figurare notebook cover with Parker Vacumatic fountain pen

Figurare Notebook Review

John Bosley Reviews 2 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: Low
  • Shading: Average
  • Bleeding: Low
  • Ghosting: Average
  • Feathering: Very Low
  • Dry Time: Average

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 pretty well! It is nothing special, but it is what I would consider to be a solid performer. It shows little sheen and some shading. As you’d expect with lower sheen and shading, it has decent 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 shading

Figurare Notebook Ink Test: Front

Figurare Notebook ghosting

Figurare Notebook Ink Test: Back


So what do I think about this notebook? Overall, I’d say it’s pretty average. 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, 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: Great dry times, handles ink very well
Cons: Harder to find in most markets
Value Rating: 3.29 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

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