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


  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

  8. I have been using the PaperBlanks dayplanners for a few years now. I have really enjoyed using them –
    they make quite a statement, and are really beautiful.
    Previously I have purchased the Ultra day-at-a-time dayplanners. For 2018, I decided to purchase the Mystique Midi day-at-a-time for a bit of variation. I had no problems whatsoever using fountain pens with the Ultra dayplanners, but I was incredibly disappointed with the midi planner. The ink soaks right through and feathers considerably, making the writing difficult to read an unpleasant to look at. I am using the same pens and inks, with a markedly different result. I assume from your list of paper weights that they should both be approximately 80 gsm, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I have used 80 gsm Rhodia paper with no issues. I wonder if the information on gsm has since changed? Had the gsm been stated on the product, I may have been able to avoid this.
    It is a shame, as I was planning on purchasing some of the journals to use as notebooks, but I am reluctant to do so now in case they have the same issue.
    I emailed a month ago but received no reply.
    In future, I think I will have to purchase products that state the gsm, or are noted as fountain pen friendly, but I am going to miss the beautiful covers.

    • Hi Michael,

      We’re sorry to hear you have been disappointed with your Midi planner and that you haven’t received a reply to the email you sent. Would it be okay if we emailed you directly to discuss this further?

      Thank you,

      The Paperblanks Team

  9. Hi Paperblanks Team,
    I am a huge fan of your products and also of bullet journaling. Will you have any dot grid books in the near future? Or is there any reason why you don’t sell those yet?
    Also I love the quality of your paper and the ultra size, and I think it would be perfect for bullet journals 😀

    • Hi Nina.

      Thanks for reaching out! Dot-grid interiors are definitely something we are planning to add to our collection. We aren’t quite ready to make announcement, but will post an update on the blog as soon as we can. We’re glad to hear this is something you would be into 🙂

  10. Hi Paperblanks 🙂
    I love my Aurelia journal(lined), but I would also be looking forward to the dot grid version. Are you any closer to adding them to the collection? I do prefer the heavier gsm for bullet journaling 😉
    Greetings from Denmark, Susanne 🙂

    • Hi Susanne,

      So glad to hear you’re enjoying your Aurelia journal! We definitely agree that dot-grid interiors are great options to have, and we’re working to bring them to our collection. We’ll be sure to post an update as soon as we can 🙂

      All the best!
      The Paperblanks Team

  11. I discovered Paperblanks earlier this year and have a really nice Imagination midi-176 page lined journal that works well with my fountain pens and all but the wettest inks. A great little journal.

    But, I also have a Safavid flexis ultra 176 page lined, and a Cat theme mini day planner, both of which bleed through with pretty much any ink I use, even otherwise well behaved inks like Lamy Blue, Lamy Black and Pilot Namiki Blue. The day planner even bleeds through in places with a ball point pen.

    Is there some way of knowing which Paperblank products are actually fountain pen friendly? I love the look of these journals, but the inconsistent performance of the paper makes it too risky to purchase.

    • Hi Jeremy,

      Thanks for your question and sharing your feedback. Right now, we don’t offer journals specifically designed for fountain pens, but this special type of paper is something we are working on.

      Due to the different variables in terms of nibs, inks and hand pressure, as well as different paper batches, it can be difficult to guarantee which specific products will take ink best. At the moment, journals with a smaller page count (like your 176-page midi) and larger formats are the best designed to work with fountain pens, as they have thicker paper. Our guest books are also great options, at 120 gsm. Dayplanners, however, given how quickly people tend to use and discard them, are less likely to work with a fountain pen.

      As we are working on developing better fountain pen paper options, if you have suggestions as to gsm or similar products you enjoy using, we would love to hear your thoughts!

      Robyn @ Paperblanks

      • Thanks Robyn,

        For journaling, I’ve found I prefer the B5 size for desk use and B6 for portability. Larger than that and the text is lost on the page. Smaller and there isn’t much room left after adding margins.

        I’ve mainly been using Rollbahn, Apica and Life notebooks. These are all Japanese made and have paper with excellent fountain pen properties – ie. no bleed or feathering with stand ink, minimal show through, etc. I’ve also used Rhodia and Clairefontaine in the past for larger size desk pads, and day planners.

        Some things I really like about the Paperblanks journals are the covers, the line pitch, and the way the notebook lay flat on the desk. The fold over closure/cover on the cat themed one is excellent for a small carry-round journal too.

        • Hi Jeremy,

          This is really helpful to know. Thank you for sharing your feedback and experience.

          We’ll have to test out some of these different options as we develop our fountain pen paper.

          And thanks for the positive notes, too! One thing that will definitely never change around here is our commitment to unique and diverse covers.


  12. Hi!
    This might be a dumb question but I was told that the journals are not made out of leather, but I just wanted to be 100 precent certain that is accurate?

    • Hi Lily,

      We get asked that all the time, don’t worry! You have received the correct information – though we work hard to create unique textures on our covers, they are crafted entirely from paper 🙂

  13. Hi there,

    Could you please advise whether the Safavid Ultra Journal (ISBN 9781439716014) features the updated paper optimized for fountain pens? Is there a way to tell which years of the Ultra journals have the latest fountain-pen-friendly paper?


    • Hi David,

      Thanks for your question. While we don’t currently produce a paper specifically designed for fountain pens, we have received positive reviews about the way our books with 120gsm text paper take a variety of inks. The Safavid Ultra therefore would likely be a good choice for you, however we cannot guarantee any results due to the variation in inks, nibs and hand pressure used.

      We are continuing to source paper specifically designed for use with fountain pens and hope to add this to our collection soon.

      All the best,
      Robyn @ Paperblanks

  14. I tend to use dip pens with fountain pen inks for my journal writing, and I have bought Paperblanks journals quite a lot because they are beautiful and also because they tend to be pretty consistent in their paper quality. I tend to prefer Ultras, which I haven’t had a problem with regarding the paper weight, and I also like Grandes for some translation projects I am doing.
    Recently, however, I bought a Grande, the red-orange Faux Leather with gold designs, unlined, and it had very poor quality paper. It was an expensive purchase, so I gave it to a friend who doesn’t use fountain pens, but now I’m leery about buying another one without being able to look at the paper. Most Grandes come wrapped in plastic at the store, so you can’t look into them. I noticed you were telling some commenters above about certain batch numbers or ISBNs or lines that were assured to have a high gsm. Can you tell me anything like that? I’m currently thinking about Aurelia and Blossoming Poesie, but I’d take nearly anything that’s unlined.
    Thank you.

  15. I have issues with your transparency about the paper quality. The Flexis designs I’ve looked at on the website are ALL specified to carry 100msg paper, but there is an actual huge difference between them and you don’t find out until you try writing in them with a fountain pen ink. I had a Flexi Midi Moonlight 176p Unlined that worked really well with a fountain pen, then I bought a Flexi Midi Azure 176p Unlined, and the ink bleeds terribly, and then I bought a Flexi Ultra Black Moroccan Bold 176p Unlined because its paper felt better than its midi version in the shop, but the paper quality was still bad – my ink bleeds, it’s a bit better than the Azure one but it’s nothing like the Moonlight one. I ran out of space in my Moonlight notebook, so now I don’t know what to do. At this point I’ve wasted so much money that I’m considering switching to Rhoda or Clairefontaine, even though they don’t have pretty covers.

    • Hi Marsha,

      Thank you for reaching out, and our sincere apologies for the frustration caused by the inconsistency in the paper quality. We have heard our customers’ complaints regarding the paper in our softcover Flexis and have recently made a change to a new paper supplier to avoid this in the future. We would love to send you a replacement Flexi with the new paper so you can be one of the first to experience the upgraded paper. If you wouldn’t mind emailing me directly, I would be happy to help further.

      I can be reached at

      Thank you,
      Robyn @ Paperblanks

  16. Dear Paperblanks team,
    I bought a dharma dragon flexi ultra dot planner and although it says 100gsm, it is no where near as good quality as my last flexi midi which is also 100gsm. I’m a huge fan of paperblanks and as an author – I literally have 30+ of these journals and they feature in my author talks. I have just started bullet journalling and was thrilled to see you had introduced a dot planner. You can’t imagine my disappointment when my fountain pens bled through, but also my uniball eye pens. I didn’t have a problem with these in my two midi even though the paper is 100gsm. This was a really big investment compared to other dot journals and I feel really demoralised. You guys are famous for paper quality – please don’t force me to look elsewhere – I really REA:Ly don’t want to. I’m a devoted fan, but can’t afford a mistake like this. All the best, Lindsay

    • Hi Lindsay,

      Thank you for sharing your feedback. We sincerely apologize for letting you down with the paper in our Dot-Grid Planners.

      When we first began developing our Dot-Grid Planners we expected that they would be used like our traditional annual and academic planners. However when we launched them on the market we quickly learned that users require a high-quality paper than can handle wet inks like fountain pens and markers. And so, we have spent the past year researching new paper suppliers to fix this issue in our Dot-Grid Planners (that’s why we haven’t released any new designs).

      We are happy to say we have found a paper that will stand up to our high standards and we are working on a launch plan now. We hope to provide an update on this soon and will be sure to make clear which Dot-Grid Planners offer this new text paper when they are released.

      All the best,
      Robyn @ Paperblanks

  17. Hello,

    I have been looking for a new “perfect” notebook—a process I go through every once in a while, as needs and wishes do change—and remembered my PaperBlanks Ultra notebook circa 2001. Though it’s lined (a feature I don’t generally opt for anymore), I began writing on a still-empty page to get a feel for whether the dimensions would be generous enough for my current needs and realized that the lines were faint enough that they didn’t bother me in the least. This opens up a lot more notebook options!

    From your website, I’ve gathered that there’ve naturally been some changes in the decades since I bought my last Ultra notebook from PaperBlanks, for example the “custom-designed laid paper” now used for the Ultra notebooks (which sounds lovely). And I see that the ruling is described as “thin, dark grey lines.” My question is, are these lines darker (i.e., more noticeable) than those of your much older notebooks? I ask because the hardcover Ultra notebook I’m interested in, “The Waves (Volume 4)”/Item no. 9781439772942, appears to be available only with lines. I’m just curious if they are technically the same as those I see in my much older notebook, which seem more like a light gray.

    Some perspective on this rather picky (but still important!) detail would be much appreciated . . .

    Lisa McGarry


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