Write Notepads: A Year in Review
For the uninitiated, Write Notepads is a small, local business based in South Baltimore, Maryland that makes pocket (and other sized) notebooks. For every notebook you purchase, one goes to an inner city student that needs one. From the packaging to the actual notebook, everything is designed with meticulous attention to detail. While Write sells standard notebooks that are always available for purchase, they also have a subscription option where you receive a new limited edition every three months. Along with the limited edition notebooks, you receive limited edition pencils that match. I will take a look at all four editions in this overview and comment a bit on their aesthetics and choose a favorite. I'd like the send out a huge thank you to Kathy Rogers, a member of the Erasable group for providing the samples I reviewed.
Write's first edition was a an ode to Edgar Alan Poe. Inspired by the darkness of Poe, each notebook has the simple word "Lenore" foil-stamped on its cover. The inside of the notebook is 70 lb. small graph paper. I am not sure how I feel about the tiny squares-- I prefer a larger grid so I can make easier checklists. What I do like is the matching pencil-- there is a raven foil stamped on the barrel. The ferrule, eraser, and wood of the pencil is also black which stays within the dark theme Lenore has going. While I like the pencil a lot, the notebook is not my favorite. I'd rank it 4th due to the small graph paper inside and the minimalist cover. The pencil get 1st place hands down.
Write's second edition Kindred Spirit, was inspired by the idea that us notebook and pencil enthusiasts are all kindred spirits and share the same feelings about our niche hobby. The notebooks have been packaged as "Charcoal Bookettes" as a play on the idea that each notebook is like the beginning of a fire with the charcoal resembling the potential fire that is formed when we put our ideas to paper. The outside of the notebook is a light orange-yellow with the slightest of marbling and the word "Write" stamped inside of a black flame. The 70 lb. paper inside is lined like a ledger notebook which is a feature I like since I use a lot of my pocket notebooks for lists. The pencil that came along with it was a natural wood-grain pencil with a pinkish-red eraser and "Quickstrike - Safety Pencils" stamped in red on the barrel. I like this notebook a lot-- the bright cover and the ledger-lined paper inside does it for me and puts the book 2nd on my list. The pencil is a creative design and I have a thing for natural wood pencils, so it gets 2nd place as well.
The Royal Blue
This Fall edition features the B&O Railroad and was created to honor The Royal Blue, a train that shuttled passengers from Washington D.C. to Jersey City. The notebooks are a Saxony Blue and gold-- the railroad's traditional colors. A crest in gold is printed on the cover and "The Royal Blue" is at the bottom in the original font of the train line. This edition also has 70 lb. paper with the ledger lines I so love. The pencil that comes with this edition is also blue and has a round barrel. Stamped in gold is a picture of the Royal Blue train, the words "The Royal Blue" and "Write"; there is a sliver ferrule with a white eraser. This notebook gets 1st place due to its design and ledger lined inside. The pencil gets 4th place because I hate round barreled pencils (sorry).
In the Pines
Write's final edition of their inaugural subscription year was titled "In the Pines" and was inspired by a "cold walk through a dense pine forest." According to Write, the title pays homage to an "eerie hymnal originally attributed to Lead Belly, and popularized by Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged session." As a lover of trees, I wanted to love this edition. The detail of the dark green embossed cover is beautiful with a silver pine tree and the words "In the Pines" on the front. Inside is 70 lb. dot grid paper which I am not in love with as the dots seem a bit more spread out than I am used to. The pencil that goes along with this edition is also in dark green with silver stamping on the barrel. I really like the detail of the number 2 inside a pine tree. What is disappointing is I feel like the quality control on these pencils is not the same of the others. I ordered a few and some have chips in the paint and sloppy stamping. The chipping is not a big deal since it is at the end of the pencil and will be sharpened away anyway, but still disappointing. I give the notebooks and pencils from this edition 3rd place on my lists.