fountain pens

Dark Star Collection Notebook Review

The Dark Star Collection Notebook in hand

The Dark Star Collection Notebook in hand

Dark Star Collection are a UK notebook brand that I discovered through a post by Hey Matthews blog. They have a strong social media presence and have been lauded for their high quality paper stock. Being a bit of a paper junkie I had to give this notebook a test run. I was also drawn to the brand as they were British and felt a strong desire to support a home grown stationery brand.

A nice and simple title/cover page 

A nice and simple title/cover page 

Initial impressions.

First up the notebook looks good. It's simple in terms of design with a standard card stock cover and a simple logo, which looks like a tattoo I have. There is a nice little cover page allowing you to note down the intended use of the notebook.

Close up of the binding and glue holding the pages together. I think the excess glue here, which is coming away may be the source of my page problem

Close up of the binding and glue holding the pages together. I think the excess glue here, which is coming away may be the source of my page problem

A used page beginning to come away from the notebook binding

A used page beginning to come away from the notebook binding

There is a thick black binding on the left hand edge of the notebook, which kind of looks like gaffa tape. This binding is designed to allow the notebook to lie flat when open however it has not been without faults. The binding is designed to help this notebook lie flat. Lie flat notebooks have become a big selling point that are discussed a lot. Baron Fig talked about this with their Confident notebook and now Dark Star Collection are focusing on the same selling point. This notebook does lie flat and also closes after use. The only issue I have found with fulfilling this lie flat feature is that the binding of this notebook is not strong enough to hold the pages together securely. I have found some of the pages are becoming detached from the binding. You can see from my photo above a large lump of glue at the top of the binding. As I am working my way through the notebook this is becoming detached which I think is contributing to some of the pages becoming lose, as you can see on the right. As I work my way through the notebook I think this could get a lot worse and I am guessing I will loose some pages. So the lie flat works, but you may not keep all of your pages.

Lie flat view

Lie flat view

Paper quality.

The paper stock is a high quality dot grid with an off white colour. I have been using this notebook as a morning pages / journal to document everything going on in my life right now. Being a new mum and trying to remember all the small things going on with the little man is a challenge. My mind is a complete sieve at the moment so I have dedicated this notebook to capturing all the stuff, big or small, interesting and mundane. I have been using all my different fountain pens in this notebook and the paper has held up well. There is some tooth on the page and I have noticed that you get some feedback when using the fountain pens. With my finer Japanese nibs it can feel a little scratchy but with the German nibs the performance is a little better.

Pen and pencil test

Pen and pencil test

Some shadowing with fountain pens 

Some shadowing with fountain pens 

I have tested a number of different pens and pencils on this paper. Whilst it performs well with fountain pens and there is limited bleed through and feathering I actually think that the performance with pencils is really good. This is one of the only notebooks that I can say the performance with both fountain pens and pencils is good.

Overall impressions.

I think that the Dark Star Collection notebooks are one to watch. The brand is new and through their social media account the guys there are always looking at ways to improve the quality of their notebooks therefore I am not overly disappointed with the binding problems I have experienced. The paper quality is good and as I can use my fountain pens and different inks this is a winner for me. This notebook cost me a mere £6.99 which is a fab price for a good quality notebook.

I love finding a UK based company and want to support more local companies. I think we need more UK stationery makers emerging.

I would love to see some additional notebook sizes and ruling options at some point in the future. A pocket notebook (which seems to have been teased on their Instagram account) would be interesting as would a larger size.

The reverse of the notebook. Unfortunately the branding and information on the back has not been aligned with the binding width taken into consideration.

The reverse of the notebook. Unfortunately the branding and information on the back has not been aligned with the binding width taken into consideration.