Let me start out this review by saying that, as far as numbers go, the Logical Prime notebook is a very solid notebook. While it may not be a well-known name in the world of fountain pen friendly paper, the Logical Prime notebook (made by Nakabayashi) is certainly worth considering for anyone who is serious about using good paper.
I first came across the Logical Prime notebooks at the San Francisco pen show. In my quest for new paper to try out, these notebooks stood out as a brand that I had never seen before. Somewhat skeptical, I went ahead and purchased one for research purposes. They certainly are simple yet attractive notebooks. They have the name debossed on the cover in gold foil, a few different earth-toned color options and that’s it. Each cover color represents a different page style (discussed below). The paper is very smooth to the touch and feels like it should handle fountain pen ink very well. Let’s go ahead and take a closer look at the notebook details.
Here are the basic details for the Logical Prime notebooks:
- Pages: 80 (40 sheets)
- Paper Weight: ~80gsm
- Binding: Stitch
- Page Style: Lined (7mm), Dot (12mm), Grid (6mm)
- 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: Medium
- Feathering: Very Low
- Dry Time: High
- Header/footer on each page
- Attractive, minimal design
As I mentioned before, Logical Prime notebooks are very simple and don’t have many features. They are made for writing and that’s about it. Each page has a space at the top for a number, date and contents. I suppose this could be useful if you wanted to quickly reference what notes were on each page or tell someone else which page to look on for a particular piece of information. There is also a slight footer on each page so that you don’t have to worry about writing text all the way to the bottom.The notebook covers are made of thick cardstock, so they are soft covers, but could still potentially be used without a surface underneath. The notebooks come with three different cover color options, but instead of being decorative each color specifies which page layout the notebook is. There are three different page layout options, none of them blank. The dot grid is the closest to blank you can get, as it has dots that are spaced 12mm apart. The grid is a traditional square grid pattern. The lined is the most interesting pattern, as it is lined but still has a dotted grid pattern on top of the solid lines. While some might find it distracting, I can see how it could be very useful for handwriting practice. All three patterns are in the same light grey/green print. The notebooks don’t have many features, other than the paper, which is the main feature. The paper that is used in these notebooks is very good! In my testing, with only one exception, I didn’t see any negative attributes such as feathering, bleeding or ghosting. In fact, I wouldn’t hesitate to use both sides of a sheet, which is a good thing since there aren’t very many pages in a notebook. The one exception I did see was a bit of feathering with Iroshizuku Syo-ro ink. All other inks, regardless of which pen or ink was used or how much ink was allowed to pool, never feathered. Dry time, while not amazing, is not extremely slow, which is unusual for papers that show good sheen. Speaking of sheen, Logical Prime notebooks show a good amount of it. In my tests I observed sheen similar to more popular notebooks such as Life Noble, Black n’ Red and my beloved Itoya Romeo notebooks.
So besides the feathering with Syo-ro, are there any negatives to these notebooks? While some people may love having a thin notebook, others might not like that it only has 40 sheets of paper. Still others might want the option of a blank notebook, which is not currently offered by Logical Prime. Availability is also an issue, as they are not widely available online. I have seen them at a few of the pen shows I’ve been to, so if a pen show is in your future you can hopefully pick one up there (at a cheaper price than you can online). While they are not expensive notebooks, their cost-per-page is a little higher than many other comparable options, so saving some money by buying them at a show is definitely a good thing.
There is one other thing that I noticed that is not a positive or a negative, but it’s something that is worth mentioning. The paper feels different from any other paper that I’ve used before. It’s a subtle difference and is hard to explain, but I’m going to try. It almost has some resistance to it and the only thing in my experience that I can compare it to is writing on a dry erase board. You can tell that the surface is very smooth, but as your pen moves across it you still feel some resistance. While some papers like Tomoe River are very smooth with a bit of feedback and others like Clairefontaine are so smooth they’re almost slippery and still others like Midori MD are not particularly smooth and offer good feedback, Logical Prime paper is nothing like any of them. It is very smooth and does not offer feedback, but does offer some sort of resistance. It’s not unpleasant to write on, just different.
I am going to go out on a limb and say that, if you like sheen, the Logical Prime notebook is the most well-rounded notebook you can buy. There are other notebooks that show more sheen, with more options and features, bigger names, and more pages, but the Logical Prime notebooks are just solid all-around performers. If you happen to be at a pen show and see them for sale, I’d encourage you to take a chance, pick one up and see for yourself how you like it.
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 notebook? Head over to my shop and pick up a paper sample pack.
Logical Prime 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: Well-rounded notebooks, great shading, fast dry times
Cons: Some feathering with one ink, not widely available, no option for blank sheets
Value Rating: 3.57 Stars, Cost per A5 sheet: $0.20
Who this notebook is for: People who want great shading, sheen and faster than normal dry times.
Upgrade to this notebook from: Apica CD15 notebook
Upgrade from this notebook to: Mnemosyne notebook
Hey John, thanks for the review! Would you mind sharing the name of the orange ink in the photo that shows the Syo-ro feathering? I wonder if it shades just as lovely on TR paper. Cheers!
Hey Jason, that is Sailor Apricot. It’s a wonderful ink that shades pretty well on TR, but better on this paper. Still, if you like shading inks it’s a great one to have. Although you can still occasionally find it, I don’t think Sailor makes Apricot any more, but it was replaced (?) by Kin-mokusei.
I picked up a couple of these at the DC show last year. They are excellent–much more practical for handwriting practice than the French-ruled Clairfontaines, and most ink behave perfectly on them.
Now if only they’d become more widely available than primarily at pen shows, everyone could enjoy them!