Saturday, May 4, 2013

More Paper Love: Le Typographe Writing Pad & Journal

Beautiful paper and prints from Belgium

Here's a more detailed review of the Le Typographe paper, a brand I'd never heard of before I came across a writing pad and envelopes in a nearby Papeterie store.

Le Typographe "Insects" writing pad and envelopes

The design is simple but beautiful - and cool too. Each sheet and envelope is adorned with one of 9 insect prints, including, among others, a ladybird, dragonfly, ant and various bugs. The envelopes are lined and come in a beautiful little box of ink blue cardboard, matching the cover of the pad. The pad comes in A5 size with C6 envelopes.

 Le Typographe "Insects" writing pad 

I was glad I could touch the paper in the store - since not every paper is fountain pen friendly, buying an unknown brand can be a bit of a risk. This one, though, is amazing. The sheets are high white 100 gsm carrying a custom watermark. As I understood, Le Typographe (who are located in Brussels) don't make their own paper but they're definitely buying from a high quality source.

Le Typographe watermark

Ink shades nicely.

The paper is slightly textured and tolerates ink very well. The front side feels more coated than the back side, which takes up a little more ink but still is far from feathering or bleed through with the inks I've tried. The above is Noodler's Apache Sunset in a Visconti Homo Sapiens with broad cursive italic nib.

Back side: minimal showtrough.

Here's the back side, same pen and ink.
Both sides of the paper make shading very prominent as it allows the ink to pool on the paper for a while; accordingly drying time is close to forever.
Showthrough is negligible, I haven't managed to produce any bleedthrough yet.

Sheen monster: Private Reserve's Electric DC Blue in Pelikan M1000 crisped-up O3B.

Sheen properties of the ink are very prominent on this paper, much more so than on Clairefontaine or Rhodia. However, when using highly saturated inks like Private Reserve's Electric DC Blue in the picture the drying time is even more extreme and there is a probability of smearing even when dry. Less saturated inks don't have this problem.

 So far I've tested the pad with said Visconti Homo Sapiens, a Pelikan M1000, a Nakaya Long Cigar, a Montegrappa Miya (with which I've written a long letter) and a Danitrio Mae West. The Mae West was the only one having problems with it. I could imagine that pens that have skipping issues on very smooth paper also will have problems with the Le Typographe.

Le Typographe Quadrille notebook - outside

As I said, a really interesting brand! As their web site is very minimalistic and possibly not up to date I haven't succeeded yet in finding out about their range of products. Their is a range of writing pads with various prints and there should be some notebooks as well. As I really, really like the paper I've ordered their "Quadrille" notebook.

 Le Typographe Quadrille notebook - inside 

Following their minimalistic design it's a simple notebook with glue binding and a thin cloth spine which makes the notebook lie completely flat when opened. When sketching you could also use both pages without a problem. Downside of this: It probably won't last as long as a stitch-bound journal.
The interior pages themselves are a bit extravagant as one side of each page is printed with a faint 1 mm grid, the other one is blank.

 Le Typographe Quadrille notebook - for reasons unknown, an unobtrusive grid pattern is printed on one side of each page and on the front cover.

The paper is a bit thinner and less stiff than the one used in their writing pads but has the same fountain pen friendly qualities.

Le Typographe Quadrille notebook

I like the looks but it's the paper that has won me over. It's really nice to find out there's still some new cool stuff out there for fountain pen users! I will keep an eye on the brand and update if I come across any of their other products.


  1. thanks you for posting this.
    I was in München two weeks,
    and found Gmund to have wonderful paper —
    also never having heard of it.

    this weekend+ I am in Brussels,
    so I will check this printer.
    indeed, they are printer,
    which indicates that they select the paper from other sources.

    of course, these posts are not helping with the luggage on my return home! ;)

    1. Hi there,

      Ye, I've heard of Gmund though I haven't tried the paper myself. Also there seem to be different kinds with varying ink friendliness? I guess I'm going to place an order some time and find out.
      Germany has some more very interesting paper makers like DFW and Zerkall, to name only a few.

      I wish I could come with you and visit Le Typographe, hehe. Maybe you can even find out where they source their paper.
      Though I agree, this definitely won't help with luggage (nor with saving money)

    2. hola,

      yes, sorry. Gmund has a lot of paper,
      and I was quickly shown to the good stuff.
      there is two nice papers for discriminant tastes,
      but one of them is worth any risks —
      at least of getting some samples.
      Iroshizuku, Diamine and DeAtrementis inks went on great:
      even a rough-nibbed Montblank from the 40s did nicely.
      I liked their notebook, though not all inks do well,
      with little shading (subjectively),
      which is good enough for work.

      the Gmund paper I absolutely loved was the « Writing Ever Aomori »,
      and not as keen on the _very_ textured « Writing Valentinoise ».

      thanks for the other makers... I will seek them out,
      if possible — finding the stores is quite difficult.

      yes, most definitely, at La Typographe,
      I was going to ask about their paper source.
      hopefully, their Atelier is open to the public and such.
      imagine if two very inquisitive people show up at once? ;)
      otherwise, they seem to have a decent network,
      and I can get some samples in Paris.
      if I find out anything, I will pass the info along here.


  2. I visited the store yesterday,
    albeit a little rushed —
    which was unfortunate,
    as the staff present was very helpful & engaging.
    I asked a few questions,
    and most importantly:
    the paper is made in the Netherlands,
    but to their specification and watermarking.

    I was offered to try some pens on it,
    and it was superb —
    and drying time on the Iroshizuku was a little on the long side.
    still the performance was superb.

    too much was bought,
    and then not enough ;)

    the A5 "Montange" notebook is a must,
    with heft and performance (same 100gsm paper),
    and it comes with 300gsm paper,
    which is good for sketching.

    I am sure to visit again in October and spend more time.
    the shop carries more brands (including Gmund and others).


    ps I blog in "lo-fi" mode with instagram,
    where I posted some photos and gave you credit.
    instagram-dot-com/wordstains (if intrigued)

    1. Hey,
      Glad it lived up to your expectations - though everything else would've been a surprise!
      The notebook you're talking about, is that the one with the refillable paper that's attached with screws?
      Will definitely have a look at your instagram.

    2. hola...
      definitely a kind thanks to you for posting about them,
      and that it happened in time for me to visit them.
      no expectations, but some anticipation ;)

      not sure if it is refillable,
      but it has massive screws/rivets.
      the cover is not one that screams permanent,
      in terms of reuse.
      I saw it as the best alternative to Leuchttrum, etc.


    3. Hey,
      Yes, that's the one I meant. They're supposed to be refillable but as you say the cover doesn't look extremely durable. It's also more of a pad with a cover than a notebook, but the paper is the usual exquisite quality.
      Just received my first design-y today! More to come.

    4. you are quite the "enabler"! ;)
      I never heard of this one...
      now I know from a websearch:
      Japanese leather bound notebooks?!?
      I anticipate a review coming up!

      for my part, I got and tried, some Louie Vuitton inks.
      fantastic Paris-only store and sales point:
      « Cabinet d'Ecriture ».
      inks in the fashion of Iroshizuku.
      not a fan of the LV brand, but the inks... nice!

    5. Well, yes, I'm afraid so ;) Yes, the notebooks are amazing, I've had my eye on them for a while but they only used to make sizes up to A6 which I don't find comfortable as I usually write at desks or at home. When they introduced their A5 model I decided to get one. Every book is custom made but they're pretty quick and friendly to deal with even when there's problems (and accomodating in solving those).

      I've never ever heard of LV inks! Not planning to get to Paris anytime soon, but then I think I've got enough inks for now - except maybe for some Akkerman's. Gorgeous bottles and nice colour range... Have you ever been to The Hague and visited the shop?

  3. friends and concerts spin me around Europe,
    and sometimes work too. my one time in The Hague? concert.
    I understand that Akkerman's is related to Diamine,
    which is my favorite "budget" ink.
    and so, I have to try it.

    I disliked the Paris-only "gimmick",
    but at the chance of getting one,
    it is worth a try. (35€/50ml ~ Iroshizuku prices in EU)
    and they may widen their distribution to other LV stores.
    the colours follow the Iroshizuku poetic approach,
    and the lack of pigment use.

    thanks for the referral... I will definitely be looking into one.
    more so that the "holy grail" of notebooks,
    up to now, has been acquired. (oddly, an A4 notebook,
    with all else A5.)

    when will All These Beautiful Notebooks be started? :)

    1. Oh, what's that holy grail notebook?
      I mostly write with the journal sitting on my legs for which I find A5 to be the perfect size.

      I didn't know about Akkerman's and Diamine. I'm slightly put off the purchase by the bottle size. 150 ml of ink... phew.

      Also I'm all for harmonic coexistence so the beautiful notebooks will just stay here along with the pens. :D

    2. oh, yes... my holy grail was the Hermés Cahier.
      a small one was gifted,
      and loved the paper and feel of the cover.
      it is not for work, so hard to justify,
      but once a "theme" came about,
      then it was a matter of paying attention and seeking it.

      oh, I checked... 150ml kills me,
      as an ink has to live with me for a while,
      before I line up a few 50ml bottles on reserve.

      yes, yes... the right answer: the harmony.

  4. While this review is old, I was wondering if you could please let me now the inks used in the review. I really like the look of the darker ink with the shimmer.

    I have been a fan of this line of paper for over the past year. It has become my "go to" paper. When it is not readily available I will use my stock of Original Crown Mill.

    1. Hi Derrick,

      The dark blue ink with the red sheen is Private Reserve Electric DC Blue. Sheen is really extreme on this paper, however the paper also seems to enhance this ink's smearing tendencies. The orange ink in the review is Noodler's Apache Sunset and the green one is Iroshizuku chiku-rin.

      It indeed is lovely paper! I haven't used it that much lately because I've used mostly cream colored paper lately and LT is only available in white but I'm sure I will return to it.

    2. I am quite fond of the OCM Cream Laid. For me there is something about the scratch I get when writing on it. feedback from the pens.