The joy of a large piece of paper

My desk. :-)

Who enjoys using a large piece of paper?

On the forefront of the photo is a Miquelrius “Grid-It!” series notepad in “The Guardian” design. Each sheet of paper shows a 1988 newspaper layout design by David Hillman. It is the layout for a sheet of newspaper.

At 375mm x 600mm, each sheet is 0.225 square metres, or 2.42 square feet.

The significance is appreciated – I have been a previous subscriber to the Guardian’s international edition, and can still purchase the Saturday edition in walking distance from my house. It seems to be a strong international representative of the UK.

In the background is the Rhodia No. 38 “dotPad” – a black covered, dotted grid version of the famous Rhodia notepad.

The dotPad is advertised as 420mm x 318mm, but that includes an unusable section bound with staples. The usable (and detachable, via perforation) area is the standard A3 sized 420mm x 297mm. I measured the notepad with my Danish Folle ruler, and am not just accepting the manufacturer’s statements.

A3 paper is 420mm x 297mm = 0.125 square metres or 1.35 square feet, so it is about half the size of the Miquelrius pad.

These types of paper are great for design work and drawing graphs of several types, which I do.

For paper of this weight and dimension, mail order tends to be impractical, and I was fortunate to find these items locally.

The Guardian notepad was purchased at Phidon Pens in Cambridge, Ontario.

The Rhodia dotPad was purchased at Write Impressions in Waterloo, Ontario.

Also, the official page for The Guardian Miquelrius notepad.

Much of the monitor screen real estate is unfortunately blank as I was trying to view the currently offline Pencils and Music website.

Does anyone else like large format paper?

17 Replies to “The joy of a large piece of paper”

  1. Your desk is very aesthetical – excellent! Thank you for showing it.

    Yes, I like large format paper as well although I don’t have gritted variants. Currently I have a DIN A2 pad (130 g/m²) within reach and I like to use that for sketching and doodling, alone or with the children. – I find it always very interesting to see how the size of the paper alters the style and the content of my sketches as well as my handwriting.

  2. Desk is fantastic, i like the wood, something similar is what i have here.
    And about paper; yes, you’re right large piece of paper somehow gives you
    more ideas :-) on my desk there is always at least A3 size (blank) just for
    notes and sketches and i have noticed how that size of paper influenced a
    lot on my drawing in general- later you “see” much more space even when
    you’re working on a smaller size.

  3. I wish my desk was that clean. It is usually full of documents I think I might need soon and don’t dare to put aside.
    Let’s hope Pencils and Music will make a comeback.

  4. Yes, I have used A3 paper and it’s great for handwritten mindmaps and free note taking. I am a big fan of Miquelrius, especially their A5 notebooks.

    I was also a fan of Pencils and Music, I wonder why they took it off-line…

  5. Stephen, your desk/workspace is amazingly neat and, well, just attractive. I really like the pencil tray you have there.

    But, per your question, I’m learning to like larger papers, after a long-time addiction to tiny Moleskines. Small papers are fine on the go, but for getting work done (esp in pencil), larger paper is a treat!

  6. I have to agree with Memm when it comes to desks. As for paper I remember always using a desk calendar/blotter that took up a large space on the desk. It never really got used as a calendar, but as a note pad.

  7. “If a cluttered desk signs a cluttered mind, of what is an empty desk a sign?”
    Albert Einstein.

    I knew there was a desk under here somewhere – if I could only remember what colour it was.

    My son is a graphic designer and he uses large format printers. I get the “waste” paper – the prints that went wrong – but I can still use the back for storyboarding.

  8. I typically do my rough calculations for school on the backside of (wasted) printer paper. Basically I fish through the recycle bin next to the printer and use the fresh white side of the half-used printer paper. It is just standard laser jet printer, kinda crappy for writing on, but it gets the job done. Last week somebody threw away several sheets of legal paper, and I had an excellent time using a large sheet to do my work without the fear of having to spread my work onto two separate sheets (*gasp*)

  9. Michael and Tyler:

    I’d love to be able to do that, but alas!!, where I work 99% of what’s printed has sensitive patient details on it! So it’s not like I can just take it and scribble all over it and not care where it ends up. :(

  10. I’ve got an A3 sketch-pad, but I’ve not got around to using it yet. Actually I prefer smaller sizes for doodling; A5 is ideal. I’m put off by the acreage of empty space, to be honest.

    You may wish to know that in 2005, The Guardian print edition abandoned the 1988 layout for its “Berliner” size (mid-way between the traditional broadsheet size and the smaller tabloid). More here:

  11. Just as an FYI – Miquelrius has discontinued and is sold out of the Grid It paper so get it while you can.

  12. I recently saw a Rhodia No 38 in person for the first time and I have been obssessing about it since. I cannot think of what I could need such a large sheet of paper for but it is begging me to write and doodle on it.

  13. I think it would be fun to write a very long letter to a friend using the No 38. It would look about the size of the Magna Carta.

  14. Every time I start a new project or just want to declutter my head, I reach for my A3 pad of paper and start to scribble. I am glad to see that it isn’t just me.
    I do have a question though: How on earth do you keep your desk that clear? Even when I clear mine up it doesn’t look that good!

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