I was delighted when Angela at The Paperie asked if I could review a new notebook – the JOTTRR – a new notebook on the block that can be had for a decent price, and which is made with fountain pen users in mind. I graciously accepted and she kindly sent me a notebook for review – big thank yous!
According to the JOTTRR website and the info sleeve it features:
- 160 pages of premium quality 120g paper.
- 148×210 mm.
- 150 lined /plain pages and 10 x graph pages.
- Available in charcoal grey, yellow and pink.
- Designed to lie flat.
- Inside pocket.
- Numbered pages.
- 20 perforated pages.
- Flexible cover and secure closure — flexible cover makes fitting the notebook. into bags easier and the secure closure keeps items in the pocket safe.
- Paper is sustainably sourced.
The exterior & format
My first impression was that the JOTTRR is a very promising notebook. It is almost exactly the same size as the Rhodia webbie. I’ve come to appreciate the Quo Vadis Habana which is of a bigger size, since it allows me to stash A5/folded A4 sheets in the pocket – which I like muchly since I often carry around unfinished letters and like to have some loose sheets etc. This smaller format – combined with the soft and rather thin cover makes this feel more handy than its competitors and gives it a high carry around potential. Lightweight and handy. I like the grained surface and the embossed, discreet JOTTRR logo. It makes it look cool and non-budget. The broad rubber band is a very nice design feature and it functions real well – this is a detail I really like. The big downside with the exterior is that the sleeve shows sign to separate around the edges. The black surface folio doesn’t seem to be too resistant to let go of the thicker cartoon that is the core of the sleeve. It is not a major thing, but if one intends to carry it around a lot without treating it gently (like me) that is something to be aware of. Since it is a new brand I guess there is plenty of room for improvements. A better lining of the sleeve could be one of those.
Pros cover and exterior
- Soft covers and size makes it neat and handy – made to be portable.
- Cool design – particularly the cover surface & the broad rubber band.
- The rubber band is very, very good.
Cons cover and exterior
- The lining needs improvement to be more resistant to separation.
- The size is great for portable purposes, but personally I prefer a notebook that allows me to stash a5 sheets without folding them.
The paper & insides
Always being on the hunt for the perfect notebook includes – for a fountain pen user like me – looking for a paper that works with most pens and nibs – that doesn’t feather or bleed through easily. I know that some choose to only use EF/F nibs in their notebooks to have a broader range of notebooks to choose from. I am too fond of my broads and italics to restrict my usage to F/EF nibs. I can live with some bleed through – especially when it comes to broad/wet nibs, but I have a hard time accepting feathering. Feathering blurs the text and drags down the aesthetics. As the aesthetics – together with the tactile feel – are one of the main reasons for me writing with a fountain pen the feathering issue is the most crucial when it comes to grade a notebook. Since this is marketed as particularly fountain pen friendly I had quite high expectations. Unfortunately the feathering was a bit too much with nibs broader than F/EF to make the paper real fountain pen friendly.
The feel of the paper is very pleasant – it is thick and ivory coloured. A special feature (which it shares with Letts of London’s baroque series) is that every other page is lined/blank. Even if I am a hardcore fan of blank pages (and dots) I like that variation which doesn’t lock the user to only write in the book. I also like the feature with detachable pages in the rear – it is very usable.
It is a bit odd that there is no ribbon for marking where to begin writing. It disturbed me more than I had expected.
Pros paper and interior
- Blank/lined pages.
- Numbered pages.
- Thick nice feeling of the ivory coloured paper.
- 20 detachable pages in the end – 10 lined/blank and 10 graphed.
Cons paper and interior
- No marking ribbon.
- Too much feathering and bleed through to be real fountain pen friendly.
In all this is an interesting new notebook on the block. If one wants a neat and handy notebook for a reasonable price and isn’t too picky about feathering with broader nibs, this is a decent Moleskine alternative. I do hope that – since this is a new product – that the manufacturers improves it. For a fountain pen user it is promising, but not a real alternative to the Webbie, the Habana or the Leuchtturm.