Papio Press - glorious AND recycled!

by Amanda Fleet

Small notebooks tend to fall into four main camps, as far as I can tell - functional but not terribly pretty; not all that functional nor all that pretty; pretty but not all that functional; and pretty and functional. Which camp would these A6 notebooks land in?

Well, you can tell from their covers that they have to be in one of the pretty camps! The team behind them - Harry and Zanna Goldhawk - are illustrators and the covers are just delightful. But, would they be functional as well as so easy on the eye? I road-tested a pack, to see how they would fare.

The notebooks come as a pack of two, in a biodegradable cellophane pack (HUGE thumbs up from me!). The set I have is called "Tigers". The covers and the paper are recycled (another huge thumbs up!).

There is one notebook of each design and the covers are mirror images (i.e. the back of the cover is the mirror image of the front of the cover).

The notebooks are almost true A6 i.e. 102 mm x 148 mm (just 3 mm narrower than true A6). This makes them larger than Field Notes (which are 90 mm x 140 mm) for comparison. There are 24 pages (48 sides) and the notebooks are staple-bound. In the back cover is their logo and details of their website.

Both the card cover and the interior paper is recycled which I approve of enormously, but recycled paper can sometimes be incredibly fountain pen unfriendly. This can be make or break for me with notebooks. If I'm going to buy a notebook again, it really has to be fountain pen friendly!

I'm delighted to say that these beautiful little notebooks scored really well in the fountain pen tests! I don't have as many pens inked up as usual, but the three that are inked are the ones that can seriously test even top-performing paper.

General writing feel:

The paper is a bit toothier and rougher than Rhodia or Clairefontaine papers. It was still a great writing experience and the ink dried pretty quickly - much faster than the same ink/nib combination does on Clairefontaine. If you're left-handed and have a tendency to smudge ink when writing, you'd probably be okay with these.


There was almost no feathering at all. There was a tiny amount with the Conklin Durograph test but unless you looked really closely, it's almost invisible. The Conklin does lay down a lake of ink though! No feathering with any of the other inks/nibs.


There was a little ghosting through to the reverse side but it was less with the fountain pens than with the other pens I tested. The biro showed 'embossing' on the other side - where the pressure of writing has left the paper distorted, but nothing too major for my pressure of writing. The reverse is certainly usable.


There was no bleed-through at all with the fountain pens! And remember, this is recycled paper!


Because these are fairly slim and staple-bound they don't fall open flat the way a sewn notebook might, but they need very little persuasion to lie flat.


These are cracking little notebooks that are surprisingly fountain-pen friendly.

They are an absolute steal at £5 for a 2-pack and there are so many fantastic covers to choose from. You can see the full range here.