23 October 2017

Which Paper?

We all use a variety of paper in our planners and notebooks, no matter if they are bound or ring bound organisers.

The quality of the paper is important to us, this might be because you want to archive your notes, or if you are fountain pen user you want to ensure that what you write in your preferred brand and colour of ink looks sharp and not blurred, that the paper isn't like blotting paper and the ink soaks through the pages to the other side.

The choice of paper and ink is sometimes a difficult one, if the paper doesn't absorb the ink another problem can occur, the ink can be smudged if it doesn't dry quickly enough and it just sits on the surface of the paper rather than adhering to the paper.

However, let us think for a moment that you have found the perfect paper, the perfect ink in a colour of your choice, a pen that is a delight to use, it is. The perfect weight in your fingers and it is a delight to use. It allows you to transfer those thoughts and ideas to paper and after a writing session you can sit back and relax as you review you page of writing.

Going back to your choice of paper, one thing I want to discuss is do you choose plain paper, lined paper, quadrille (squared), or dot grid paper?

Each one has its merits, it's good and bad points. Some types seem to be more popular than others. For instance here in France or at least in my local stores most notepads are nearly always quadrille format, it is quite difficult to buy lined or plain paper pads or notebooks, they do exist, but not available in the same sort of quantities as the quadrille ones! I will be adding lined and plain paper varieties to my 'Bring back from UK' list!!

I was quite pleased when Helen Fennel one of our readers sent me the Writing Guide page to try out. I printed it out and put it behind my Filofax plain page and instantly I have visible lines to guide me across the page. I remember these sort of lined sheets from old letter writing pads, I am not sure if they still sell these or not, but they are very useful.

So me being me, I have adapted the idea and produced some similar writing guide pages in A4, A5 as well as the Personal size.
Filofax of course sell plain paper and lined paper in all sizes. But if you want some dot grid pages you can print your own fairly easily.

Dot-grid format is very useful for doing drawings and sketches, but. You can easily use the dots to help you keep your writing from deviating from a straight line. Another advantage I have found, if you need to scan or copy your pages the dots are often ignored by the scanner, so the copy appears with just your writing and drawing and no dots.

Ray has come to our assistance with some dot-grid formatted files which we can use. Look here for Personal size and here for A4/A5 size

So what is your preferred format?


  1. Lined paper with a narrow spacing is my default choice, but all the varieties mentioned get a look in according to the task in hand. Quadrille I probably use the least, because I have stocks of many older, tabular leaves, and I tend to pick one of those whenever suitable.

  2. Regarding paper quality, I've not seen this news being discussed on here, but the 2018 Filofax diaries are touted as being on improved paper that's 14% thicker than before. I think that means they are now 80GSM instead of 70.
    70GSM would have been too thin to use with most fountain pens, which matches the experiences people have reported here. I've tried a test on my recently purchased 2018 insert, and can confirm there is reduced bleed-through, so this is certainly a step in the right direction. 90GSM would be even better though.

  3. Thicker is not always better. I’ve gone to Tomoe River paper from Japan almost exclusively. It is a very thin, lightweight, and strong paper, and available pre-punched under the Davinci label from JetPens.com
    I make many of my own forms on it, but have also gone to the Hobonichi planners because of- - -you guessed it, Tomoe River paper. These used with Micron pens are just an unbeatable combination. The TR paper is fountain pen friendly, but does take a bit longer to dry.

  4. Crofter, is the TR paper good for writing on both sides of the paper? I have read (I think) that show through is a problem when using that paper because its so thin. I love the idea of a nice thin paper so I can fit more, but show-through is a deal breaker for me...

  5. 2018 Filofax diary inserts are indeed now printed to a revised design on 80gsm paper (70g plus 14%). Cotton Cream leaves are still available for those wanting 90gsm paper.

  6. I use fountain pens with various nib sizes between Japanese fine and Western medium, my problem with the 2017 pages, that they are not so absorbent so either I need to use a blotter or wait till the ink dries up. The 70gsm paper was fine, no bleed through, just some see through. Still in weight-balance ratio is fine. I have good quality 90 gsm paper, but its nearly 30% increase in weight.
    So, not sure, that I will print my own inserts or buy the official one. Have a few weeks to think...