Monday, September 22, 2014

notebook review: monologue

Today I am reviewing for Monologue, a Singaporean owned and operated notebook company. From their about page, "Monologue evolved from a long line of craftsmanship and tradition since the founding of our parent company dating back to 1945." Danhong from Monologue sent me a generous representation of the company's notebooks.

I decided to start with smallest first, which is the A8 notebook, which translates to 3x2 inches. A micro notebook!

See what I mean? 

 It has 96 cream-colored lined pages and a nifty little bookmark.

The paper is very smooth.

The bleed through on this one is pretty significant. None of the pens held up to the bleed through test, so I suppose the best writing instrument for it would be a pencil or a ball-point.

 Next up in the review is the A5 ruled notebook. It's a nice purple color, although it's showing up a bit more bright/bluish here than it actually is in real life (my camera does not interpret color very well). In real life, the purple is a true purple, very deep and rich.

 I really really like the little elastic pen holder nestled conveniently at the back. This is very useful, because so often pens are lost in the process of carrying a journal around, or else you try to hold them to the front with the cap of the pen, which ends up breaking (this has happened to me before.)

 The paper feels like high quality, somewhat thin without being actually thin, and feels quite smooth. However, the shadow from the backside of the pen test is very significant.

 It has a nifty pocket in the back to hold important documents and such. I have already been using this journal for a while, and the pocket seems to be very high quality (not the sort that will fall apart and rip.)

 I have been using this as a journal, so here you can see how the pen shadows through the back. This may be a problem for some, but not for others. This isn't my first preference of paper quality, however the journal is still usable.

 This is an A5 size from Monologues Platinum line. I really like the dark grey cover and the little place for the elastic to sit.

 The 96 pages are white and the paper is lined. This journal also contains a pocket like the purple A5 as well as a bookmark and a pen holder.

The bleed through test. It seems like there may be ever so slightly less bleed through than with the purple A5.

 I love the color of this sturdy-feeling little A6, and the way the elastic is positioned is unique.

 It is filled with 96 cream-colored ruled pages, and includes a brown bookmark and a pocket in the back cover for storing things. This notebook has a nice autumnal color theme going.

 I found this A6 notebook to be very interesting, as you will see. It is a hardcover, covered with a nice dark blue suede.

 It comes with a nifty Monologue Pencil, as well as a bookmark and a storage pocket in the back cover. It is filled with 96 cream pages. Half are lined.

 And the other half are blank, which is really interesting. I don't think I have ever come across a notebook quite like this one. The inclusion of the pencil made the pages narrower than usual.

 This is the pen test, which is also a representation of the orange A6.

 Again, I am not impressed with the bleed through/shadow issues Monologue's paper seems to have.

This is an A5 sized sketchbook. The cover feels quite durable. It is a softcover, but the cover feels somewhat stiff. I am not sure that it would be a good sketching surface. The whole sketchbook feels quite sturdy, though.

It is filled with 128 pages of heavier weight white paper, and includes a handy tear out feature.

I like the paper in this sketchbook a lot. It's heavier than that of the journals, and is not as smooth, so you get a nice, rougher texture for sketching. 

The bleed through does not seem to be a huge issue for the sketchbook, however there is still that shadow, although it is not quite as severe.

My thoughts:
Monologue's notebooks seem reminiscent to Moleskines to me. There isn't a lot of defining features about them, and by that I mean they seem like pretty standard notebooks. They seem durable and well-made (although after a month of use the pen holder on the purple A5 is showing signs of wear, and after a few days of use, the elastic broke on the little A8.) I don't feel like I can give an incredibly high rating on the paper. While it is a nice cream color and luxuriously smooth, the bleed through and the shadow are very intense. The sizes of the notebooks are varied, however, which is a plus, as there is a size for everyone (especially the A8; I do not think I have ever seen a journal that small.) The inclusion of bookmarks, storage compartments in the back cover, pen holders, and elastic closures are definitely a huge plus for me. These accessories are quite useful to any journaler.

Check out Monologue:
Monologue is currently working on their official website, so I was told by Danhong to link to their Facebook page, which you may visit here

I would like to thank Monologue for providing these journals to review!

Disclosure: I received these journals from Monologue in return for my honest review of the product, and the opinions expressed in this post are my own. I was not compensated in any other way.

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