Life L Writing Paper Review

John BosleyReviews 14 Comments

If you write a lot of letters and want some of the finest paper available for fountain pens, you need to try out some Life L Writing Paper. Out of all of the papers I’ve ever tested, this one has performed the best out of the writing papers and has one of the highest overall ratings. That’s impressive, considering I’ve tested over 50 fountain pen friendly papers! What’s so special about it? That’s what we’re going to find out today.

First Impressions

The pads of Life L Writing Paper (from now on in this review, I’ll just call it Life L) make a great first impression. First off, there’s the beautifully decorative cover. Just seeing it should be enough to get you excited to write on it. Being B5-sized, the pad is also larger than many other pads of writing paper, so it seems more substantial than an A5 pad of paper.

Life L Writing Paper B5 pad

You can see the significant size difference of a B5 pad (left) compared to an A5 pad (right)

Once you get past the cover, the paper stands ready and waiting. The paper is white, but not a bright white. It has soft grey lines and a margin running around the page. Compared to something like Clairefontaine Triomphe or Rhodia that has lines running across the entire sheet, the Life L seems more classy to me.

The Details

Here’s some detailed info about the Life L Writing Paper

  • Pages: 70
  • Paper Weight: 90gsm?
  • Binding: Glue (pad)
  • Page Style: Lined, 10mm spacing
  • Size: 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: Average
  • Feathering: Very Low
  • Dry Time: High

Other features

  • Lovely, decorative cover
  • Available in a very decorative A5 size
  • Also available in vertical ruling
Life L Writing Paper cover detail

The cover, in addition to being decorative, is also informative.

Actual Use

As far as I know, this paper does not come in notebooks and is only available as a notepad. Update: This paper is also available in Life Margin notebooks. The paper tears off of the pad very easily. The glue used on these pads is neither soft like the Clairefontaine Triomphe or stiff like on G. Lalo Vergé de France pads. It’s more like the Goldilocks of glues and is just right.

The glue may be just right, but how about how this paper handles inks? I already mentioned that this paper has one of the highest ratings out of any papers I’ve tested, but what does that actually mean? Well, it’s basically about as good as it can be for everything that matters besides dry time, which is still faster than some premium papers. Does this mean that writing on it is going to be a life-changing experience? Not really. It’s not that it is the best paper ever made and everything else pales in comparison, it just does everything very well. Writing on it is very smooth, but not slick like some premium papers. There is just the slightest hint of feedback to let you know you’re in control.

Where this paper really shines is how it makes your ink look. Compared to other writing papers like Clairefontaine Triomphe, G. Lalo Vergé de France and even Rhodia, Life L has significantly more sheen and shading. Compared to Tomoe River, which can also be used for writing letters, Life L has the same amount of sheen with better shading and faster dry times.

Life L Writing Paper Writing Sample - Front

Life L Writing Paper Writing Sample – Front

Life L Writing Paper Writing Sample - Back

Life L Writing Paper Writing Sample – Back

I mentioned that this paper is also available in an A5-sized pad. While the paper quality is exactly the same, the A5 pad has decorations on it that will make your letters much fancier. The cover is also quite attractive. Both the A5 and B5 versions come in horizontal and vertical lined options.

Life L Writing Paper A5 cover

You can see that the A5 cover is just as fancy as the B5 cover.

Life L Writing Paper A5 paper decoration

The A5 paper has a nice decorative border around it.

So is there anything not to like about this paper? Well, not much. Dry times could always be better, but that’s the price you pay for excellent performance in other areas. If I had to be picky, I’d say that there is a significant amount of ink resist on the lines, meaning that ink “breaks” across the line and doesn’t cover it up, but that’s about it. It could always be cheaper, but isn’t that the case for anything? One thing to note about the B5 pads is that, unless you plan to fold your letter into quarters, you’ll need larger envelopes than you use for A5 paper, so I suppose that’s a bit of a negative as well.


If you’re into writing letters, you need to try some Life L Writing Paper. Not only does it handle ink very well and look classy on its own, but it also makes your ink look fantastic. Personally, I get excited every time I pull out the pad of paper and sit down to write a letter. Seeing the cover just reminds me of what a fantastic paper this is and makes me want to write to someone. I hope you have the same experience when you try it out. Enjoy!

Life L Writing Paper cover detail

The cover of this paper is so beautiful!

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

Interested in trying this paper before buying a notepad? Head over to my shop and pick up a paper sample pack.

  • 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: Some of the best-performing paper you can use with your fountain pen
Cons: Longer dry times, more expensive than ordinary paper
Value Rating: 3.57 Stars, Cost per B5 sheet: $0.17
Who this paper is for: Anyone who writes letters and wants their ink to look the best it possibly can.

Comments 14

  1. Wonderful review. I have a bundle of B5 envelopes from The Paper Seahorse that will now be best buddies with the pad I just picked up from Amazon. I do need practice staying in the lines and the subtle ruling is appealing to that end.

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  2. John, just curious, when writing personal letters, do you use both sides of the page, or only if the paper will handle it without showing through, or never? Reasoning?

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      Edward, when I’m writing letters I only use one side of a page. Even if the paper will handle it, I never write on both sides. There is no real reason behind this, it’s just how I tend to do things.

  3. Thanks for the review!

    FYI, you can find “L writing paper” in their Life Margin notebook series. They are available in A5, B5, and B7 (I think) sizes with 80 sheets.They also come in plain, lined, and grid paper.

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  4. Have you ever tried their L1025 pad? I’m wondering if it’s the exact same type of paper as the L1007 and L323 pads you’ve got here. From what I can tell from the few pictures I can find online, the L1025 is unruled and bright white; meant for writing condolence letters. Not all the paper in the L series is the same though, so it might be even better or worse quality for fountain pens.

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  5. Just to get back to you on this: I bought a pad of L1025 and can report the paper composition is completely different to the L1006 and L1007 pads. It is good paper, but it doesn’t do much for fountain pen ink and I suspect it may also make some nib-ink combinations more prone to skipping. Sadly, it seems that there are no blank, unruled pads available using the L1006/L1007/L321/L323 paper.

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