The New Make: Notebook (TL;DR: Great)

As anyone who occasionally browses this logbook knows, I have a serious interest in notebooks. (We’ll leave aside other possible descriptors, like, for example, fetish or obsession, for now.) I have a kept a daybook of some kind for almost twenty-five years now. For the past eight years, I have used almost exclusively the large Moleskine notebooks, the ones that measure 5″ x 8″ (13cm x 21cm).

While I acknowledge that a great deal of the technorati have switched to the really nice Field Notes brand, and while I find the smaller size appealing, especially for traveling, it’s been my experience that the 3″ x 5″ size just isn’t practicable for me. First, the page is too small to write a decent amount of prose when one is writing, and second, it’s also too small to do any kind of measured drawing, as well as too small for me to do the kind of sketching I sometimes do when thinking things out. If Field Notes were ever to introduce the next size up, I would certainly consider it.

But they may not have to because Make has done it. In my review of the first Maker’s notebook, I commented about the cover, but where the notebook failed for me, as a daybook, is in the size of the grid: it’s just too small for writing. while it excels at making measured drawings for builds:

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As a comparison of the original Maker’s notebook, a Leuchtterm notebook, and the new Make: notebook makes clear, Make has also shrunk the new notebook back to the more common size of the large notebooks of Moleskine and Leuchtterm. This is neither good nor bad, on the surface, but for someone who has grown accustomed to a notebook being a particular size, this is a really welcome change. (It’s hard to discern how closely the new Make notebook and the Leuchtterm match in size from this photo, but they do.)

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Also worth noting is that the ruling of the new Make: notebook is lighter than on the original notebook, while remaining blue. This makes it easier to read and easier to photocopy — faint blue lines tend to disappear in black and white imaging. The tinting of the ruling is a more critical factor to usability than many first realize, but having switched recently from Moleskine to Leuchtterm over precisely this issue, I can say that the lighter ruling really matters. The recent darkening of Moleskine rules was a purposeful change on their part, and something I protested. The dark lines make the grid paper especially hard to use when writing and reading text. (For more on this topic, see my notes on notebooks from last year.)

Here’s a comparison of the four rulings:

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The new Make: notebook stands up really well in such a comparison. I especially like the slightly larger squares for writing text. The Make: notebook also has a perfect binding that lies flat. The only drawback, currently, from my perspective is that it has a card stock cover, but until I’ve had the chance to test its durability in daily use, I’ll give it a pass.

Congratulations, Make:, you hit the mark.