I’ve been seeing a lot of buzz about the Ghost Paper notebooks lately so I grabbed one for myself to see if they lived up to all of the hype. The general concept is that the pages are ruled but don’t use actual ink for the rulings. Instead they use an embossed and debossed texture to indicate where the ruling is. Basically on one side of the page the ruling is a slightly indented line and on the other side its a slightly raised line. Before we jump into the review for a closer look, I picked mine up from Amazon, and you can do so here as well.
So if you didn’t notice in the first picture, you might notice in this picture, the leather like cover on this notebook actually grabs grease or oil stains from your fingers pretty easily. On the first two pictures here you can see darker gray spots on the cover that are specifically from my fingers touching the notebook I guess. I do however like the embedded branding with the logo and brand name on both the front and back covers. I also like the stark white page finder and elastic closure against the soft gray cover of the Ghost Paper notebook.
One other thing that gives me pause about the Ghost Paper notebook is the elastic closure. The picture above shows the Ghost Paper notebook elastic closure in the forefront with the elastic closure of a Black n’ Red notebook behind. The Ghost Paper notebook elastic closure has noticeably more waves in it where the elastic looks tighter in some spots. I don’t know the physics or mechanics behind it, but in previous experience un-stretched elastic that looks like this tends not to hold its shape or strength over time. I’ll keep an eye on this to see how it holds up, but definitely a point of concern that the elastic in these notebooks might not be of great quality.
Ghost Paper Notebook Paper:
Once you crack open the Ghost Paper notebook, this is what you see. Its kinda cool and a really great idea to be honest. The white rulings of the notebook are actually more like indentations on one side of the paper, and when you flip it over the lines feel raised if you run your fingers across the paper. The lines are not SUPER easy to see but definitely are noticeable especially in the right lighting conditions.
This light pencil rub on the Ghost Paper notebook paper above should give you a better idea of how the ruling of the paper works. You can see here that a soft pencil rubbing over the paper leaves a blank row on the slightly sunken surface of the paper.
When you flip the Gost Paper notebook paper over and do the same pencil rub, you highlight a totally different effect. Now instead of a blank gap because of an indented line, you have the opposite. Its now a raised line for the ruling so its like having a super subtle speed bump on your page. Definitely a great idea to have kind of a minimalist but still ruled notebook paper.
Ghost Paper Notebook Writing Sample:
My first curiosity about the Ghost Paper notebook was to see if it was fountain pen friendly. Using a TWSBI 1.1mm stub nib I tested out several inks and there was some very obvious feathering on this paper. Switching over to my Sailor Professional Gear with a Fine nib there was definitely less feathering, but its still certainly there. If you look at the lower case “l” in the word Imperial its probably the most noticeable spot.
Flipping the sheet over you can instantly see that for the 1.1mm nib, the Ghost Paper notebook isn’t even close to being fountain pen friendly with the significant amount of show through here. Honestly though, below it with the fine point Sailor Professional gear, the show through is still pretty noticeable. There was also actually bleed through from the 1.1 stub nib ink samples on the next page.
For the most part all of the other inks I tested on the Ghost Paper notebook handled pretty well. A second attempt at a fountain pen though did also result in some slight feathering with the ink. In terms of pencil, it takes to the paper well, but with the medium and dark shading, the eraser wasn’t able to remove what I’d consider a decent amount of lead from the dark shading I did with a Palomino Blackwing. On the medium and light shading I feel that the pencil lead removal was pretty respectable.
After seeing all of the hype about the Ghost Paper notebook, I can certainly understand why. Its a very unique concept and it is really nice to write on without the visual distraction of lines ruled with actual ink. Its just as easy to keep your writing in a level plane, but the paper performance just doesn’t do it for me. Between the fountain pen feathering and the more noticeable than average show through, these are a no-go for me, especially at the price point they come in at. Hopefully they can improve the paper quality at some point because I think they have a lot of potential. It might also be worth a tweak to the cover material so it doesn’t suck up every day finger grease and oils too. These are fun notebooks that I hope to see some improvements on, so if you want to try something different check ’em out here on Amazon.