Although the pen is the tool we use to extract our ideas, the notebook is where those ideas come to life and live.
You would think that after so many years of writing, drawing, and creating, that the notebook is about "figured out", but I'd say we'd be wrong in making that assumption.
I was recently contacted by the guys over at Studio Neat, an inventive duo (Tom and Dan) that is set out to solve the problems of utility and function (mixed with clean design) across a range of product types. From filming, device charging, and even cocktail making, these guys have dabbled in a lot and always seem to put a lot of thought and passion into their work.
The newest product in their lineup is a notebook called the Panobook, and they were kind enough to send an initial prototype sample my way to check out.
They are currently running a Kickstarter campaign for the notebook which is already wildly successful (congrats guys!), but I'm excited to give my perspective and thoughts for a proper review.
What sets the Panobook apart from other notebooks I've used is it's shape and overall function. It is a slim notebook roughly 6.25" x 11.25" (160 mm x 288 mm) that is designed to fit in a variety of places you may be writing, and in different formats. Landscape diagrams, lists... this covers it all.
Due to its spiral binding, the notebook lays completely flat on the desk/table as well as allows you to flip the used pages to the back, in turn taking up less desk real estate which is awesome.
Each notebook comes in a card stock sleeve that matches the inside page design which acts as a cover, but also as an archiving tool when storing your books away for later. The only noticeable branding is their studioneat.com label on the side.
Probably being nit picky and I don't have beef with the way they put their name on the notebook, but from a brand perspective (and for the longevity of the product appeal) I'd say drop the ".com". The company is bigger than just a website, and people will find you guys with a simple search. (this is where I'd normally insert a smiley face emoji...)
The covers are a thick, soft, almost rubbery material that feel great and have a subtle texture
My initial reaction is that I really see this book being geared towards more of an architect, app developer, product designer... those types of uses. I wouldn't really see this notebook for more traditional writing or journaling, but I could be wrong. I suppose it depends on your style.
I love working in grids, so their subtle dot grid pattern on the page is perfect. One thing they've added to the pattern are some subtle cues in the form of right angle "corners" that can be connected to create iPhone or mobile layouts (app design thought...)
The paper is nice and stiff 70 lb weight, and each book comes with 50 pages or 100 sheets.
In testing multiple writing tools on the paper, I found it holds up pretty well under most circumstances, but not perfect for all.
The fountain pen feathered a bit, and heavier inks like the Sharpie bled noticeably through the back. Not a deal breaker, but something to be aware of if it drives you nuts.
My go-to pens for this notebook would hands down be a felt tip like a Papermate Flair or any of my pens loaded up with a Schmidt Fineliner.
Honestly, I really like what the guys have created and I feel they've made an awesome and unique addition into what could be perceived as a pretty saturated space. The quality and utility of the notebooks is fantastic and I'm glad to see that people are excited to buy them.
Thanks again to Dan and Tom for sending me the sample for review, and feel free to check out their Kickstarter campaign if these fit your fancy.