09 March 2023


Last Sunday we had another excellent discussion on the Philofaxy 'Round Table' Skype call. It included this topic.

One of the essential ingredients for successfully using any size or type of organiser is your choice of paper combined with what writing instrument you use. When it comes to those there are various types that we will cover in their own post one day. 

Without paper your pen or pencil isn't of much use and vice-versa!!

You can take the easy route and buy pre-printed inserts, but you are going to be confined to what ever paper is supplied married together with the design of the layout in the size of your choice. If you can find the perfect layout on the best paper for your pens/ink you are on to a winner. Stick with it and hope that the company supplying it stays in business and continues to supply that paper in that layout. 

Printing your own inserts does give you more of a choice of what paper you use. Yes you will have the hassle of printing them, cutting and punching too. But diary insert printing is just an annual task for me so it is not too much of a task to do. 

Sourcing the right paper is critical, a ream of paper (500 sheets) can last a few years if you are only using it for your diary inserts. It therefore pays to spend some time testing and researching different paper types/brands to find the right one for you. 

If you have an office supply store in your local town/city then you might be in luck. They might be able to supply a 'sample pack' of different paper types/weights etc. This will save you from the expense of buying several packs of paper that you might not end up using. 

Alternatively buy a small pack of paper of the same brand/type you are considering if they sell them. Use your samples to test the papers suitability in your printer, and more importantly with a variety of pens and fountain pens to check for feathering and bleed through of the ink. 

If you use a Personal Size or A5/A6 size organiser, buying A4 size paper is often easier and then have the pack cut down to the correct size. You can get three Personal Size sheets from one A4 sheet for instance with some small amount of waste. Talk to your office supplier to see if they offer a cutting service behind the scenes or may be a local printer might be able to cut the paper for you for a small fee. 

Cutting services are possibly services they don't usually advertise, but if you ask they might do it for a small 'per cut' fee. 

I'm still using a stack of A6 paper I had cut from some good quality A5 paper a few years ago! 

It is difficult to recommend specific brands because with a world wide audience anything I mention might not be available in your area. I prefer to try and buy from my local office supply store rather than on-line. 

Paper costs quite a lot to ship, the price per pack is often quite low, but it can weigh more than your usual letter post rates so often the shipping cost will be more than the pack of paper itself. 

Naturally you will fine a lot of shops selling the usual weight copier/printer paper, but other weights are often available. They might not keep them in stock but ask if they can source lower or higher weight papers depending on your needs. 

During our discussion on Sunday we were looking at Raymay Davinci this is 52 gsm but to prove the point the paper would have cost 3-4 times as much to buy in Europe due to shipping taxes and other fees! As a straight comparison Clairefontaine a French paper maker can also supply similar light weight paper. from as low as 50 gsm upwards. 

Whilst thin paper is very desirable, check that your printer can handle it, unless you are only using it as blank paper to write on. 

Do you have a favourite brand of paper?  


  1. I use Deskfax 1.0 & the B5 size and the best paper is the Moleskine XXL Cahier size as it guillotines easily to the correct size. A5 is way more convenient to buy but you still need to put the holes in and it's harder to get the right kind of paper. The Moleskine is thin (good for me as I use pencils) and you get a lot sheets in the organiser, the narrow feint lines are also better for me to support more lines per page and not get in the way of drawings/doodles.

  2. Martin Brecher24 March, 2023 16:56

    The Clairefontaine 60g paper ("clairmail smart print paper") is pretty good in my eyes. (I haven't tried the 50g version, yet.) It's affordable and apart from being lightweight and thin, it looks good, feels alright, and it can be written on with fountain pen (with a fine nib). I use the paper mainly to print my own foldout inserts.