Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Are Lines Distracting Your Writing?

Fountain pen tragic that I am, I write on spiralbound, lined, Clairfontaine paper.  I don't find the lines distracting.

But clearly some folks do.  So Swedish designer Olof Hansson invented the Whitelines notebooks, which have - surprise, surprise - white lines on light grey paper.

Notebooks and distraction?  Two of my favourite topics.  Clearly, I had to investigate this.

The good people at Notemaker, the Australian premium stationery retailer, sent me a hardbound A5 Whitelines notebook to try.

It's a nicely-bound black book, with a bright orange line on the cover, and bookmark ribbon.  The paper is robustly stitched.  It lies flat with creasing, but not like a spiralbound notebook.

The paper is not bad, given it's not designed for fountain pens.  With my extra-fine Pelikan M215, there was no feathering of the ink, and a little bleeding to the back of the page.

My Pelikan 140, with a wet, vintage nib was a different story.  Quite a bit of bleeding - it looked like I'd written on both sides of the page.  But, again: it's not designed for fountain pens, and would be hunky-dory for rollerballs.

Now, do the white lines make any difference?  Yes, a little.  But not the difference Olaffson claims.

I'm no more or less distracted with Whitelines than with my Clairefontaine.  But the white lines do ramp up the contrast - the ink really jumps out at you.

This is surprising, given the paper is grey, rather than bright white.  But the combination of dark and light does something to the eye.  Strange, but true.

I imagine this'd be useful for illustrators and designers, combining sketches with text.  And certainly helpful for anyone scanning or photocopying.

All in all, the Whitelines notebook is good but not great.  Well-built, attractive, with an innovative feature - it gets some important ticks.  It's also environmentally thoughtful.

But the paper is too rough and thin to compete with Clairefontaine, and other French notebooks like Rhodia and the Quo Vadis Habana (which I've reviewed here).


Gondal-girl said...

I like the grey paper, makes the ink pop, but love Clairefontaine as you know. I imagine poetry would look amazing on the grey - every word a loaded one -

Damon Young said...

Hmmm. Good point on the poetry. I'll try it.