figurare notebook cover with Parker Vacumatic fountain pen

Figurare Notebook Review

John Bosley Reviews 4 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 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: Low

Other features

  • Hard cardboard cover
  • Spiral binding
Figurare Notebook cover detail

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

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

The paper handles fountain pen ink quite well! It shows a good amount of sheen and shading. Surprisingly for a paper that shows good 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.

Conclusion

So what do I think about this notebook? Overall, I’d say it’s got great 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)
4.3

Fountain Pen Love Overall Rating

Pros: Great dry times, 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 4

  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. 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.

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