notebooks and card samples notebooks and card samples

Just a quick few tests, here.

I’ve bought business cards and stickers from before, including some of their 600gsm Luxe cards. They’re a great service with good quality products. Once, they arranged a rush order of special mini-cards to be shipped to our hotel in San Francisco, and did marvellously. Back then, I didn’t really use fountain pens, though…

I do remember that the standard business cards, being coated/laminated, were impossible to write on with ink: rollerball, gel, or anything really. I never tried writing on their Luxe cards, but I expected them to feather wildly… not ideal for scribbling your private number on the back!

Now that are selling quality notebooks, letterhead and other products, and the arrival of a decent coupon offer in my inbox, I thought it might be worth getting some of these products and testing them for fountain pen friendliness.

Note: the sole purpose of this review is concerning their fountain-pen-friendliness. If you’re not an FP user, I heartily recommend products, as I’ve had nothing but good customer experience, service and product quality from them.


I ordered a Hard & Softcover duo. These use Munken Design Kristall 100gsm lined paper for the main pages, and G. F. Smith’s Colorplan paper for the plain coloured pages in the middle.

I used:

  • Noodlers Neponset with music nib with Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue (dry ink, but a pretty wet pen);
  • modified Noodlers Ahab with SBREBROWN ink (wet ink, wet pen);
  • Pilot Vanishing Point F with Pure Pens Llanberis Slate ink (medium-dry ink, dry pen);
  • A brush pen with Organics Studio Walden Pond ink (very wet and saturated, high sheen)
  • Pilot Custom 743 FA with an FNF 2-channel ebonite feed and Pilot Black Cartridge ink (wet pen);
  • Monteverde Tool Pen with Cult Pens Iridescink Robert ink (dry pen, medium-wet ink, high sheen)

[Note, the wet/dry thing is a subjective thing in my opinion, so don’t take it as gospel. If you disagree with my assessment, please do let me know] Hardcover notebook paper Hardcover notebook paper

On the main white lined paper – Munken Design Kristall 100gsm – the paper didn’t feather much, and there’s practically no bleed-through. The exception to that was the 743 FA with Pilot Black ink, which did feather and bleed a bit… while the brush pen and music nib lay down a lot of ink, the flex nib of the 743 FA actually pushes it into the paper, and the third-party ebonite feed is a firehose to supply the ink. Even so, the bleed is no worse than on Rhodia or Black n’ Red Optik.

743 FA feathering

743 FA feathering

743 FA bleed

743 FA bleed

Sheening is not that high, though, which is a little surprising: non-feathering paper is usually a good sheener, as the two factors are both related to absorption of ink. If a paper doesn’t feather, it’s usually less absorbent so excess ink will crystallise on the surface and sheen.

Saying that, it does sheen, but not as much as Tomoe River paper or even Rhodia paper – although it’s not far from Rhodia.

The coloured paper – G. F. Smith Colorplan – also didn’t feather or bleed, and sheened slightly better. For a rougher paper surface, this was also a little surprising; I was expecting the coloured paper to suck in ink like a hoover.

The books are well-made and detailed, with a nice slipcase and business-card accessory. I’m usually a fan of wirebound binding with microperf for better folding (not detachment), but the “Swiss binding” works well and it does lie flat, at least in the hardbound book.

In comparison to one of my usual everyday carries – Lemome dotted cork notebook, the paper is a bit better, but comparable. The Lemome has a pen loop, wrapping elastic and microperf; while the MOO has the slip cover, the novelty coloured pages, and slightly better paper.

My other usual everyday carry – Oxford Black n’ Red A5 wirebound hardcover, Optik paper – the paper in the MOO notebook is a lot better. I hate to say it, but while I’m a fan of Black n’ Red (except for the UK market’s “Scribzee” marks) the paper does tend to feather and bleed with particularly wet pens and ink.

The MOO books aren’t especially cheap, but they are good quality and appear well-made.

I would rate the performance of the paper as good, and definitely suitable for fountain pens, except for the very wettest nibs and inks.


I ordered the business card sample pack, containing the standard cards, glossy, as well as the 600gsm Luxe cards and the particularly interesting 298gsm cotton cards made from 100% cotton T-shirt offcuts.

Now, I realise business cards aren’t intended for writing on with fountain pens, but they’re a substitute test for using similar stock for postcards, note paper, and so on.

I only bothered testing the uncoated Luxe and Cotton cards, as we already know the coated just won’t work at all with standard fountain pen ink.

I used most of the same pens and inks as the notebook:

  • Noodlers Neponset with music nib with Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue ink;
  • modified Noodlers Ahab with SBREBROWN ink;
  • Pilot Vanishing Point F with Pure Pens Llanberis Slate ink;
  • A brush pen with Organics Studio Walden Pond ink;
  • Pilot Custom 743 FA with an FNF 2-channel ebonite feed and Pilot Black Cartridge ink;
_298gsm Cotton card_ (above) and _600gsm Luxe card_ (below)

298gsm Cotton card (above) and 600gsm Luxe card (below)


The 600gsm Luxe cards using Mohawk Superfine paper are really nice and substantial. However, they behaved precisely as I expected: they feathered like blotting paper, or more like my skin when I have a blood-draw. As soon as nib went to paper, it practically sucked ink out of the feed as quick as it could, and pooled visibly under the top surface of the paper. Ironically, it didn’t dry quickly either, so smeared quicker than I expected. The ink lightened almost instantly as the bulk of the ink was (presumably) sequestered into the inner layer of the stock.

The 743 FA with Pilot Black went pretty light grey quickly, and feathered to the extreme.

In conclusion, Luxe card is absolutely not appropriate for writing with a fountain pen and ink – might as well use a napkin or toilet paper – and barely usable with a dry pen and ink.


The 298gsm Cotton cards, were an unknown for me. I really had no idea how they’d perform. They’re better than the Luxe cards, certainly. The writing experience is a little strange, with the ink acting almost like on a mix of uncoated paper with a hint of plastic… a little hydrophobic beading of the ink, but enough absorption for it to work.

Line definition is acceptable, and feathering is manageable: there’s a little distortion of hairlines, but otherwise legible. The slight hydrophobic beading does make the ink stay wet and smear more than normal paper.

The 743 FA with Pilot Black stayed fairly black (although not as black as a good fountain-pen paper like Tomoe River) and didn’t feather much.

Even so, out of all the card stocks that came in the business card sample pack the 298gsm Cotton performed the best with fountain pen ink.

Postcards and Greetings cards

I also ordered the other sample pack, containing a range of flyers, postcards and greetings cards, as well as stickers and so forth.

Suffice to say, Luxe 600gsm postcards behaved the same way as the Luxe business cards, unsurprisingly: it sucked up the ink and feathered.

_600gsm Luxe postcard_ -- nasty subsurface pooling

600gsm Luxe postcard – nasty subsurface pooling

The 330gsm Original postcard, 200gsm matte flyer, and 340gsm greeting card wrote just fine, even with the wet inks and pens. In fact, even the Pelikan 4001 royal blue sheened pretty well. I’d say the greeting card performed better than many I’ve bought in shops.

_200gsm flyer_ -- performs fine, but not intended as writing paper

200gsm flyer – performs fine, but not intended as writing paper

_330gsm postcard_

330gsm postcard

_340gsm greeting card_ (not postcard as noted)

340gsm greeting card (not postcard as noted)

So, I’d recommend the greeting cards and postcards, but again, not the Luxe versions.

Letterhead paper

After these initial tests, I contacted and asked for samples of their Luxe 118gsm (Mohawk Superfine) and Original 120gsm letterhead paper, as these are actually the two items in their range (other than the notebooks) that will be regularly fountain-penned: the archetypal broad-nibbed fountain pen signature.

They graciously delivered samples the next day, and I tried them out with the pens used earlier, along with some extras:

  • Pilot Custom 743 FA with an FNF 2-channel ebonite feed and Pilot Black Cartridge ink;
  • Noodlers Neponset with music nib with Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue;
  • modified Noodlers Ahab with SBREBROWN ink;
  • Pilot Vanishing Point F with Pure Pens Llanberis Slate ink;
  • A brush pen with Organics Studio Walden Pond ink;
  • Platinum 3776 Century Soft-Fine with Pure Pens Cadwaladr ink (medium-wet ink, medium-wet pen)
  • Sheaffer 100 Medium with Sheaffer Slovenian Black Cartridge ink (medium-dry/wet ink, medium-wet pen)
  • TWSBI Vac 700 with modified Jinhao nib with Pure Pens Windermere ink (medium-wet saturated ink, wet pen)
  • FPR Himalaya, Ultra-Flex nib with Pure Pens Cwm Idwal ink (medium-wet saturated ink, wet pen)

Original 120gsm Letterhead

The paper feels nice; smooth and slightly glossy – a “modern” style paper. I would expect this to perform better than standard copier paper. It’s fairly opaque and the print quality is good.

_Original 120gsm Letterhead_

Original 120gsm Letterhead

Fountain pen performance isn’t great… there’s fine feathering on the 743 FA and the medium nib, but it’s manageable. As noted above, being flex, the FA nib tends to be pushed into the paper with a relatively sharp point on the tines, so it effectively injects ink into the paper’s “epidermis”, so it’s a tough test.

_Original 120gsm Letterhead (close-up)_

Original 120gsm Letterhead (close-up)

I don’t have a big fat signing pen, but the Noodler’s Neponset music nib isn’t that far off, and loaded with Pelikan 4001, it’s not atypical. This combination didn’t feather badly: with this kind of pen for a signature, pressure won’t be hard, and the paper can cope. Sheening is okay, with some on the Pelikan 4001 and the Walden, but not really on the Pure Pens inks, which do tend to sheen a bit on Rhodia, Tomoe River et al.

The best performer was the Pilot Vanishing Point (Fine) with Llanberis Slate, but it’s a fairly dry combination. Tone with that ink is good on this paper… it’s an interesting ink because its shade is so dependent on the paper: on Tomoe River it’s a very dark grey, whereas on absorbent papers it goes to a light/mid-grey. It’s a good indicator.

Bleed-through on the Original letterhead was slightly visible for all but the Vanishing Point. The sample I received was printed all-over on the back, so I wouldn’t use the other side anyway, but if left blank it might be more noticeable.

Luxe 118gsm Letterhead

While it’s technically lighter than the Original, being uncoated and rough it feels more substantial. Unfortunately (and unsurprisingly) it performs about as well as the Luxe cards… very badly.

_Luxe 118gsm Letterhead_ (“Mowhawk” [sic])

Luxe 118gsm Letterhead (“Mowhawk” [sic])

There was extreme feathering on all the pens except the Pilot Vanishing Point (Fine). The ink in the Veep – still Llanberis Slate – went light grey quickly, indicating a lot of absorption, but the line was still crisp enough. Under magnification, it’s clear that it’s just on the edge of feathering.

_Luxe 118gsm Letterhead (close-up, Pilot Custom 743 FA)_

Luxe 118gsm Letterhead (close-up, Pilot Custom 743 FA)

The Platinum 3776 Soft-Fine with Pure Pens Cadwaladr ink is usually fairly well-behaved, but under flex it will feather on many papers. On the Luxe, it even feathered on all but the driest, finest lines to some degree.

_Luxe 118gsm Letterhead (close-up, Platinum 3776 SF)_

Luxe 118gsm Letterhead (close-up, Platinum 3776 SF)

Bleed-through with the Luxe was worse than with the Original. Once more, the Vanishing Point F didn’t bleed, although this time there was even a slight amount of ghosting visible with that! The other pens ghosted far more noticeably, and with the feathering bleeding, not just the strokes.

As with the cards, in conclusion, Luxe letterhead is absolutely not appropriate for writing with a fountain pen and ink. This is a real shame, because it’s nice-feeling paper. I wouldn’t want to sign a business letter on it with a broad pen, though… it’ll look horrible. I bet any fountain pen users at companies that buy Luxe letterhead will quickly keep a spare ballpoint or an ultra-dry pen with an ultra-dry ink… maybe Noodler’s X-Feather or similar.

As an afterthought, I tried the Luxe with a Pilot V-Pen, just to see… it performed well with no feathering or bleeding! However, signing a big contract with a disposible fountain pen barely better than using a Biro.


On the whole I really like’s products, and their notebooks do seem to perform quite well with fountain pen ink. The business cards, not so much – especially Luxe; and I’d say the two letterheads I tried are certainly not fountain-pen-friendly; especially the Luxe.

It’d be nice if looked into sourcing some ink-friendly paper, at least for letterheads. Considering for some people the only time they use a pen nowadays is for signing letters, contracts and things – well, maybe not the only time, but not far off! – I’d say that making their paper work with modern fountain pens should be a priority.

Charitably, I should note that my selection of pens and inks does veer towards the wet side of things; even my vintages are wet flexers. I’m not a big fan of dry inks and dry pens with no line variation, so my pens tend to put out a lot of ink as a rule. I like my Vanishing Point for practicality, but for me it’s not a big step beyond using a rollerball in terms of either experience or results. I reckon my old boss who took great pleasure in signing letters in purple ink with a big fat broad Montblanc would absolutely hate this paper.

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