• Fountain pen ink cartridge guide

    Fountain pen ink cartridges

    Let's talk about cartridges...

    We love to get people into fountain pens (and ink), so I have decided to come up with something that would answer some basic questions about ink cartridges.

    Cartridges are fountain pen refills and contain fountain pen ink. Most of the fountain pens which we sell will come with one. There are currently around 100 different colours available from 6 manufacturers in stock. Choosing the right cartridge can be tricky...

    Compatibility - do you have the right cartridge?

    Fountain pen ink cartridge size

    Not all cartridges are the same, so let's dive into the compatibility first.

    There are generally 2 kinds of cartridges: International standard and proprietary.

    Proprietary cartridges are made by brands (for example Lamy) and will fit only their own pens. They are incompatible with pens from other brands. If your pen is made by one of the brands listed below you will need a cartridge made by the same brand:

    Aurora, Cross, Lamy, Namiki, Parker, Pilot (some) Platinum, Sailor, Sheaffer, Waterman (some).

    International standard cartridges do fit a lot of fountain pen brands - the ones which we stock are: Caran d'Ache, J Herbin, Kaweco, Pilot and Viking.

    Here is a fairly long list of other fountain pen brands that use International short cartridges: Bexley, Centropen, Conklin, Delta, Diplomat, DuPont, Edison, Faber-Castell, Inoxcrom, Italix, J Herbin, Kaweco, Montblanc, Montegrappa, Monteverde, Ohto, Omas, Online, Pelikan, Pilot (some), Porsche, Recife, Retro51, Rotring, Schmidt, Schneider, Sigma, Stabilo, Stipula, Super5, Tombow, Viking, Visconti, Waterman (some), Yard-O-Led.

    To make this a little bit complicated International cartridges come in long or short version. As a general rule short cartridges will fit all pens which take international cartridges. There are pens which will fit one long or two short cartridges at the same time - one in use and one spare in the barrel.

    We have the pen and correct cartridge. Next up - how to install one...

    Insert fountain pen ink cartridge

    Here is how to install a fountain pen cartridge. If the pen parts scare you check out our anatomy blog posts of Lamy Safari & J Herbin pen :)

    1.  Disassemble the pen by taking the cap off and unscrew the pen barrel.
    2.  Place the cartridge on the desk, lip (the part with little ball) facing up.
    3.  Support the cartridge in one hand and push the front piece of the pen (grip, nib facing upwards) on the cartridge until it gets pierced.
    4. Reassemble the pen. Nib should be pointing downwards.
    5. Wait for the capillary action to do the job of distributing ink. You can also gently tap the nib on paper until you see ink coming out.
    6. Pen is ready to write :)

    Please note there are different ways of doing this (let us know in comments what works for you) - some pen bodies allow you to insert the cartridge inside and screwed the barrel back on which pops the cartridge too. You can also just push the cartridge into the front part of the pen...

    We also recommend to clean your pen before installing a new cartridge - especially if you plan to use a different ink.

    If it doesn't fit...

    • Have a look inside the barrel. Most pens (Kaweco) come with the cartridge inside the pen.
    • Some manufacturers put a blunt cartridge/spacer in the pen barrel to prevent cartridges from rattling around during shipping. These items may become stuck inside the pen if you try to install a cartridge without removing them. Check for cartridges and spacers (Lamy uses paper ring) in a new pen by unscrewing the barrel and giving it a firm tap to dislodge anything that’s inside.

    Monteverde - belongs to a special category because their cartridges actually work 2 ways. It is a double sided cartridge which can fit Lamy pens (wider end) or pens which take International standard long cartridges (slimmer end). If it doesn't fit try using the other end :)

    Cartridge or converter?

    That is a very good question.

    Converters do open the doors to the world of ink, so you can use any ink you like. There are more colour options and brands to choose from. It is also more economical and environmentally friendly. We blogged about the price of fountain pen ink price here...

    Cartridges are convenient, portable, clean, easy to use. You can take a few spares with you when you travel and don't ever have to worry about them leaking. If you get a syringe and blunt needle you can even refill them (couple of times).

    Cartridges have less ink capacity than other filling systems. Personally I don't mind it because I like changing colours a lot :) Anyway, here is a quick info about the capacity of cartridges. I measured what I could and researched the rest. Please bear in mind that the cartridges are not  completely filled, there is a small air bubble so there is a slight variance in capacity.

    Sheaffer 1.5ml
    Parker 1.4 - 1.5ml
    International standard long 1.2 - 1.45ml
    Lamy T10 1.1 - 1.3ml
    Sheaffer slim 1.2ml
    Monteverde 1.1 - 1.2ml
    Platinum 1.1ml
    Pilot/Namiki 0.9ml
    Cross - 0.8ml
    International standard short 0.6 - 0.8ml
  • TWSBI Pens - A Visual Guide

    TWSBI fountain pens - front sections

    A Photographic Look At TWSBI Pens

    TWSBI Eco fountain pen
    The TWSBI Eco fountain pen with Robert Oster Fire Engine Red ink
    TWSBI Eco fountain pen nib
    TWSBI Eco fountain pen nib
    TWSBI Classic fountain pen
    TWSBI Classic fountain pen in turquoise
    TWSBI Vac Mini fountain pen
    TWSBI Vac Mini fountain pen with 20A bottle filler
    TWSBI fountain pens - front sections
    TWSBI fountain pens
    TWSBI 580AL fountain pen
    TWSBI 580AL limited edition (sold out) with Diamine Spearmint Diva ink
  • Pencil Lead Comparison Chart

    pencil lead comparison


    We have tried to put together a simple guide to comparing pencils leads from different brands. It is actually very hard to achieve this and represent it well on screen, but this is a fair representation of the various brands we have available. Since most non-specialist brands lean towards an HB lead (the middle compromise between an H hard lead and a B black lead), there is little to distinguish between the pencils.

    The Blackwing pencils demonstrate the highest degree of change which is not surprising - their pencils don't follow the standard H and B grading you find, but they are still graded from the harder 602 pencil to the softer Classic with the Pearl in between.

    This chart was done on Rhodia paper but you will also find very different results if used on different papers, especially a paper with a grain to it. Since pencils will be used for drawing quite often, it follows that you may find the paper plays a big part in the result.

    Top marks do go to the Blackwing pencils, unsurprinsingly, but other pencils that deserve a mention here are the Faber Castell 2001 Grip, and the Viking pencils. Both are quite smooth and consistent in how they write.

  • Review - Monteverde Monza fountain pen

    Monteverde Monza pen and ink


    Monteverde Monza fountain pens come in a box with 2 cartridges and a converter. Sleeve on the box explains the filling instructions which is a nice touch (not many pen makers do this).

    Transparent pens are really popular at the moment and Monteverde offers Monza in 4 colours : Crystal Clear, Island Blue, Honey Amber and Grey Sky.

    Monteverde Monza colour family

    I'm wondering if the pen can also be eye dropped - body is made of plastic and there is an o-ring which will help to seal ink chamber - if any one has tried it, let us know...

    There are 2 nib choices - fine and medium. Mine is a fine and it writes similarly to Lamy/Kaweco EF steel nibs.

    One of the coolest features of this pen is  transparent feed which will display the ink nicely. Ink on the photo below is J. Herbin - Lie de The #matchymatchy :)

    Monteverde Monza transparent feed


    Here is where Monza pen gets interesting - Monteverde advertises these as flexible nibs...we haven't had a flexible pen before, so I jumped right in to give it a go...

    BTW there is no need to use it as flex, it can be used as everyday pen too.

    Get some good paper - there will be a lot of ink on the page, so make sure your paper can handle it :) If you have an ink problem like I do, then this will help run it down a little :) This kind of heavy ink usage has its benefits - it shows off shading, have a look at the pictures :)

    The basic principle of flexing the nib is to press down on the downstrokes and use lighter pressure on the upstroke to create line variation. You could always just practice strokes first – after all modern or any calligraphy letterforms are constructed from a series of individual strokes. Some handwriting styles work better with flex, especially joined-up writing.

    Monteverde Monza Flex Nib

    In conclusion

    £15* for a pen with flexible nib - what to expect...

    It's not a true flex, but you can achieve some line variation out of it (more than you would from a standard for example Lamy nib...)

    For true flex nib you would have to go vintage (expensive) or a dip pen (really scratchy, needs dipping a lot), so this is a good way to try and see if it's something you might like to invest in.

    Monteverde Monza is a lot of fun. Experiment, slow down, be mindful when writing, explore the flex possibilities - I will continue to use this pen to test inks and play with modern cursive writing.

    *price was correct at the time of posting this article

    Monteverde Monza writing

    A little HINT - see how many swirls you can do before the feed starts running out of ink (this is completely normal). I got good few flexes out of it :)

    Monteverde Monza shading

    A big HINT - if you are going to use flex a lot then priming the feed will be necessary - simply turn converter and push some air out and let ink saturate the feed (have some tissues ready just in case) and you will be good to go again.

  • The ultimate guide to Blackwing Volumes

    Blackwing Volumes

    Celebrating a creative culture

    Blackwing pencils have inspired a cult following and they are a dream to write with - Half the pressure, twice the speedᅠ- is the brand's motto.

    At first the number 602 was the name of the pencil after pencil 601 and before pencil 603. Over time however, as the following grew the 602 became a rockstar of graphite world. An icon that has been a part of creating Bugs Bunny, the Looney Tunes and many more.

    “Over time, 602 has become a number with stories to tell...  What other numbers have stories to tell?” ~Blackwing (see more here)

    The Blackwing Volumes are special editions that come out 3-4 times a year in limited quantities and tell interesting stories about locations, music & sports legends, film, photography etc. For stationery geeks (like us) the've transcended into a modern art form which we love to collect.  Listed below are all the Volumes that have been issued so far. How many of these can you remember and which one is your favourite?

    We admire how creative Blackwing are with their pencils, so this post is an archive for all collectors out there :)

    Enjoy! (^_~)

    ps: We'll keeping adding new Volumes as they come in ...

    Blackwing Volumes 205
    Blackwing Volumes 73
    RelasedVolume1. DesignInspired by
    June 2015725The Sunburst Pencil - Sunburst Finish, Black Eraser, Gold Ferrule, White Imprint, Balanced Graphite. Writes similarly to the Blackwing Pearl pencil.Shiny gradient Fender Stratocaster guitar pencil tribute to Newport Folk Festival.
    Blackwing Volumes 725
    ReleasedVolume2. DesignInspired by
    September 2015211The Natural Pencil - Natural Finish, Brown Eraser, Gold Ferrule, Brown Imprint, Firm Graphite. Writes similarly to the Blackwing 602 pencil.Pencil tribute to John Muir & John Muir Trail.
    Blackwing Volumes 211
    ReleasedVolume3. DesignInspired by
    December 20151138The Sfi-Fi Pencil - Barcode Finish, Black Eraser, Silver Ferrule, Silver Imprint, Soft Graphite. Writes similarly to the Blackwing Classic pencil.Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon - film is condensed on the barcode that is printed on the pencil.
    Blackwing Volumes 1138
    ReleasedVolume4. DesignInspired by
    March 201624The Writer's Pencil - Black Finish, Black Eraser, Black Ferrule, Black Imprint, Extra-Firm Graphite. The firmest of all pencils.Shiny Black on Black pencil tribute to John Steinbeck.
    Blackwing Volumes 24
    ReleasedVolume5. DesignInspired by
    July 201656 The Joe DiMaggio Pencil - Pinstripe Finish, Blue Eraser, Gold Ferrule, Gold imprint, Firm Graphite. Writes similarly to the Blackwing 602 pencil.Tribute to Baseball legend Joe DiMaggio and his 56 game hitting streak.
    Blackwing Volumes 56

    Autumn 2016. New logo & Sans Serif typeface. New improved eraser.

    ReleasedVolume6. DesignInspired by
    September 2016344 The Dorothea Lange Pencil - Deep Red Finish, Black Eraser, Red Ferrule, Red Imprint, Firm Graphite. Writes similarly to the Blackwing 602 pencil.Dark room (rolls of Film) like pencil, tribute to Dorothea Lange and her famous Migrant Mother photo.
    Blackwing Volumes 344
    ReleasedVolume7. DesignInspired by
    December 2016530 The Eureka Moment - Gold Finish, Black Eraser, Striped Ferrule, Black Imprint, Extra-Firm Graphite. The firmest of all pencils.Gold Rush pencil celebrating Eureka moments.
    Blackwing Volumes 530
    ReleasedVolume8. DesignInspired by
    March 2017205The Jade Pencil - Dual Jade Finishes. Green and White, Black Eraser, Gold Ferrule, Gold Imprint, Firm Graphite. Writes similarly to the Blackwing 602's.First ever Volume that contains two different pencils representing Silk Road (white) trade and one of it's most prominent goods - Jade (green).
    Blackwing Volumes 205
    ReleasedVolume9. DesignInspired by
    June 201773The Tahoe Pencil - Tahoe Blue Finish, Raised Topography Texture, White Eraser, Silver Ferrule, White Imprint, Soft Graphite. Writes similarly to the Blackwing Classic.Inspired by the beauty of Lake Tahoe. 73 is a celebration of conservation success and represents Tahoe’s last measured Secchi depth.
    Blackwing Volumes 73
    ReleasedVolume10. DesignInspired by
    October 20171Guy Clark Pencil - First Round Pencil, Matte Grey Washcoat Finish (Natural wood colour shows through) Denim Blue Eraser, Silver Ferrule, Silver Imprint, Balanced Graphite. Writes similarly to the Blackwing Pearl pencil.Pencil tribute to Guy Clark’s debut album Old No. 1 which is regarded as one of the most influential albums ever made.
    Blackwing Volumes 1
    ReleasedVolume11. DesignInspired by
    December 201716.2Ada Lovelace Pencil - Matte white finish with white binary pattern stamp of Ada Lovelace’s initials, White Eraser, Matte Black Ferrule, Grey Imprint, Firm Graphite. Writes similarly to the Blackwing 602 pencil.Pencil tribute to mathematician, writer and visionary Ada Lovelace. Each pencil has a binary pattern stamp of the initials she used to sign her work, AAL. The number 16.2 is a nod to the Analytical Engine’s storage capacity of 16.2 kB.
    Blackwing Volumes 16.2
    ReleasedVolume12. DesignInspired by
    April 201854Exquisite Corpse Pencil - Rose finish, Blue dust-free Eraser, Silver Ferrule, Crisp Teal Imprint, Extra-Firm Graphite. The firmest of all pencils.Pencil pays tribute to surrealism and creative exercises that force us to look beyond our narrow personal perspective. The number 54 is a nod to 54 rue due Chateau in Paris, the birthplace of Exquisite Corpse.
    Blackwing Volumes 54

    Blackwing Volumes are limited editions and they don't hang around for long!

  • Guide: Fountain Pen Nib Widths

    This table provides a guide to the approximate nib widths of the different fountain pen brands we offer. Please note that this is intended as a guide rather than an exact measurement, useful in comparing the relative nib widths across different brands.

    Ultimately, the exact width of the pen stroke will depend on so many factors including the ink and paper used and the style of handwriting applied.

    J Herbin Compact Rollerballx
    TWSBI Extra Finex
    Kaweco Extra Finex
    Lamy Extra Finex
    TWSBI Finex
    Pilot Mediumx
    J Herbin Compact Fountain Penx
    Kaweco Finex
    Caran d'Ache Finex
    TWSBI Mediumx
    Lamy Finex
    J Herbin Plus Fountain Penx
    Kaweco Mediumx
    Lamy Mediumx
    Caran d'Ache Mediumx
    Kaweco Broadx
    Lamy Broadx
    TWSBI Broadx
    Kaweco Double Broadx
  • Top 10 Essential Stationery Items For The Summer

    From Bureau exclusives to great offers, from exotic imports to reinvented cult classics, even something not really stationery at all.


    Rhodia Heritage Notebooks

    Rhodia Heritage notebooks

    A brand new range of books that harks back to older ways of making things. We especially love the Raw Binding notebooks with their spine that has a...well, a raw feel to it. Sturdy, with the classic Rhodia 90gsm paper. One of the beauties of this binding is that it lies flat no matter where in the book you are.

    Why you need this item:

    It's a notebook but so much more. Retro styling has been used for a great purpose meaning this notebook will last the course, can handle all the ink you throw at it and it will be a pleasure to use each time you get it out. What's not to love?


    Field Notes Campfire Edition Notebooks

    Field Notes Campfire notebooks

    Field Notes produce four limited editions a year, one for each season. The summer edition this year is the Campfire edition and it's one of their best in a longtime. A set of 3 books, each with a different stage of campfire print on the cover (from dusk to night to dawn), plus a 'campfire master' sew-on patch. Release your inner scout.

    Why you need this item:

    A set of rugged little notebooks that you can sling in your bag or your pocket and it means you will always be able to jot down some important thought or note.


    Fjallraven Kanken Backpacks

    Fjallraven Kanken backpacks

    If you haven't already spotted them around you soon will. This Swedish staple from 1978 is now a bone-fide classic on the streets here. And why? It does a simple job very well - unzip it fully and you'll find everything you need, no rumaging around in endless pockets.

    Why you need this item:

    It strips back a backpack to its core function and does it very well. It is waterproof (Fjallraven are Swedish outdoors experts) and then there's the colours - so many to choose from, whether bright or muted.


    Lamy Safari Special Edition Fountain Pen 2017 - Petrol

    special edition lamy safari fountain pen

    Each year this pen is released with a new colour and it was always a big ask to follow on from last year's purple. Who would want to be David Moyes to follow Alex Ferguson? (it's a football reference, don't worry). Lamy actually pulled it off though with the petrol pen, an unusual but smart teal-petrol green colour. Special editions sell out so when they're gone they're gone.

    Whilst stocks last we have put this pen on promotion - grab it now for just £14.95

    Why you need this item:

    The Safari is widely regarded as an exceptional pen - it writes fantastically, is an easy pen to use for everyone and yet costs a fraction of many a more expensive pen. In other words, it's worth every penny.


    Kyoto Inks

    kyoto inks from japan

    A new ink range just in from Japan, and looking the part. Five colours, all lovely from a black-with-sheen to a dusky blue and a vibrant pink-red.

    Why you need this item:

    Sometimes you buy things because the sum of it is so much more than the parts. These inks just tick all the boxes, from the packaging to the bottle to the colours to the inks. Worth that indulgence once in a while to treat yourself.


    Walk With Me Maps

    Walk With Me maps

    We all want to decorate our homes with something a little different and these are just that. Beautiful maps-as-artwork from a series of artists covering different neighbourhoods of London, Madrid and Barcelona.

    Why you need this item:

    Because maps let you dream of places and these are also beautiful to look at - hang one on your wall and it will transport you somewhere.


    Taroko Breeze Notebook With Tomoe River Paper

    Taroko Breeze notebook with Tomoe River paper

    An exclusive notebook to Bureau, this book has it all. Right size, dot paper with an index and page numbers, and even with ink charts to record your favourite inks. Oh, and it has Tomoe River paper.

    Why you need this item:

    So many reasons but it's the paper that does it - Tomoe River paper is lightweight Japanese paper that handles ink better than heavier papers, so it's great to write with and yet packs in more paper for less weight.


    Caran d'Ache 849 Fountain Pens

    Caran d'Ache 849 fountain pen

    The 849 pen is a classic, around since 1969. The addition of a fountain pen to the 849 range just means you can have an ink pen in the classic 849 hexagonal shape.

    Why you need this item:

    Those bright fluorescent colours were just made for summer.


    Limited Edition Blackwing Vol.73 Pencils

    Blackwing limited edition Volume 73 pencils

    The limited edition Blackwing pencils always have a slightly convoluted naming convention, and this one is no exception (it has something to do with the measurement of the water clarity of Lake Tahoe, but please don't ask). What is quite certain is that these pencils are a winner. The intense blue is inspired by the waters of Lake Tahoe and the nice touch of the topographic map etched onto the barrel works.

    Why you need this item:

    Blackwing are widely regarded as the best of all pencils, and so if you haven't tried them yet then take the plunge and get yourself some. Time to find out why they are so highly rated.


    Observer's Astronomy Notebooks

    Astronomy notebook

    An unusual mix of night-sky infographics and unusual paper rulings might make this book seem a bit too quirky for its own good, but it's not. It's really good fun, informative and refreshingly different.

    Why you need this item:

    Doesn't everyone love to learn a bit more about the night skies above?

  • Guide: Pen Glossary


    A type of plastic often used to make the barrels of pens.


    A pen with a tip that uses a rolling ball to transfer ink from a reservoir to the page, uses a thick oil based ink.


    The part of the pen that contains the filling system that when in use often rests between your thumb and forefinger.


    A brand of ballpoint pen.


    The term given to describe when ink is absorbed by the paper too much and is visibly noticeable on the other side of the sheet of paper (As if you had written on the other side, not to be confused with ghosting).

    Blotting Paper

    A type of more absorbent paper used to take ink off of a nib, or section.

    Breather Hole

    A small cutout in the nib used to draw air into the reservoir when ink is drawn out to keep a steady flow.

    Calligraphy Pen

    A pen that either uses a flex nib or an italic nib to create line variation in your writing and are often also dipping pens.


    The part of the pen that encloses the nib and is removed before use, this stops the ink from drying out as quickly.


    A piece of plastic that contains ink and is sealed until you install it into a pen.


    A metal or plastic protrusion from the cap of a pen that allows for the pen to be attached to a pocket.


    A component that allows for you to fill a cartridge pen from bottled ink. It is installed like a cartridge.


    A clear pen that allows you to see the mechanism of the fountain pen.

    Dip Pen

    A pen that you must routinely dip in a bottle of ink to replenish its ink supply, this was the predecessor to the fountain pen.

    Eye Dropper

    A pen that you fill the barrel with ink rather than using cartridges or a converter, these often have much higher ink capacity.

    Alternatively this is a glass tube with a bulb on one end that you can fill with ink in order to fill pens or inkwells.


    This is when a paper absorbs too much ink and it results in a frayed line that looks similar to a feather.


    An essential part of pens that use liquid ink, this is a piece of plastic or traditionally ebonite that regulates the flow of ink from the reservoir to the nib.

    Fountain Pen

    A type of pen that uses a metal nib to transfer ink from a reservoir in the barrel, be it a cartridge or embedded filling system.

    Gel Pen

    Not quite a ballpoint or rollerball it uses the same mechanism but uses a water based gel ink.


    This is when your writing can be faintly seen on the other side but the ink hasn't bleed through the page.

    Glass Pen

    A type of dip pen that uses a glass tip in order to write with

    Hooded Nib

    This is when the pen's section is designed so that it covers part of the nib, if not all but the tipping.


    A liquid that is used to leave a mark on a surface that we often use in pens for writing.

    Ink Window

    This is when you have a clear section of the barrel, this can be a cutout, that allows you to see the amount of ink you have left.

    Iridium Nib

    This is the name given to nibs that use a ball of iridium welded to the tip to give a smoother and more durable nib.

    Italic Nib

    A grind of nib the is cut off at the end to offer line variation in writing.


    A type of enamel "paint" that is used to the finish pens and gives a nicer appearance.

    Mechanical Pencil

    A type of pencil that instead of needing to be sharpened will advance the lead when you push a button or twist a part of the pencil.

    Multi Pen

    A type of ballpoint pen that uses multiple colours of ink that can be switched between at will.


    A piece of metal - usually steel, gold or palladium - that ends in a point allowing for the ink to be directed to the paper.

    Nib Creep

    This is when ink from the feed makes its way onto the nib around the slit.

    Oblique Nib

    A type of nib grind that is similar to an italic nib but is cut off at an angle. This gives a different style of line variation.

    Piston Fill

    This is a filling mechanism that uses an internal piston to draw ink into the barrel, or converter, somewhat like a syringe but often with a screw mechanism.


    This holds the ink in the pen be it a part of the barrel or the ink cartridge.


    Extremely similar to a ballpoint with the major difference being that uses a water based liquid ink.

    Screw Cap

    A cap that needs to be screwed on to be fixed in place rather than pulled on or pushed off.


    The part of the pen that you grip and that houses the nib and feed.


    This is a property of inks where a nib puts down more ink in certain places making lighter and darker parts of the writing.


    This is a fault in the nibs of pens where the nib will be writing but at certain parts the nib will not lay down ink.


    The cutout between the tines of the nib that allows ink to flow down the feed to the tip.

    Steel Nib

    This is a nib that is made out of steel, these usually also have iridium tipping.

    Stub Nib

    A grind of nib that is cut off at the end, similar to a italic nib, but the corners are rounded over. This sacrifices line variation for a smoother writing experience.


    The business end of a nib, this is the point or edge at the end of the nib that allows the pen to lay down a certain thickness of line.

  • A look at the Taroko Design notebook range

    Taroko Notebook with sample writing

    In the second part of Taroko Design notebook trilogy I'd like to tell you about what we currently have our hands on.

    The covers are made out of kraft paper and come in 3 colours, each corresponding to the ruling of the sheets within.

    • Blue cover - plain, white paper.
    • Brown cover - dots, spacing is 5x5, white paper with grey dots.
    • Dark cover - lines, spacing is 7mm, white paper with grey lines.

    Steven, the mastermind behind Taroko Design, mentioned that the idea behind the subdued colour of the covers were to keep them understated and subtle. The focus should be placed more on the writer and words written inside. A real mascot against judging books by their covers! If you would like to gain further insight from the man himself you can read the full interview here.

    Grey printing of the dots and lines is a lot easier on the eye than black or purple, so kudos here! 7mm is the perfect spacing for ruled notebooks, no matter how big or small the book is :)

    Each notebook comes with:

    • 64 pages, 32 sheets of 68 gsm Tomoe River white paper
    • Staple binding
    • Rounded corners

    Stapled notebooks let you have them open completely flat. You can use all of the paper, on both sides without fighting against the centre parting. Sweet!

    3 different sizes, 3 paper rulings - 9 notebooks in total

    Taroko Design Passport Notebook

    The Passport notebook measures 124mm x 88mm and is the smallest in the range.

    Compatible with small - passport Midori Traveler's Notebook. If you haven't tried Tomoe River paper yet, then I highly recommend getting this one and never looking back :)

    I use Passport for swabbing ink samples. Great to use on the go as it fits just about anywhere. It's perfect go-round little notebook.

    It currently sells for £3.95. You can buy one here.

    Taroko pocket comparison with Rhodia and Field Notes

    Taroko Design Regular Notebook

    The Regular notebook measures 110mm x 210mm, the goldilocks of the three.

    Compatible with the beautifully crafted regular Midori Traveler's Notebook. It may seem a little off due to it's unusual long, slim shape but it has a special place in my book... ;)

    Traveler's Notebook is a huge stationery phenomenon and even tho we cannot sell covers, these refills are our best seller for a reason :)

    It is currently £5.95 and you can get yours here.

    Taroko regular comparison with Rhodia and Midori travellers

    Taroko Design A5 notebook

    This notebook is the big daddy and measures 148mm x 210mm, which is A5 surprisingly.

    There's no Traveler's cover for this size unfortunately. Weep as you may but someone here had a brilliant idea to try a Mark’s A5 cover – it fits!!! This combo makes a pretty good travel companion. Hands up who already has one (or two) of those Mark’s notebooks.

    It currently sells for £7.95. Click here if you want one.

    Mark's Storage It Notebook with Taroko A5 notebook

    One of the reasons why fountain pens and inks are so popular is because of the feeling you get when you use them. Having a juicy smooth fountain pen, ink with crazy sheen and Tomoe River paper is as good as it gets. It’s fun, it looks great and it feels magical.

    I can go on about Tomoe River paper all day, so let’s save it for a separate blog post :) To be continued…


    *all prices mentioned were correct at time of writing*

  • What Is Whitelines Link Paper?

    whitelines link paper

    The analogue way to be connected


    So what is Whitelines Link paper? Essentially it is reversed out paper, with white lines on a darker background (in this case grey) rather than darker lines on a white background. The theory behind it is that it is easier to write on this paper because the lines won’t interfere with your writing. This is particularly true since most of us will write with a darker ink like black or blue, and most paper uses a black or dark grey line, and even more so if you use a heavy grid paper.

    The Link element then combines this paper with the use of a smartphone app to scan, align, clean and send or save your page digitally, all in one seamless action. Could this be the perfect coming together of digital and analogue?

    whitelines paper


    Whitelines paper was developed by a Swedish inventor called Olof Hansson about ten years ago. You can watch a short animated video on the history of Whitelines paper here, but all you really need to know is that he came up with the idea as a result of being frustrated by his experience of using traditional ‘dark line’ paper. By turning the traditional idea on its head he did something so very simple and yet it really does challenge an idea that we take for granted with paper – that we write by making a darker mark on the paper than the paper itself. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best though.

    Part of the secret in the paper only comes out when you copy or scan it though. For technical reasons I won’t pretend to understand, the grey paper doesn’t scan, so what you are left with once you remove the paper and the lines is just your writing. Nice dark lines on a pure white background.

    How Is Link Paper Different?

    This is where the idea is really pushed forward. It feels like everyone is trying to create the perfect marriage of digital and analogue just now and the Whitelines Link idea might just be the best idea yet. It’s secret lies in the app which does a single job well without fuss or distraction.

    Whitelines Link paper is different to standard Whitelines paper because it has specially formatted paper that the app can read. What this means is that it has markings in three of the corners which the app will read when scanning the page. These are essential and must not be obscured as the app needs them to be able to align the page. Once scanned then it will align the page into a rectangle regardless of whether it was scanned at an angle or not. Your page is then digitally saved ready for using.

    What Can You Do With Link Paper?

    Once you have your page in a digital PDF form you can do pretty much what you want with it. What makes the app so good is the ability to do the most commonly used next steps seamlessly. These are to send or save – either email the PDF as an attachment, or save it to cloud storage. The Whitelines Link paper is already pre-connected to both Dropbox and Evernote, as two of the most popular online storage options.

    And then there is the little secret on the page… If you plan to email it, or save to either Dropbox or Evernote, then the page has tiny pre-formatted tick boxes for each option. Before you scan just tick the ones you want to use and the scanning process will automatically carry it out for you.

    So What’s The Point Of Whitelines Link Paper?

    Well, if you have no interest in ever converting your page into a digital form or copy it then there really is less milage in this paper. The Link paper function uses up some of the paper and it is only worth giving up that small amount of page space if you intend to use it. But if you do want to share notes and ideas, especially if you are working remotely, then the app makes it all so easy.

    That said, if you have ever found lines on a page are a distraction then the reversed out paper idea of white lines on grey might work for you. The real selling point though - it's USP - is the ability to sync paper to PDF. The app is so easy to use and if you are out and about and want to save ideas, especially if you want to share them with others (maybe a colleague or team back at the office) then this is just so much easier than other ways of achieving the same result.

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