You may have noticed some of your writer or artist friends using a nice-looking notebook with sleek black covers and colored outer page edges. If so, you might have spotted one of Victoria Journal’s Venzi brand of soft blank journals, which have become a popular notebook of choice for creative people.
Exclusively made for National Bookstore, this journal is a godsend for those of us who are on a budget. While it isn’t exactly a budget-friendly version of the legendary Moleskine notebooks, it is a worthwhile alternative for those looking to treat themselves with a journal that feels a little fancier than your usual spiral notebooks.
The first thing you’ll notice is the classy looking faux-leather black covers, which feel quite nice to the touch. As advertised, the covers are soft, and so this journal feels almost comforting to stroke with your hand. One minor complaint I have with the notebook is that it feels a little too soft for my tastes. It might not be for people who can get a little rough or careless with their journals. Even then, I haven’t had any problems with the notebook getting permanently bent, since there are enough pages to make the notebook thick enough to withstand most wear and tear scenarios. They come in a few sizes, but the most common one is around A5 (13cm wide by 21cm tall). They’ve also got different types of pocket-sized journals, which are much smaller than A6 paper size.
Besides the pretty cover, this notebook also stands out from the rest due to its uniquely colored outer page edges. The paper edge colors I have spotted in stores so far include pink, red, orange, and blue. The notebook also comes with a thin elastic band to hold everything together when closed. It’s just the right width to keep your notebook shut, without being a hassle to remove and put back. It also have a expandable inner paper pocket in the back, which is useful for keeping memos and other such little papers that you might run across.
Once you flip open the notebook, you’ll be pleased to find that the pages are of a nice cream color. The pages have a very smooth texture. If you run a finger along the surface of the paper, you won’t feel any ‘teeth’, which means ink doesn’t blot as much, if at all. The notebook’s overall weight is also quite light, so you can throw this into your backpack or purse when you’re on the go, without worrying about coming home with back or shoulder pain.
While the paper quality is quite good for the price, it has its drawbacks. The notebook has 192 leaves, which leaves you with at least 384 pages of space for your ideas… assuming you don’t use pens with ink that bleeds. Unfortunately, while the Venzi soft journal’s pages feel nice to the touch, they’re a little too thin than I would have liked. Due to their paper weight of 70gsm, I’ve found that using most technical or gel pens (anything with wet ink) makes ink bleed through to the back of the page. Luckily, I haven’t had any pen ink bleed through to the next page, but it can happen if you heavily shade or write with alcohol color markers. I prefer to use pencils or ballpoint pens, which are less likely to bleed, when scribbling in this journal. The drawback is that, when you erase your pencil lines, it’s way too easy to accidentally wrinkle the paper. Hence, you have to do so gently, or with a specific technique (erasing only in one direction), or else you’ll be frustrated to find yourself stuck with a lot of crumpled pages.
I find it best to use this notebook for doing artwork sketches in pencil, and for little ideas that pop into mind. I’m personally quite bad at keeping my handwriting straight, so I don’t personally use it to write down my thoughts or creative work. Other people might find it more freeing to write in a completely blank page that one with lines or dots. For those who do need the added visual guidance, Venzi offers a lined version of this notebook with orange page edges and elastic band. I haven’t found a version of this specific journal with dotted lines, but they do offer a thicker journal that has them, under the brand name Copelle.
Venzi soft-journals are available at most branches of National Bookstore. The smaller, pocket-sizes cost approximately 90 pesos, while the one close to A5 will run you around 189 pesos. If you’re lucky, you might find the journal covers in colors other than black, but stocks seem to be random.