I was so excited when MARK+FOLD reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in trying and blogging about their new Notebook Mark Three, perfect for bullet journallers (they gifted me the notebook for free). I am so excited to share my thoughts on this beautiful notebook with all of you!
There are a lot of stationery brands out there, and MARK+FOLD sets itself apart in two ways: quality (from an obsessive, fellow-stationery-nerd perspective) and sustainability. I keep my eye on a lot of brands, and this combination is unique–I do think you rarely find both, so well-executed, in one product. Let’s look closer…
Look and Feel
This new notebook in their line is a dot grid A5 notebook with 112 pages of 120 GSM paper. The dot grid spacing is just under 5mm (similar to Archer & Olive and Leuchtturm), and has one extra dot width-wise and height-wise than those two brands.
I love the level of detail in this notebook. My background is in art history, and I wrote my thesis on printmaking, so you can imagine how much I’m geeking out over every little detail in this notebook.
First, every notebook comes with a sleeve explaining each bit of the process. Listing the provenance of every aspect of the notebook you’re holding in your hands feels really special: it’s clear the care they’ve taken to develop relationships with paper mills, book binderies, letterpress studios, and more. I loved learning about the special processes they decided on using on their website, from the method that help their books lay flat to the number of white papers they tested to find the perfect one.
These special techniques are the kind that made me fall in love with printmaking, bookmaking, and ultimately stationery: the attention to detail here is pretty profound. For example, in printmaking, you hand-number each print, and that’s exactly what MARK+FOLD has done here for each book, from the hand-wrapped tissue paper cover of the notebook, above, to the inside cover pictured below. These notebooks just feel special.
I want to note these are softcover bound, and so to me they’re definitely a desk notebook and not a throw-in-your-bag notebook. The cardstock paper cover is quite strong, though (and I like the look of a well-loved notebook, personally!). I do love that you can fold back the cover for a sturdy, one-handed writing experience if you’re on the go though–something you definitely can’t do with a hardcover book!
Finally, my favorite design detail is the gilded semicircle on the cover, just where you thumb open the notebook. I love that little minimal touch.
Happily, the notebook’s quality is just as good as its looks! Here’s a pen test page I used to get to know the notebook.
I loved writing on this paper. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’m in the process of teaching myself to use fountain pens, and I loved writing with my TWSBI Go on this paper. It was so smooth! As you can see, I ended up writing a brief review because it was so lovely to use and I wanted to keep writing.
The Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogen ink I currently have in the pen also looked beautiful on the paper: check out how the ink pools and dries without any feathering or bleeding.
In fact, every single pen I tried, from gel pen to fineliner, looked and felt lovely to write with on this paper. You can see a few of the ones I tried above. I was particularly impressed with how smooth the very fine-tip gel pens (my favorite kind) were on this paper; often on nicer papers, gel pens can get a little scratchy, but not here.
Finally, the cherry on top for me is the brand’s commitment to sustainability.
I love that they source their papers only from sustainably-managed forests. This notebook came wrapped in lovely tissue paper and with a kind note from their team; but both were unsealed, so you could re-use the tissue paper and card yourself and it wouldn’t go to waste. Even the cardboard packaging it was mailed to me in was recycled and recyclable, while still protecting the notebook–there was nothing wasteful.
You can read much more about their process and transparency on their website (if you’ve read this far I’m sure you can tell how much I enjoyed geeking out about seeing the behind-the-scenes!).
To me, the cost of these notebooks (£28) reflects both the quality of the products as well as the company’s commitment to working closely with family-run factories in Europe and the UK, which is super inspiring.
I highly recommend these MARK+FOLD notebooks–first and foremost for their extremely high quality level, but also for the spirit and integrity of how they run their business! For bullet journallers, I think they could be a great tracker companion for things you don’t want to migrate all the time, such as books you’re reading, monthly habits, and sleep and mood tracker, so you have them all in one place to reference and reflect on.
These would also be especially perfect if you’re embarking on a project that feels like it demands something special to write in (I think I’ll be using mine on Books of Notes “A Breathable Beginning to 2020” journaling workbook)–or, of course, for a really meaningful gift.
MARK+FOLD Notebook Mark Three, £28
(sent to me for free in exchange for a review)
|• Gorgeous minimal design, extremely well-thought-through attention to detail||• Cost/shipping is on the higher side (but I do feel the quality is worth it, especially if you can find a supplier in your country!)|
|• Absolutely incredible quality||• Softcover (not a con, but to your taste); I’d keep this on your desk rather than in your everyday carry|
|• Support a small brand with a commitment to sustainability and quality|
I’m so grateful to MARK+FOLD for sending me this beautiful notebook to try! Had you heard of this brand before? What do you think of the looks of these very special notebooks?