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Ecosystem Notebooks are my new Favorites

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So, a lot of people out there believe that the Moleskine is the greatest of all notebooks, but I think they are all a bunch of pretentious jerks that wish they were Hemmingway or something. Maybe I’m wrong, and they are the greatest journals of all time, but I’ve never had the luxury of using one. As a person that had a hard time convincing himself that not all notebooks are created equal, and that a $0.20 composition book is just as good as any fancy journal, I haven’t ever bought one for myself. Perhaps if someone was inclined to buy one for me, I’d give it a fair shake, maybe even be converted. That just hasn’t happened yet.

Back in October, when I received my first Lost Crates package, it included a medium sized, hard backed, bright orange journal from Ecosystem. At first, I sat it aside in favor of the nice pocket sized cahiers made by Field Notes and Behance, but eventually, I started writing in it as my NaNoWriMo Journal. I actually long hand wrote about 30,000 of the 50,000 words for my book in that journal. It’s still only about half full, but now I’ve started using it to write out blog posts and the like. I just love it as a little notebook.

That prompted me to start learning about the company, and that made me incredibly excited.

Ecosystem Notebooks

I followed the prompt instructions inside the cover of my journal and headed to the EcoSystem Website. I went ahead and registered my notebook, which is this thing you can do that serves two purposes:

  1. It allows others to send your journal back to you easily if you loose it somewhere.
  2. You can head to the ingredients page and find out exactly what your notebook is recycled from.

I found out that my orange (clementine) journal was made not only from recycled parts, but also completely inside the United States. That’s a big selling point for me, and once I saw that, I learned that all of their journals are 100% American made.

For those of you in the know, Moleskines are manufactured completely in China, which for me gives EcoSystem a huge plus over the competing brands.

It took me a couple of months to justify spending some more money on them, but eventually I talked myself into buying two more EcoSystems notebooks to serve different functions. I had a hardback lined journal already, which has been amazingly good to carry and write in, so I decided to buy one of each a blank and a grid book. I like grid paper for a variety of design uses, and I figured it’d be nice to have a good sketch book to carry with me when I go places. I ordered both with the Flexi Cover, since most people like that about their moleskines, and I’m not a big fan of having a hard cover on a sketch book.

They both arrived together on Friday, and I have to say, I already love them. Yesterday’s monster sketch was the first thing I doodled in the new sketchbook, and pencils and colored pencils reacted very well to the paper. I completely enjoyed using it. I’m not 100% happy with the flexi cover, it’s a little stiffer than what I was expecting, and feels basically like a sheet of thin plastic, like the type that line the bottom of a canvas Aldi’s bag, if you can follow that reference. Still, I think that might just be a matter of needing to wear it in, still. I don’t really have anything to compare it to, because other than the thin cardboard on a spiral notebook, I’ve never had a journal that wasn’t hardback before. The jury is still out on if I will come to appreciate it more or not.

The notebooks themselves are pretty nice, and come in a variety of bright colors or black. The paper is great to write on, but it has a little bit of a sticking issue in places on my lined journal, making the paper stick all the way out to the edge of the perforations. It isn’t a big issue for me, and I chalk it up to the fact that it is 100% recycled materials.

There is a little folder in the back of the journal that is extremely popular in this style of notebook, and they sell specialty inserts like calendars, or blank/ruled/grid paper to go in the folder, to add a bit of utility to the journal itself. They come in three different sizes, which are of course referred to as small, medium and large. All three of mine are medium sized, which is about 5×8 (5 1/4 x 8 1/4 actually, now that I’ve looked it up). This size is about perfect for me to slip into my laptop bag or carry around the house with me. Small notebooks are 3 5/8 x 5 5/8, which is pretty close to the size of my Cahiers (4×6) and so, I know that it would fit about perfectly in my shirt pocket, which is kind of the point. I’m planning on picking a couple of those up after the new year, as my always carry notebook of choice.  The 7 3/8 x 9 7/8 large note books are pretty close to standard paper size, and I’m thinking about maybe getting one of those to keep as a sketch book as well.

The picture above does not do the colors justice. It is very washed out, because I’m bad at photography. These are very brightly colored, and I’ll probably order pink and purple for new notebooks just to have an idea what they look like, but since green is my favorite color, and I like the green these come in, most of my future purchases will be kiwi green.

Or not, with so many different colors to choose from, I almost am tempted to color code them by use.

Anyway, the search for the perfect notebook continues, but for now, the Ecosystem notebooks are way out in the lead. 

If you have any favorites you’d like to throw into the mix, let me know in the comments below. I’m even willing to try a moleskine… especially one that has pac-man on the cover.

Published by M.A. Brotherton

M.A. Brotherton is a writer, blogger, artist, and fat-kid from the suburbs of Kansas City, Missouri. He’s tasted a little bit of everything the Midwest has to offer, ranging from meth-tweaking rednecks in massive underground cave complexes to those legendary amber waves of grain. When he’s not writing, he spends most of his time screwing around on the internet.

4 thoughts on “Ecosystem Notebooks are my new Favorites”

  1. Tracy Mangold says:

    I’ve been curious about these. I think Barnes and Noble carries them but I always pass them over for the Moleskin. I should have checked into them. I would definitely prefer to buy American. Thanks for posting about them because they are NOW on my list of things to check out! I’m a huge Moleskin fan but if these are how you say they are, I’d like them. Great review. One question, what color is the paper?Is it off-white or pure white and is it college ruled? I like college ruled and I like off-white paper.

    1. M.A. Brotherton says:

      The paper is fairly white. I’m not the best to ask, since my ability to see color shades isn’t that great, but it’s a recycled paper white. You know, almost pure white, but not like glossy white of a ream of printer paper. Of course, they aren’t all uniform,either. The blank one is much whiter than the lined one.

      I don’t know if it’s college ruled per se, It doesn’t say anywhere on my journal, but my hand writing is small and doesn’t feel like I’m wasting space using the lines, so I’m assuming it is.

  2. Meredith says:

    I’m not very fussy about brands. I’m a bargain hunter with regards to a variety of items, but I’m also a girl — which means I ooh and ahh over pretty designs. I especially love getting my hands on a hard-bound journal, but I do want something I can toss into my bag and take with me to record thoughts and such on the go. For the record, the pink one in your picture would be the one I’d select. Hey, it’s like I said. I’m a girl.

    1. M.A. Brotherton says:

      I’m not too fussy about brands, but there is a big difference between notebooks.

      I’m much more fussy about things like Made in America and Recycled.

      I also am as obsessed with the image that hipser project as they are, only to the opposite effect.

      The Moleskine is the iPhone of notebooks. A completely comparable product that is in many ways over priced because it has one or two nice features and an iconic design…

      …made by slave labor in China.

      Sadly, I don’t know why it looks more washed out on every other monitor, but that notebook is actually very, VERY orange.

      They have a pink color also that is very, very pink, but I don’t have one yet.

      I like the green, but green is my favorite color.

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