are used in a Travelers Notebook, however I wanted to point it out.
I think that the Keep a Notebook inserts are designed beautifully and look great. I like the fact that they have lots of different insert options, some quite specific. Personally, partly due to the difficulties in buying these notebooks and the risk of custom charges, as well as the small lingering irritations with the grid designs, they are not for me.
I’ll be interested to see how Keep a Notebook develops over the coming years. I am glad I only selected a couple of the different refill options rather than going too crazy as once I finish my current refill I won’t be delving into another but going back to my trusty Midori branded inserts.