I’ve been searching for my “perfect notebook” almost since I started using fountain pens. Every notebook I tried had at least one problem (in my opinion, I’m sure people would disagree with me). I’d just about given up hope of finding my “perfect notebook” when I stumbled across the Franklin-Christoph Firma-Flex Journal Notebooks.
When I started using fountain pens, I realized I could no longer just pick up any notebook I wanted to. So began my notebook search. And, of course, the elements that make up my “perfect notebook” have changed over the course of my search.
Originally, I just wanted paper that didn’t feather, bleed, or ghost. Then I discovered dot grid paper which led me to the Rhodia Goalbook. That was a fabulous notebook, except the paper is cream, so it affected the color of my ink. However, using that notebook helped me determine precisely what I want in a notebook:
- A5 – The most important aspect of the notebook overall. It’s big enough to write large amounts, but small enough to fit in my purse.
- White Paper – This became my most important paper quality. I don’t want any interference with my pretty ink colors.
- Minimal Ghosting – I can’t stand ghosting. It’s part of why I dislike the Leuchtturm1917 notebooks.
- No Feathering/Bleeding – There’s no point in having paper that isn’t fountain pen friendly.
- Dot Grid – I like the flexibility of dot grid paper. And most is 5mm ruling, which is better suited to my writing than the typically 7mm on basic lined paper.
- Bookmarks – I prefer two bookmarks, one to mark my weekly agenda spread and one to mark my place in the notebook.
- Numbered Pages – This one’s kind of optional, since I can number pages myself.
As I tried various notebooks, most of which I disliked, I kept searching for new ones, and finally, in writing my Indie Pen Maker post, I found the Firma-Flex. It appeared to tick most of my boxes, and, sure enough, when it arrived, it was a nearly perfect notebook.
☑ White Paper
☑ Minimal Ghosting
☑ Fountain Pen Friendly
☑ Dot Grid
☐ Numbered Pages
The Firma-Flex is available in A4, A5, and A6 sizes and ruled, dot grid, graph, and blank pages.
The paper is smooth and warm white, but uncoated, so I don’t have problems with my pen skipping on the page. There is almost no ghosting, even with black gel ink. And, of course, it’s fountain pen friendly. There’s no sign of of feathering or bleeding even when testing out Ralph’s Regalia Writing Labs flexible nibs.
The notebook itself is well made and lays fairly flat. The cover is firm enough to use it without a table, but a bit flexible (hence the name).
Firm enough to use for support when writing near the front or back, but flexible enough to bend and to be comfortable to hold and fit into bags and covers. Now with more durable black exterior material.
from the Franklin-Christoph website
The details on the cover are lovely and make it appear more expensive than it is. The ribbon bookmark seems well attached.
Overall, I’d give the Firma-Flex a solid 5 stars, and heartily recommend it to anyone. It’s a fantastic notebook, and I’m very happy I found it.