I received an interesting “check out our new product” email today, featuring the Blu Notebook. While not exactly a tool, the product seemed unique and interesting enough to warrant a post.
Some of the marketing information and language out there on the Blu Notebook seems… I want to say “trendy,” but I find the product to be compelling enough for a quick post nonetheless. Also, I have NOT seen this in person yet, but can make a request or order if enough readers want me to be the guinea pig.
So what is the Blu Notebook?
They’re calling it a sketchbook with the unique look and feel of blueprint paper.
The paper features a “10:1″ grid within a finer 2:1″ grid,” which I take to mean as 1/2″ major gridlines and 0.1″ minor gridlines. 10 squares per inch or 5 per half inch seems like a good scale for engineering sketches.
Inch or Metric Note: In counting the major gridlines in the product images, and comparing lengths in an image where there’s a ruler alongside the open notebook, measurements contradict the 10:1″ and 2:1″ specs, as they match up more closely with metric spacings of 1 centimeter for the major gridlines and 5:1 centimeters for the minor gridlines. The final product could very well be 10:1″ and 2:1″, but that’s not what is shown in the imagery. For instance, in the image above, which I would presume is the 8-1/4″ x 11″ notebook, there are 21 boxes across. If the major gridline spacing was 2:1″, that would mean a 10.5″ width. 21 centimeters is 8.268″, which rounds to 8-1/4″.
The paper is acid-free, and is said to have a smooth finish with a velvet feel. One of the more emphasized selling points is how the Blu paper “provides a ‘just right’ sensory feeling.” I’m not quite sure what that means, but I guess it means it’s smooth paper with a slight “toothy” texture that provides feedback?
This is the full description:
Writing in BLU provides a “just right” sensory feeling that satisfies and soothes.
Do you see what I mean about trendy marketing language? Will writing in this notebook really satisfy and soothe me? You?
There are two sizes: Classic (8-1/4″ x 11″), and Mini (5″ x 7″). The Classic has a durable cardboard cover, and the Mini has a flexible cardboard cover. Both have lay-flat spiral binding with tear sheets.
Each has 50 pages.
The introductory email I received started with:
Happy New Year! As architects, builders, designers and creatives….. I am sure the ToolGuyd audience would be thrilled to learn about this awesome notebook made from blueprint paper.
Sure, why not.
What pens can you use?
The Classic notebook comes with one Sakura White Gelly Roll 10 Bold Gel Pen.
Here is Blu’s recommendation:
To achieve the blueprint look, we recommend using BLU with opaque white or bright coloured gel/paint pens. However, standard ballpoint pens and other writing instruments work well on the pages of BLU.
So, you kind of need special pens for it, but they’re not proprietary, and you’re not locked to any particular brand.
Where is it made?
How much does it cost?
The list price for the Classic is $21 CAD, or $15.87 USD. There are different coupons available. SHOPBLU30 and BLU30 are 30%-0ff coupons. The first came from an odd “want free stuff or discounts” pop-over box, and the other came up at checkout.
The Mini is $12.09 USD.
Shipping is $4.99 USD within the USA, or $10-12 CAD in Canada depending on how many notebooks you buy.
There is also a value pack, for $29.47 USD or $39 CAD, and it includes a Classic notebook, Mini notebook, (2) bold white Sakura pens, and 3 neon Gelly Roll pens in green, yellow, and orange.
More Info(via Blu Notebooks)
To put it bluntly, the marketing language is a little too trendy for my liking. Will this notebook satisfy and soothe me? Probably not. Will it boost my productivity? I doubt it.
HOWEVER, speaking as someone who is picky about notebooks but also willing to try new styles and types of paper, Blu Notebooks look intriguing. It’s something I’d be willing to try. The pricing is reasonable, at least compared to typical journaling and sketchbook brand such as Rhodia, Clairefontaine, Doane, Maruman, and Leuchtturm.
There are times when light colored ink on dark colored paper can stand out better than typical dark colored ink or pencil or white or cream-colored paper.
The marketing is cheesy (sorry, that’s actually the nicest descriptor I could think of), but the product did catch and hold my attention. I am even inclined to say that I find it appealing, or at least potentially appealing.