review: midori md a5 blank notebook - ink between the teeth

Sep 29, 2017

review: midori md a5 blank notebook

I'm using the Midori MD notebook to do all my ink and pen reviews, so I thought I would do a quick write-up of the notebook itself. I've used Midori MD paper before, but I've never had one of their notebooks in my hands.

The Midori MD line consists of quite a few paper products, ranging from a 365-day diary to sticky notes. If you've got an extra thirty minutes in your day, you should definitely browse their website. All of the products use the same paper and share a minimalist aesthetic. They're much more about the quality of the materials than unnecessary bits and bobs. However, at the same time, they have really thoughtful touches to them; for example, the letter paper has tiny lines on it to note how you should fold the paper into thirds so they fit into the envelope (I know I'd deeply appreciate this).
The MD notebook is no different. It arrived wrapped in this crinkly paper that feels (and sounds!) really nice to the touch. It pick up oils and water, so beware of condensation from your drink cups. I don't think it's meant to be pristine forever. It doesn't form white "crackles" when you crease it, but it does stay crumpled and can be ripped fairly easily. If you like the wabi-sabi style, you may enjoy leaving this paper cover on. If you don't, Midori also makes a variety of covers for their notebooks in paper, plastic, and goat leather.

Under this glassine paper, the notebook is covered by very thick, cream-colored cardstock. The front is debossed with the MD logo. The notebook saves the rest of its copyright information for the back endsheet. It has a very clean look to it, but I think that if you enjoy decorating your notebooks, you'd really love using colored pencils, crayons, and other such materials on this cover.

The notebook also has a belly band with details in Japanese on the front and back. Unfortunately, I can't read Japanese, so I can only assume what kind of information it declares; luckily, it has a couple of drawings. I believe that it talks about the establishment of the MD brand, ink-friendliness of the paper, its ability to lay flat, and the binding method.
Speaking of binding method, the notebook is threadbound in signatures, which definitely helps the notebook to lie flat. If you fold the notebook back on itself, it stays very flat. The binding is covered in cheesecloth tape. The notebook is really interesting texturally; if you run your fingers across the cover, your journey over the cardstock is interrupted by the mesh tape. A bookmark (in several different colors to differentiate between graph, lined, and blank paper) is attached on the outside of the binding; be careful not to pull on it, as it will get detached without extra help. Luckily, the notebook comes with a small sheet of stickers.
There are three horizontal stickers, and two of them come pre-labeled with "idea" and "diary." The last one is blank for your own desires ("bad ideas," "oh no another notebook," "even more bad ideas"). You can use these stickers to reinforce the bookmark where it's attached to the spine. It also has a bookplate-style label.

The notebook has 176 pages of off-white paper, which has a very slight tooth to it. If you're the kind of person who appreciates a light amount of feedback when you write, this paper would be perfect for you! Even with this texture, fine nibs should have no trouble. The scanner I used color-corrected the paper from cream to white; I want to apologize for this huge variance, and I will try to fix it in the future!

Midori claims its MD paper is very fountain pen friendly, so I thought I would throw everything I've currently got inked up at it! And you know what: they're right. Any sort of liquid ink will do great, and also dry in a reasonable amount of time. Sheen and shading are both prevalent. There's no feathering and no bleedthrough: there is mild showthrough, but nothing particularly distracting.

Gel pens, water-based markers, and felt-tip pens are all going to do well with little to no bleedthrough. I, personally, wouldn't suggest using ballpoints and gel pens, just because it seems a little wasteful on paper of this quality!

Using pencils was a little hit or miss. the Koh-I-Noor Magic pencil felt too slippery on the paper, while the mechanical pencil was just alright. To be fair, I don't have know enough about or own enough pencils to give this section of the writing instrument category a decent shot. If you like your paper to have some light texture, or if you know your pencils work well on this kind of paper, I think you would like it.

Midori produced this video for their website, which depicts a person drawing and writing using pencils, fountain pens (the MD pencil, Pilot Parallel, and Parker abomination that has a "nib" but actually uses felt tip inserts). If you love listening to the sound of pencil and pen on paper, well, they must've made this for you:

The Midori MD notebook comes in several different sizes: A6, B6 slim, A5, and A4 variant. The A4 size is slightly shorter than the "normal" A4, but its horizontal dimension is the same, so it should fit an A4 cover you've got lying around.

The MD notebook also comes in a light version: these come in a set of three of 48 pages each, and are staplebound.

I purchased my Midori MD notebook from Amazon. They can be found at online stationery retailers, such as JetPens and Goulet Pens. If you're in the California Bay Area, Maido has them in stock.

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