Review: Doane Paper Idea Journal

Come, let us celebrate the new world of Twitter, for most of us probably wouldn’t know about half the things we do.

For me, one of those things is Doane Paper and their unique stationary offerings. Their website is fun, their products are simple, and they don’t bury you in options. I don’t need 15 different pads; give me a few options in a couple sizes and I’m good. Doane must have the same belief because they offer 3 different style pads, with a maximum choice of 2 sizes. That’s perfect and I must thank them for it.

I’ll admit, I was tempted by their legal pads. There’s just not a lot of good legal pads out there but not being sure what to expect of their paper, I ordered the small “Idea Journal” and figured I’d feel it out from there.

Doane Paper Idea Journal

Clearly their most unique feature is the paper and even more odd is the fact that they provide you with the template for free if you want to make your own. Have a love affair with 32lb HP paper but dig the Doane lines + grid format? Not a problem, grab their template and make your own. How cool is that?

The Idea Journal is a pretty simple design; thick recycled covers, a strong spiral binding, and bright white 60lb paper with their signature and unusual lines + grid format. I almost hate to say this, but it’s so simple it might cause some people to overlook how good it is. This thing isn’t flashy or trying to be fancy, it’s just a good solid journal. That’s not a bad thing, let’s make that clear. We live in a world flooded with notepads vying for our attention with all sorts of marketing schemes. It’s nice to find one that isn’t trying to act like something special only to leave you annoyed with the lack of quality.

As with every notebook review, it always comes down to the paper. I’ll just come out and say it, it’s good stuff. The lines + grid layout doesn’t really resonate with me but that’s mainly because I feel the, big horizontal lines are too far apart. They’re spaced 3 grid lines apart when I’d prefer them to be only 2. Of course, that’s just an opinion and once you get past the line situation, the paper is fantastic. No feathering, no bleed-through, and practically no show-through even with wet pens and dark ink. Combine all that with the bright white color and I can’t find a thing to complain about except those pesky lines.

Doane Paper with writing

I’m not exactly sure where this journal is going to fit into my life as I still haven’t made up my mind on lines yet. For some reason I see this line format working wonderfully for the legal pads but in a journal it seems out of place. As always, you’ll have to get your hands on the design to see how it feels for you and seeing how they offer their template for free, that’s not too hard to do.

If you’re picky about your paper, I’d put Doane Paper in the top contenders. I think I’ll have to get my hands on those legal pads after all.

3 thoughts on “Review: Doane Paper Idea Journal

  1. No bleed through and practically no show through?!? This is not at all the same as my experience with this notebook. Most of my pens, particularly the wet writers show through significantly.

    I love everything about this notebook (thick covers, thick paper, special ruling) except for the fact that the paper is really only usable on one side.

    I’ll use this notebook until it is (half) full, but will return to Miguel Ruis or Clairefontaine after that.

    Regards, greg

  2. Greg,

    That’s quite interesting. I like to think of my Pelikan M200 with MB British Racing Green ink as being a bully to most papers and I had no problems whatsoever with show through. Granted, as you can see my testing is just sentences but I could always snap a picture of the back of that page to show the lack of show-through.

    As always though, paper does fluctuate from time to time so one notebook may not perform the same as others. I’d be hard pressed to remember the last time anyone talked down on this paper but there’s always a first.


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