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?

Frank Gehry custom edition Moleskine

Art Gallery of Ontario solid graphite pencils

The weekend before last, I spent a very enjoyable afternoon at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Visits to this art gallery are always great, but experiencing the refurbished building by architect Frank Gehry seemed to take everything to a new level. Even walking through a hallway was an amazing thrill.

At the end of my afternoon I took a look at the gift shop, and saw sets of woodless pencils and some custom edition Moleskine cahiers with Gehry sketches on the covers. I know this type of item can be hard to find and is appreciated by a lot of people. I bought a set to give away on the blog. I hope I’m correct that it may be of interest.

This is another commenter reward draw – only those who have previously left comments are eligible, and the WordPress blog software is set to only allow comments by those who have previously left a comment here.

So to win a set of three Art Gallery of Ontario woodless graphite pencils, three pocket Frank Gehry Moleskine cahiers, and three large Frank Gehry Moleskine cahiers, just leave a comment here before Friday, September 24, 20:00 EDT.

Frank Gehry Limited Edition Moleskine

[Update, September 24, 2010]

Thank you to all those who entered. It was great to see some long time commenters enter.

Using the python random number generator on my Mac, we have:
$ python
Python 2.6.2 (r262:71600, Apr 16 2009, 09:17:39)
[GCC 4.0.1 (Apple Computer, Inc. build 5250)] on darwin
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import random
>>> random.seed()
>>> random.randint(1,34)

I wish everyone could win, but this time it is the 19th commenter, awin. Congratulations, awin!

Hilroy exercise books

Hilroy exercise books

A recent post on composition books received a relatively large amount of attention. I thought it might be interesting for some to see the “Hilroy exercise book”, which has always been widely used in Canadian schools.

The map on the cover is a little different that the one I grew up, as it now incorporates Nunavut Territory:

Hilroy exercise books

Nothing fancy, but I’m sure they bring back memories for many.

Hilroy exercise books

See also:

Flickr photo of an old Hilroy office

Official Hilroy website (Slow to load, but contains a nice company timeline.)

Back to school with Rhodia

Rhodia pad cover

Quo Vadis Canada has kindly sent pencil talk a few back to school themed items. Let’s take a look at them over the rest of the week.

First, we have the Rhodia Leatherette Holder. In an attractive orange that matches the famous stapled notepads, the refillable cover protects the No. 11 pads.

Rhodia pad cover

The cover itself has Rhodia’s famous logo embossed, and is a nice way to protect and house a pad.

Rhodia pad cover

The cover was quickly appropriated by a family member who is making daily use of it!

One more thing. QVC also sent a large black version for the No. 13 pad, which will be given away via random draw. (The photo below shows the sealed item.) To enter the draw, just leave a comment on this post before Thursday, August 26, 20:00EDT. Thank you Quo Vadis Canada!

Rhodia pad cover

The Draw

Following the same method as used in the previous draw, we have …
>>> random.randint(1,41)

The 12th commenter, k, is the winner! k, I will contact you by email. The package will be sent by Canada Post. Thank you very much to Quo Vadis Canada for supplying this great item!

Composition books

The composition book remains a useful format for writing, and possibly, a simple pleasure.

These books are single signatures of 50 pieces of paper, sewn and folded in half, creating 100 sheets. The cover is cardboard and fabric. The standard dimensions are 190mm/7.5″ width, 247mm/9.75″ height.

The Mead Composition seems to be the classic. Also shown here are a few others that I found at a university bookstore. They are:

Mead Composition, MeadWestvaco Corporation, made in Vietnam
Environotes Recycled Comp Book, Roaring Springs Paper Products, made in USA
100% Recycled Composition Book, Top Flight, made in Taiwan
New Leaf Composition, New Leaf products, made in Brazil

Composition books

All except the Mead proclaim the use of partial or majority recycled materials. The Environotes stands out slightly with the muted colour scheme, square corners, and 80 (rather than 100) sheets. The New Leaf book easily had the brightest paper.

All have tables for class schedules on the front inside covers. The back inside covers have “useful information”, mainly weight and distance measurement conversions. The Mead is alone in having a grammar section.

Composition books Composition books
Composition books Composition books

I have to note something about the price: each is $C4.29. The same bookstore sells a large Moleskine notebook for $C21.00. (Right now, one Canadian dollar is $US0.96 or €0.78.) They are not the same products at all – but the almost fivefold price difference surprised me.

The Mead composition book may in fact be magnitudes more successful than fancier fare. It doesn’t have an active PR department or online marketing team; it does seem to have wide distribution, being available in big box office supply stores, the stationery corners of department stores, and even the small university bookstore I visited.

Some online reviews suggest these books are not great with fountain pens or fibre tipped pens. I won’t dispute that. But trying a nice pencil, there is no problem at all. That is a typical pencil advantage – many paper types accept graphite quite easily.

I like the fancy brands, but the composition book still seems appealing for many purposes.

Composition books

What do you think?

Letts of London noteletts notebook

Letts of London noteletts notebook

Letts of London have origins dating back to 1796. Today a part of the Letts Filofax Group Ltd. (notably the owner of Yard-O-Led), such an established brand is amazing to contemplate. How many of today’s new brands will be around in two hundred years?

The name is among the most known in the stationery field. I’m not sure of their worldwide market, but the association with diaries and datebooks (at least in Canada) is historically very strong. Do you know Letts?

A past post mentioned a trip to Laywine’s. One of the items I found was a general purpose squared black notebook, the noteletts L5:squares.

Not a standard size, the hardcover notebook offers 192 pages of cream colour 172mm x 232mm paper with 5mm squared ruling. Though less common as a notebook size, it is almost exactly the same size as many hardcover books, and is fine with me.

The notebook was wrapped in plastic and very reasonably priced at $12.95 – much less than many products from competitors.

There was a big surprise, and I didn’t discern this before removing the plastic – it has a linen fabric cover. I would never have bought the notebook had I known this, as linen books strike me as being hard to maintain. I imagine dust and day to day activities overwhelming this type of cover. Maybe I am wrong. Are you a user of linen covered notebooks?

Letts of London noteletts notebook

The individual pages feature a nice place to write the date.

Letts of London noteletts notebook

They also have that dreaded branding.

Letts of London noteletts notebook

The endpapers are grey, and the back has a pocket. Long term lime storage not recommended.

Letts of London noteletts notebook

Not perfect for me, but definitely a nice product that was reasonably priced.