Whitelines paper

Whitelines Package
Can dark rules on white paper really impair both reading and writing? Is white paper harsh on the eyes? Do you want to avoid lines in photocopied pages? Is there an alternative?

It’s a fairly bold statement to claim a fundamental improvement in writing paper, but that’s what the Swedish stationer Whitelines asserts. They sell notebooks and pads of paper in a faint gray colour, with the rules in white.
Whitelines Wirebound Notebook
I ordered a selection of products with square ruling (a.k.a. “graph paper”) – wirebound A4 and A5 notebooks, stapled A4 and A5 composition books, glued A4 and pocket notebooks, and A4 and A6 paper pads. Shipping from Sweden to Canada took an astonishingly quick three days. They have their organizational act together!
Whitelines mark
All the products share the same paper, a bit thinner than I would have liked, patterned front and back with the white grid on a gray background. There is also a mark, “Whitelines Patent Pending”, on every sheet of paper.
Whitelines Pad
So how is it? Nice, very nice. Ballpoint, fountain pen (a medium nib Lamy with Montblanc ink), and pencil work well, though the paper is thin enough to show through anything dark.

Is it easier on the eyes? If you work in an office with overhead flourescent lights and computer monitors everywhere, probably anything might be easier on the eyes. It’s really hard to say – it is certainly pleasant enough.
Whitelines Glued Notebook
There is also a more subtle effect – the lines are there, but less prominently than on regular paper. It could be true that it is a less distracting structure for some.

One thing I’m ambiguous about is the amount of branding, though it’s a nice bright orange, and it doesn’t impair using the paper.
Whitelines Composition Book
Would I buy more? They’re a lot of fun, which I think would be the deciding factor. After using them for a while, I might choose a preferred format (so far I’m using the A5 composition book the most) and get a personal stash. Of couse, something else might come along in the interim.

22 Replies to “Whitelines paper”

  1. Thanks for this post. I think it’s a great idea that you expand into posting about paper more as well. I’m always on the look out nicer pads of paper.

  2. It really attracted me so I visited their web site and tried to order some notebooks. The total price of items I tried to order was 37.4 Euro, but the total price including VAT and freight was 101.2! :( I gave the order up. I should try to find somewhere else where I can get those items.

  3. Kent, that’s way too much for shipping, even for us stationery addicts. I paid a bit for shipping (nowhere near the fee they wanted to charge you), but the service was excellent – a top tier international courier shipment that arrived very quickly. Maybe they could be prodded to offer some other shipping options.

    Poking around, it looks like there are some retailers in both the U.K. and Canada. I’m sure other places will soon follow.

  4. Ambiguous about the amount of branding? What are the pros with so much branding? I like the orange color but the blatant patent message on every single page put me off, enough to actually write a complaint to the swedish patent office (something that seems to have landed Whitelines in more trouble than I intended, I feel kind of guilty now…). The stationary seems to be of nice quality (speaking as someone who has had her Moleskine calendar fall to pieces) but patents are horrible enough IMHO without gloating about it on every single page the user writes.

  5. Hi Sunnan, that’s quite a response. My thinking was more along the lines of, “Here’s a small company trying to establish a brand. Maybe they’ve gone a bit far.” While I tend to agree that the Whitelines page markings are too much, I would ask – how do you feel about watermarks in paper? Are they unacceptable? They’re not that different in some ways. And perhaps Whitelines are trying to protect themselves against lookalike brands – that I can sympathize with.

  6. As you might’ve guessed, I’m not a fan of watermarks. Wl can use a design copyright or a trademark, I wouldn’t have minded that.

  7. I’m so excited!
    I just found out that my favourite art store, Midoco, is now selling WhiteLines!
    They have the whole line and they’re having a 15% off sale right now!
    So excited!!!

  8. I totally agree. Midoco is incredible–it has a really neat mix of art supplies, stationery, and office supplies.

    They have one shop at 555 Bloor Street West in the Annex and another at 1964 Queen Street East in the Beaches.

    Their website is http://www.midoco.ca

    Check out their Annex store in particular. It’s huge. They have an AMAZING supply of Whitelines, Moleskines and Paperblanks.

  9. What could the commercial applications be? I work for a larger company, in purchasing and would love to see this in a corporate setting.

  10. After using the paper for awhile, how do you feel about it? I’m a big fan of Clairefontaine but would like to find alternatives.

    Thanks for the review.

  11. Hi Zoe, thanks for your question.

    Is it possible to still be ambiguous after a year? I think there is definitely something pleasant and practical about the pattern – yet – the paper itself seems too thin to be something one would use for a document worth keeping. So in the end, it is limited to scratchpad and jotting use, which don’t justify the premium price.

  12. Just in case anyone is looking for Whitelines in the U.S.–and particularly in North Carolina–the line is carried by Malaprop’s, an independent bookstore in Asheville, NC.

  13. Whitelines is coming to North America in full force this spring and will be available with US shipping (instead of overseas). It will also be available in an increasing amount of retailers as the year progresses. Whitelines will be available in a variety of options, including custom editions which will allow people to order 100% customized notebooks/journals. This is mostly geared for corporate or large purchase, but regardless of the use, it is all about the movement and providing a way to bring the writing experience to North America. I first started using Whitelines 2 years ago and haven’t used another notepad since. I also understand that they are starting an online community for enthusiasts to share uses, passions, and get direct feedback to make the product better. For info on any and all of this, you can contact a company called studio503 (612.353.4923) and they can help supply a list of retailers / places to order / get you looped into the community.

  14. Would love to have a more positive comment, but my notebook is falling apart. I have only used several pages for planning a party and the front cover has already fallen off. The interior pages are ripping as well. I use notebooks for logging everyday information and have for years. None of my prior notebooks have come apart.

    Love your concept, but I would not buy another.


  15. Hi,
    This is not new..I have seen whitelines notebooks in China, India and Japan years ago. Lot of companies manufactured this type of notebook with white lines…

    Nothing clever about this and I am not sure why he is going for patent on white lines. This can’t be patented


  16. John, recently the Whitelines patent was overturned. They lost in appeals court.
    I don’t know why it still says “patented” on the pages.

  17. Sunnan – where did you read that the patent was overturned? I am curious, we would like to try a version of this concept but don’t want to end up in legal trouble

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