Leaving super early tomorrow morning -- have a good weekend, all!
Since there are a lot of photos, I'm putting the review behind an LJ cut:
Ah, the Rhodia. I'm well aware that about 90% of you are well aware of what makes the Rhodia pad so popular, and sing its praises to all those yet unacquainted with it. (After all, it's the famous orange notepad with the cult following , if the advertising is to be believed). This review is for those aforementioned folks who are yet unacquainted with it -- the ones who are new to FPdom, and are unfamiliar with some of the more well-known brands of paper out there. For those of you who know all about Rhodias (and perhaps own a few, or more than a few), you won't find anything here that you haven't already discovered for yourselves. For the newbies (of which I was once ;) ), hopefully this will enlighten you as to why exactly Rhodia is one of the best-loved paper out there.
The size I have is 7.5" tall and nearly 6" wide. A nice size!
This has got to be the best designed notepad, ever. First of all, it has a COVER (which is more than I can say for Staples sugarcane bagasse paper...honestly. Is a cover too much to ask?) to protect it from the academic elements of sweaty hands, dirt, ink, and being tossed in and out of a knapsack or bag. I also dig the understated simplicity of the cover: The black logo, against an orange backdrop. Period. Nothing more. It has a vintage feel to it, which I appreciate.
Secondly, check out the top:
See those lines/creases? Well, it's built that way so it can...
...fold back, neatly out of the way.
Isn't that clever? I was quite impressed.
Again, the reason I like spiral bound pads above stapled ones is so I can write on both sides of the paper. I can't do that with this notepad -- not effectively, anyway. Alas.
That's the furthest I could get it to go :(
Another nice thing is that these pads are perforated on top for clean, easy ripping (in fact, when I'm done with a sheet, I simply rip it out and use the blank, clean back for scrap paper and jotting memos). Unlike Red n' Black (which I personally dislike), these pages are WELL perforated, and are easy to remove from the pad, yet they are attached very securely...you'll never have to worry about pages suddenly disengaging from the pad. VERY well constructed. Maybe there's something behind all the marketing hype after all.
The perforated edges are easy to remove from the pad, but strong enough to hold even when folding the paper over on itself, if you choose not to remove the pages.
Finally, let's take a look at the back of the pad, which is very interesting:
At first I thought the numbers were multiplication tables or something, but then realized that they were just a rundown of the different size pads Rhodia offers. Infinitely less useful, but still nifty to have.
In addition to having a Rhodia-pad-size-table-thing, the back of the pad is very stiff cardboard which is not totally inflexible, but still very firm and rigid, giving an excellent support to the paper and the hand writing upon it. It's a very nice balance between semi-flex and rigid backing.
Though beautifully smooth, it has a little more tooth than its sister brand Clairfontaine. It's barely noticeable -- just enough to give you some control over your steering, so to speak (I personally prefer the glassy Clairefontaine, but that's just me :) )
The lines are college ruled, which I like (I tend to write small), although definitely a bit wider than Apica. I don't know why the left side margin is so huge; to me, it just signifies a big waste of space :P Minus .5 there.
Of course, it fares stupendously with fountain pens:
See? Look at that. No bleedthrough, except (as always) with the Sharpie (and, seriously, who uses Sharpies for day to day writing? I'm really curious about this...you really need to have a true diehard love of Sharpies to put up with that godawful smell and unholy bleedthrough). Let me just note here that even though it looks like there's a lot of shading, that's just due to the light in the scanner. In actuality, there is zero shading, and even the Sharpie is 55% shading and 45% bleedthrough.
PURCHASING RHODIA PADS
In addition to Borders bookstores, Rhodia pads have many, many online venues. Check out the following Rhodia retailers:
Pear Tree Pens
The Daily Planner
The Journal Shop (UK)
Basically, many places that sell journals/stationary/paper are bound to have it, including your local art supply or stationary store. And you can bet that any fine writing store (whether online or brick & mortar) worth its salt will be carrying it.
This has been my first experience with a Rhodia pad, and despite the slightly frustrating aspect of not being able to really write on both sides of the sheet [while still being attached to the pad], it certainly won't be my last.
Suffice it to say, I certainly understand why Rhodia pads have such a huge following. Consider me a fan!
Rhodia review, pt 2 (gridded)
Diamine ink (Spring 2009 series): Pumpkin, Majestic Blue, Onyx Black