The Magic of Moleskine



A few weeks ago, when one of my new moleskines was delivered, a friend was with me. At my enthusiasm for unwrapping a new journal, she asked to see it. When she did, she said, “But Dolly, it’s just a regular notebook.”

I attempted to explain about the quality and feel of the pages, and how the size and the bind of it, is perfect. But I could see in her reaction that she just didn’t get it. So I ended the discussion with a lame comment, “Never mind. Unless you use journals, you wouldn’t understand.”

I’ve had similar reaction from my husband over the years whenever I spoke about moleskines.

Recently, for our trip to Ecuador, I bought a moleskine for him. On our first day here, he started using it, and said, “I only want these from now on.”

I smiled. A smile of pure satisfaction because the product of my choosing had spoken for itself. Another convert. The moleskine had proven its worth.

I don’t work for moleskine. They don’t pay me commission or anything to say these things. I love moleskines simply because they match most of my requirements for a perfect journal – the only one they don’t is  that fountain pens don’t work well on the pages. The simplicity of its look is classy, bind is sturdy. They fit well in most bags, and are easy to carry around. You could keep things in the back flap, and decorate the covers to personalise it. 

For these reasons and more, moleskine is one of my favourite brands.

What about you? Have you ever used moleskines? What’s your opinion? Or is there any other brand that is your favourite?


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16 thoughts on “The Magic of Moleskine

  1. Preaching to the converted Dolly. They are a quality product, and as you say they are sized to perfection. My preference is the plain paged version so I can mix sketches and words on the page.

    They even had a ‘honourable’ mention in a post I did. I’ll cut and paste that bit here rather than do the spammy “link to my site” thing.

    A mention about Moleskine® journals

    Almost everyone has heard of Moleskine® journals, and surprisingly they nearly disappeared when in 1986 the French manufacturer went out of business. For eleven years the iconic notebook was out of production until an Italian company started to produce them again and now they are going from strength to strength.

    The Moleskine® journal notebook has been used by famous people for two centuries as a preferred notebook to record their thoughts. It is considerably more expensive than an ordinary notebook of similar size, yet it has some features that might allow you to justify the higher expense.

    The snob factor: For some people, if you are going to do something then you must have the perceived correct tools. I say perceived because it is really down to personal taste as well as the type of entry a writer uses. Journals should follow function and be chosen for what works best for the writer . However, for some, holding a Moleskine® in their hand amounts in their minds as what’s needed to be a real journaler.
    High page count: The quality of paper is very high and this means that a Moleskine® journal can hold 192 very thin pages that do not act or feel like a thin page under your pen, so a single journal can last a long time or cover multiple projects. The downside is that you don’t get to start a new one so often and they can get shabby in use.
    Stiff covers: This allows for easier writing whilst travelling.
    Sample pocket: A neat little stuffage pocket in the back for your growing collection of titbits.
    Elasticated closure and ribbon: An elasticated closure allows for anything you slip in between pages to stay there, whilst a neat ribbon bookmark helps you find your last entry.
    Traditionally bound: The thread bound spine does keep the pages neater than in a glued or spiral bound notebook, they don’t have a habit of falling out when the glue fails and it also allows you to write closer to the bound edge than you can with the others.
    Cleverly sized: Moleskine® journals are a neat size, they just fit nicely in pockets and (large) purses. (Others are sized around the dividing of bulk paper sheets, for example, A4, A5, A6 etc.)
    Perforations: Some Moleskines® have a few pages in the back that are perforated for removal.

    I’m not advocating that you only use Moleskine® journals, but I do recommend that you have a close look at one the next time you are in the stationers and familiarise yourself with the features that make these such a quality product.

  2. I really dislike moleskines. Ive used them before and found their paper quality lacking unless you buy the sketchbook and then the paper bugs me. I prefer to buy a cheaper brand with better quality, such as a normal sketchbook, or the cheapie oxford brand.

  3. I have yet to use Moleskine. However, I am about to start a new journal and I have a Moleskine Ruled Journal (8.5X11) that I will try. I usually write with a fountain pen and I will use one some of the time in the Moleskine just to see what it does. I will also use a rollerball and a ballpoint, then compare the look and the writing experience.
    I wonder how Moleskine will compare to Rhodia for fountain pen users?

  4. I always have a notebook on the go I’ve had pretty ones, big ones, small ones, flexible ones and rigid ones but the soft moleskin with lines is like no other, it’s almost a spiritual experience !!

  5. I am a loyal user of the black 8 1/2 x 5 1/4 Moleskine. I stumbled over them a couple of years ago when I was using a larger journal and decided to give it a try – I haven’t looked back since! It’s small enough to be totally portable (I take it everywhere!) and big enough that my hand doesn’t fall off the side of the page (I hate that!). I also don’t like to use anything that ‘s too “good”. The Moleskine is good quality, but still casual enough that I don’t feel the need to be “perfect”. It’s not intimidating!

    For my pen, I use ballpoint so the fountain pen issue doesn’t affect me. I use a papermate refill pen and it flows very nicely over the paper. I tend to write only on the right side of the page and leave the left side for quick referral summaries of my entry – this helps me to further pinpoint areas of opportunity or hone in on the “real” issue.This method has taken me awhile to develop but has definitely helped me to identify trends in my life. When I can actually see these trends, I start working on the solutions rather than just keep circling in my entries. I’ve started using mind maps thanks to one of your recent posts!

    Dolly, can I just say that I love this site! It is so inspirational and has been very helpful in my becoming a more thorough and meaningful journaler. I’ve been an off and on journaler my whole life, but have seen the benefits of consistency over the past few years. My journal is my record, my place to work on issues and my place to plan for the future. Thanks for helping me discover this!

  6. I fell in love with Moleskines years ago. But my love has wained as the quality has declined. I am now a fan of Rhodia. I tried them for the dot grid which I find the best compromise between ruled and grid. They are also available with an orange cover which is fun and different.
    I still collect Moleskine special editions like Peanuts and Lego.

  7. Kimberley,

    Considering my post, obviously I disagree :-) But these things are subjective anyway, so each to their own I suppose!

    My only problem with moleskines has been that I can’t use a fountain pen, but Pilot G2 works fabulously on the pages.

  8. Clayton,

    I would be interested to know your opinion once you try a moleskine. I highly recommend using Pilot G2. I’ve found them to be the best ones for moleskine.

    One disadvantage of moleskines is that the pages are really not very suitable for fountain pens, so if you desperately want to use fountain pens then it’s not really the right notebook.

  9. Ciara,

    Your comment is almost like a poetry :-) I have not used a soft moleskine, because I really like the hard covers, but one of these days I might try it.

  10. Beth,

    Thank you. It’s always great to find readers who find the site inspirational.

    As much as I love fountain pens, it doesn’t bother me not to use them for journaling very much. I guess there is always a compromise somewhere, and moleskines have been pretty much perfect so I’m willing to put up with that.

    I’m glad to hear you found mind maps useful; they are capable of unlocking great creativity.

    Thank you for taking the time to comment :-)

  11. Sharon,

    I prefer the classiness of black, so I really dislike those orange covers. I’m actually waiting to try a Rhodia, but here in England they are only available in few places and are usually more expensive than moleskines so I haven’t tried it. But it’s on my list!

  12. Thanks for the review, Dolly.

    What a pitty that Moleskin is no good if you use fountain pens. I use them a lot, because I can write with them for much longer before my hand gets tired.

    I’ve been using Paperblanks for some time now and am very satisfied. They are not only good to use with fountain pens, but also the bleed through of marker pens (which I also use quite frequently) is very little.

  13. Many years ago, back in their Modo a Modo days, Moleskine was the only little notebook one could find easily and I got hooked. There are dozens of nice notebooks from many mfrs now, of course, and I have at least one of each. I still enjoy my Molies and I use fountain pens! The paper varies tremendously from book to book but that doesn’t bother me much simply because I have chosen to only use the recto side of each leaf. The information density is far lower so I can find stuff in my old notebooks.. It’s easier as a right-handler to write sn the right side. The verso is available for marginalia and amendments. I tend to buy my notebooks in bulk or from the discount table so the economics of using half the writing space is okay with me.

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