It’s not often that a new type of paper hits the fountain pen scene, but when it does, people take notice. As far as I know, Wild Pages burst onto the radars of fountain pen users at the 2019 Chicago Pen Show. In addition to their sudden appearance, Wild Pages has been tight-lipped about the source of their paper, only adding to the buzz and mystique surrounding their notebooks. Shortly after hearing about them, I placed my order to see what all of the fuss was about.
When I first unwrapped my new notebook, I really liked what I saw. The overall design is very simple, yet it feels much more substantial than a simple double-signature notebook. For what it cost, I feel like it is a bit small, but that can be made up for with amazing paper. The color of the cover material is very eye-catching and the paper feels really interesting.
Here’s a bit of info about the Wild Pages notebooks.
- Pages: 96 (48 sheets)
- Paper Weight: 80gsm?
- Binding: Stitch
- Page Style: Blank
- Size: Unique sizes, but close to B6 and B5
Ink-handling characteristics (A table with the following properties can be found at the bottom of this post)
- Sheen: Very Low
- Shading: Low
- Bleeding: Low
- Ghosting: Medium
- Feathering: Medium
- Dry Time: Fast
- Many different cover colors
- Removable elastic closure
- All American-made
The first thing you’re likely to notice about the Wild Notes notebook is the design. The binding is very clever and fairly unique. Two signatures are bound together, but there is a piece of the cover that extends into the middle of the notebook, dividing them. In essence, this gives the notebook two distinct sections, which some people may find very useful. Inside both the front and back cover, the cover folds onto itself, creating a “pocket” where you can store things (although they may slip out of the bottom if you’re not careful).
Tucked into the rear cover “pocket” is an elastic band that wraps around the notebook and keeps it closed. It is not fixed into the cover, so can be moved anywhere on the cover you’d like. It can even be completely removed if you prefer. I really like the closure on this notebook, as it doesn’t get in the way when you’re writing and distort the back cover of the notebook.
Speaking of covers, these notebooks have a soft cover, but not as soft as many notebooks. It may just be the size of the notebook I chose (Medium), but I feel like I could write in it without a hard surface underneath if I needed to. It feels like it will hold up to some wear and tear and still protect the paper inside. The cover material is also very colorful and comes in many different options, so there’s sure to be one that you love. There are no markings on the cover, so it’s perfect for decorating with your own artwork or some fun stickers that need a home. You can even leave it blank if you want.
So how about that paper? As you might have noticed in the ink-handling characteristics section above, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Dry times were very fast, but that always leads to low sheen and shading, which is exactly what I observed. I also saw a bit of feathering and bleeding with various pens and inks, which is very unfortunate. While I won’t say that it’s enough to keep me from using the paper, it is a lot more than I expected to see given the price of these notebooks.The paper is quite nice to write on. It has a smoothness that reminds me of a cross between Tomoe River and Clairefontaine paper. There’s a bit of feedback, but it’s still very smooth if that makes sense. I like it.
New paper and notebooks are a big deal, so it’s no surprise that Wild Pages had lots of buzz surrounding it when their notebooks were introduced in Chicago earlier this year. Having tried one out for myself, I’m a little underwhelmed. I can’t deny that the paper is very nice to write on and the notebooks are attractive, well-made and have some great features. Unfortunately, they cost quite a bit for what you get, especially since the paper isn’t very high-performing. By no means is it bad paper, but for the price, I can think of many other notebooks I’d rather have. Of course, if you value notebooks that are either hand made, American made, or both, this is a great choice for you. If you value value, you should probably look elsewhere.
If you’d like a bit more information about how I test papers and notebooks, I wrote an article about my paper rating system.
Wild Pages Notebook
Fountain Pen Love Overall Rating
Pros: Well made, unique
Value Rating: 2.43 Stars, Cost per A5 sheet: $0.29
Who this notebook is for: People who want something different that’s both hand made and American.
Upgrade to this notebook from: Berlin notebook
Upgrade from this notebook to: Graphilo notebook
If I am not mistaken, this design can be seen in Keith Smith’s book on bookbinding with paste or glue. It is really cool and there are many other examples there.
That’s good to know, Gustavo. Thanks for the info!