figurare notebook cover with Parker Vacumatic fountain pen

Figurare Notebook Review

John BosleyReviews 7 Comments

I’m always a little excited to come across a notebook brand that is less common or that I’ve never heard of before. Years ago I came across this Figurare notebook in San Francisco’s Japantown and picked it up. Even though I’m not a huge fan of spiral-bound notebooks, the paper felt great, so I was hopeful that it would be something special. Today we’re going to take a closer look at it and see if it is indeed something special.

First Impressions

This notebook makes a decent first impression. The cover is bright orange and very stiff (I think there’s a black option as well). The paper is simple and lined with light grey lines. It feels quite smooth and should be fountain pen friendly. Other than that, there isn’t much that stands out with this notebook. Other than the color, I would say it is quite minimalist.

Figurare Notebook spiral binding

The spiral binding is very nice.

The Details

Here’s some details for this Figurare notebook

  • Pages: 80
  • Paper Weight: Unknown, but maybe around 80gsm?
  • Binding: Spiral
  • Page Style: Lined
  • Size: A5, B5

Ink-handling characteristics (A table with the following properties can be found at the bottom of this post)

  • Sheen: High
  • Shading: High
  • Bleeding: Very Low
  • Ghosting: Low
  • Feathering: Very Low
  • Dry Time: High

Other features

  • Hard cardboard cover
  • Spiral binding
Figurare Notebook cover detail

The cover has the logo and a bit of info about the notebook as its only decoration.

Actual Use

Since this is not a complicated notebook, it is quite simple to use. The double-spiral binding allows it to open smoothly and easily lay flat. The front and back covers are very rigid, so it feels very solid to hold and is very easy to write on without a surface underneath. Inside of the front cover, you’ll find a black piece of paper that serves as a flyleaf. I guess it may help with privacy or if you want to keep anything inside the front cover without it rubbing on your first sheet of writing. The pages aren’t perforated, so while you can tear them out, you won’t get a clean tear.

Figurare Notebook inside front cover

Here you can see the black flyleaf inside the front cover.

The paper has grey lines that don’t seem to visually interfere with the page. There is a margin at the top and on one side of the page and a smaller one at the bottom of the page. As I mentioned, the paper has a nice smooth feel to it and is pleasant to write on, but how does it handle fountain pens?

Figurare Notebook page layout

Here you can see the page layout and line color.

The paper handles fountain pen ink fairly well. It shows good sheen and shading. Not surprisingly for a paper that shows good sheen and shading, it has slower dry times. In my testing and use, I observed little feathering and bleed through and ghosting was acceptable. I wouldn’t mind writing on both sides of a page.

Figurare Notebook Ink Test – Front

Figurare Notebook Ink Test – Back


So what do I think about this notebook? Overall, I’d say it’s got solid paper but other than that there’s not much more to say. If I could find them at a great price, I’d definitely pick up a few, but as it is they are kind of hard to find and can be quite expensive, in which case there are plenty of other notebooks I’d rather use. Still, if you want a spiral-bound notebook with very stiff covers and great paper, this would be an excellent choice.

If you’d like a bit more information about how I test papers and notebooks, I wrote an article about my paper rating system.

Figurare Notebook Review
  • Sheen (higher is better)
  • Shading (higher is better)
  • Bleeding (higher is better)
  • Ghosting (higher is better)
  • Feathering (higher is better)
  • Dry Time (higher is better)

Fountain Pen Love Overall Rating

Pros: Handles ink very well
Cons: Harder to find in most markets
Value Rating: 4.14 Stars, Cost per A5 sheet: $0.10
Who this notebook is for: People who want a great writing experience with fast dry times
Upgrade to this notebook from: Any basic spiral-bound notebook
Upgrade from this notebook to: Black n’ Red spiral bound

Comments 7

    1. Post
  1. Thanks for the review! I’ve ordered one to try. I’ve been keeping a Bullet Journal for several years now, and I simply can’t bring myself to use anything except a spiral notebook. The aesthetics of a “regular” notebook would be nice, but it’s only spirals for me. In the end, I’m simply looking for something affordable with a sturdy cover, roughly B5 dimensions, and “good paper”. For me, good paper shows shading, has a decent dry time, and if it can show much sheen, that’s an awesome bonus. This notebook seems to check all my boxes. Hopefully it’ll hold its own against the Kokuyo Campus wides I’ve been using for the past while.

    Also, I love your Paper Search feature!

    1. Post

      You’re welcome, Tabitha! I’m glad the paper search helped you find a notebook that’s right for you. I think this one should work great for your needs! I’m surprised you were able to fine one. I’ve been looking around and they’re really difficult to come across.

  2. This is my favorite notebook of all time, alas they’ve been discontinued. If anyone finds another notebook with similar features (my favorite is the paper quality, but the size, hard-back and spiral are the others that make it super hard to match) I’d love to hear about it!

    1. Post

      They really are great notebooks. It’s a shame they aren’t available any more. I see them pop up every once in awhile on Amazon, but they’re quite expensive when they do. You might want to use my paper search tool (in the menu at the top) to search for a new notebook with specific qualities. Good luck!

  3. Sadly, the search tells me what I already suspected — this was a gem that doesn’t have anything comparable! Looks like the only thing close is Life Via Airmail Letter Paper but it has a much lower review score… Appreciate the suggestion and the reply though.

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