Paperblanks Craftsmanship Standards: Paper Quality Update

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With many writers and artists among our team, we at Paperblanks understand that the need for high-quality paper within a journal is just as important as the beautiful cover that holds it. We last talked about our commitment to paper quality in 2011, speaking of our motivation to create a pleasant writing experience while maintaining our environmental standards, and now is the ideal time to provide an update to that posting.

Since 2011 we have continued to research the best possible paper sources, conducting fountain pen tests ourselves and following up on each and every piece of feedback we receive. One thing we have noticed is is a desire to know more about the gsm (grams per square meter, also known as paper density) of our journals. Because every batch of paper has slight variance due to the nature of paper production, the smoothness and amount of feathering that results can fluctuate a bit. The nib of the fountain pen you are using can also have an effect, so if your pen has a harder nib you may find it scratching the paper, leading to feathering.

The basis weight and grammage of our paper remains fairly consistent, and the guidelines below should help you determine whether or not a particular journal has the opacity you are seeking.

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Paperblanks Average gsm, by Format

Our paper weights usually vary depending on the size of book or type of cover. In general, the larger books use a heavier paper and smaller books use a lighter paper. However, this is not a firm rule as it also depends on the page count and other considerations. We work hard to maximise the opacity of the paper we use (a higher gsm means a higher-opacity paper with less possibility of see-through from one side to the other).

Here are our approximate typical paper weights:
Mini and Slim Journals: 85 gsm
Midi Journals: 85 gsm (journals with 176 pages) or 120 gsm (journals with either less or more than 176 pages)
Address Books and Micro, Maxi, Ultra and Grande Journals: 120 gsm
Handstitched journals: 127 gsm
Week-at-a-Time Dayplanners: 100 gsm
Day-at-a-Time Dayplanners: 80 gsm
Guest Books: 120–127 gsm
Flexis: 100gsm


Our Environmental Commitments

We manage all aspects of our business to ensure we are environmentally responsible global citizens. With respect to the production of our journals, all of our paper is derived from sustainable forest pulp, and our binder boards are made with 100% recycled materials. At Paperblanks we are committed to our mission of environmental responsibility and will continue to find ways to ensure we’re doing our best to achieve that commitment.

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More Information

Beyond the gsm of every book, the texture, colour and longevity of the paper we use is also highly important to us.

We use custom-designed laid paper in all of our journals. The exceptions are the Handstitched Collection and Dayplanners which have smooth, non-patterned writing surfaces. The paper used in all of our bookblocks has been selected to create a smooth writing experience that takes ink well.

Our paper is an ivory colour that is gentle on the eyes in any lighting conditions. In books with lined and grid interiors, the thin, dark grey lines have been arranged for optimal space usage.

Our bookblocks are made from acid-free paper, meaning that they will maintain their colouring and durability for centuries.

For more information or feedback regarding our products, please email us at

Get-Organized-In-Style - With Filter

About Paperblanks: At Paperblanks, we believe that art should have a place in all aspects of life. That’s why we follow the artist’s way in everything we do – creating, crafting and releasing designs we believe have the power to touch people. For more about Paperblanks, go to our website at

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18 comments on “Paperblanks Craftsmanship Standards: Paper Quality Update

  1. I’ve noticed a difference in the weight and feel of papers between sizes, and I do appreciate your transparency about them! Of course, your products are beautiful, and my first choice for my daily diary/journal (going on seven years now)!

    • Hi LL,

      That is wonderful to hear! We are happy to answer any questions you may have about our products and hope that this updated blog post will provide a good head start for finding answers!

      Hope you are enjoying your 2015 diary!

      The Paperblanks® Team

  2. Hi. A couple of weeks ago I purchased a Lincoln Fragment of a Speech Ultra Journal from my local Barnes & Noble. I’m noticing the same fountain pen bleed through issues that others mentioned in the older version of the post. Plus, pencils don’t erase well either. Also, the paper seems inconsistent in texture from the front to the back page.

    I tried different pens, nib widths, and inks. All of them either show through or bleed through in areas. I also compared the paper in thickness to some other paper I have. It seems more like 80 gsm than 120, but I know gsm doesn’t exactly equate to thickness.

    It really is a great journal otherwise. The magnetic closure, pocket, paper color, and overall design are awesome. Not being able to use a fountain pen is a deal breaker though.

    Could you check into it for me? Batch number 118201. ISBN 9978-1-55156-873-7. Is there a certain series of batch numbers I should avoid in the future? Thanks.

    • Hi David,

      Thank you very much for writing to us about your experiences with one of our journals. The Lincoln, Fragment of a Speech journal from that batch is an older journal. As mentioned in the post, we are consistently seeking to to improve our paper quality every year. If you would like, please email us at and we would be happy to help you find a newer journal with the paper quality for fountain pens that you are looking for.

      Best regards,
      The Paperblanks® Team

  3. It’s possible to know if ISBN 978-1-4397-2669-3
    Embellished Manuscripts
    Great Minds At Work
    Albert Einstein, Special Theory of Relativity Ultra
    uses the fountain pen friendly paper?
    I cannot access the batch because is from an online shop.

    • Hi Rafael,

      Our Albert Einstein, Special Theory of Relatively journals are relatively new and do include the improved paper. Of course, your results using a fountain pen will vary depending on the ink, nib and pressure that you apply. We found a very helpful review from the Fountain Pen Network for the Einstein with grid interior that we think could help to answer any questions you have. Please feel free to email us at should you have any other questions or concerns.

      All the best,
      The Paperblanks® Team

  4. Yesterday I was at the John Lewis store in the Trafford Centre when I picked up a 240 page midi lined equinoxe journal. I also picked up a set of SHEAFFER beginner calligraphy set and I was wondering if my journal has the improved paper or not. Thanks.

    Here is the ISBN code. 978-1-4397-2680-8

    Please let me know ASAP

    • Hi Abbey,

      Thanks for writing. Our Equinoxe journals do contain the updated paper. Of course, we can’t guarantee how your journal will take your particular calligraphy set, as the type of ink and nib, as well as pressure applied, can affect the results.

      For any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask!

      All the best,
      The Paperblanks® Team

  5. Hello,

    The post mentions that larger books have thicker paper, and specifically that Grande Journals have 120gsm paper. Does that include the Grande 2016 day planners? I’m confused because later, it is stated that Week-at-a-Time day planners only have 80gsm paper.

    I’m considering a 2016 Grande week-at-a-time and a 2016 Midi day-at-a-time – please let me know which type has thicker paper, and the thickness of the paper in each type. I would prefer to buy a larger book, but paper thickness is important to me, as I would like to use ink in the book.

    Thank you, and Happy New Year!

    • Hello Jennifer,

      Our apologies for any confusion. The gsm standards for our dayplanners are different from the journals, and so you are correct in reading that the paper in our Week-At-A-Time agendas is 80gsm. It is still a very high-quality paper that takes most ink well, but it is not as heavy as the paper in our Grande journals. The Midi Day-At-A-Time will have an approximate paper weight of 100gsm.

      Please let us know if you have any further questions.

      All the best,
      The Paperblanks® Team

  6. Hello!

    I love your notebooks and would like buy one and use it for a art journal. I think that your guest book is the perfect book for sketches and such, but I wonder how much the paper in your guest book journals weigh? Since I sometimes use markers (like tombow) I need papers that is at least 120gsm.

    Best regards, Sandra 🙂

    • Hello Sandra!

      Thank you for asking about our Guest Books. We agree that they are the ideal format for sketches, and we are sorry that we forget to include their paper weight on our list. They are crafted using the same high-quality, cream-coloured paper as our Handstitched journals and to optimise the opacity of the individual pages, our guest books have an approximate paper weight of 127 gsm.

      Happy sketching!

    • Hi Furkan,

      That really depends on the type of writing implement you’re using, and the specific book you’ve chosen. As this post shows, there is some variety in the paper thickness and opacity depending on book format. The way the paper takes ink also depends on the type of ink, nib and pressure used – as opposed to the colour of the ink itself. We have a blog post series called “Peek Inside” that might help inspire the colour ink you use. It shows how real-life journallers and artists have used their Paperblanks books, and they often give recommendations for pens, pencils, markers, paints, etc:

      We hope this helps!
      The Paperblanks Team

  7. Based on the information in this blog, I decided to try Paperblanks again for my journalling with fountain pens. I ordered the Concordia midi, whose end pages give a copyright of 2014. Unfortunately, both my pens immediately feathered, though not as badly as the PB journals of 15 years ago. My writing immediately was rendered fuzzy with ink feathering, even with a light hand and a smooth nib (cursive italic). I’m pretty disappointed, as the journals are beautiful but unusable for me, and wasted money.

    • Hi Bruce,

      We are really sorry that you still have not found Paperblanks paper that works for you. While we try our best to offer the best paper quality we can, we can’t guarantee it will suit every fountain pen, ink, nib and individual hand pressure. We appreciate you providing your feedback and will continue to test our paper and seek new options.

      The Paperblanks Team

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