A few weeks ago, I contacted Daycraft, in Hong Kong, to express interest in reviewing some of their products. I have seen some recent reviews of their notebooks, and I noticed that there was quite a bit of variety in what I had seen online. I was notified that I would receive a sample package, and within two weeks a package arrived. I was rather surprised when I found two notebooks and two diaries in the package, along with an extensive catalog of products. The catalog demonstrates that Daycraft caters to many different kinds of preferences, from small, sophisticated pocket diaries to the more visually interesting notebooks with designs.
The first item I pulled from the package was this small diary, which Daycraft calls the 2012 Signature Diary (mini size). The color is listed as green, but it is mostly a blue with some green, perhaps a darker teal. The contrast between the color of the color and blood orange pages/ribbon really grabbed my attention. It's not an obvious color pairing, and I like that. It draws on some styling that might be more common in the 60s and 70s. The cover is soft and flexible, and it would be easy to forget that this is in your pocket.
Another cool feature is the year printed across the side of the pages. If you had several years of these little diaries, it would be very easy to identify them as a stack on the shelf. I personally enjoy giving my notebooks labels and dates, so this feature appealed to me.
The inside of the diary is loaded with all kinds of useful information: nutritional details, conversion tables, holidays, information on other countries, etc. All good stuff, especially if you don't have access to the internet at the moment and you need a quick reference guide.
The pages are pretty small, so you get just enough lines to keep track of your obligations, homework assignments, and meetings. If you are a super busy person, than the size might be too small, but I think the format works well for the amount of space involved. The "diary" is clearly more of a planner than a diary, but Daycraft prefers to call it a diary, so that is how I will relay the naming to you.
The pages are very thin, so I'd only recommend using a ballpoint pen, a micro tip (~.38) gel pen, or a pencil. I didn't bother with a writing test, because the characteristics of the paper made the options obvious. If you don't mind using something that puts less ink on the page, this will likely be a great little diary for you.
This is the band that was wrapped around the diary. As you can see, the diary is identified as green, which it most certainly is not, but I still think the color was appealing.
Next we have the SKINZ notebook (A6 size), which features two menacing revolvers and a familiar phrase from Clint Eastwood, "Make My Day," which draws on the Daycraft slogan on the cover of their catalog, "We Make Your Day."
The notebook includes several temporary tattoos. I can't help thinking of the metal band Guns N Roses, which is an easy connection to make given the tattoos being of guns and roses. The tattoos don't appeal to me now, but I would have loved to be displaying these back in the day.
As you can see, the pages have designs at the top, which I personally would rather not have, but it's nice to have something different from time to time. The pages are marketed as being 100 gram, which I thought was very surprising, so I had to try a writing sample.
The Noodler's Piston Filler and Kaweco Sport feathered the most, but in both cases it wasn't terrible (Moleskine is typically much worse). I am guessing that less saturating (watery) inks tend to spread more on this kind of paper, which is not as smooth as Rhodia or Black n' Red. All in all, the paper held up very well, and I'd have limited issues using a fine point fountain pen nib on this paper.
There was some considerable show-through with some of the pens, but I don't typically write on the back pages unless I am using something far less likely to produce show-through. If you mind seeing the ink on the opposite side of the page, you might not be a big fan of the outcome here. I guess it all depends on how particular you are about utilizing both sides of the page.
Another aspects of the pages that might bother you is that the lines do not go all the way to the edge. This helps me keep my hand writing a bit neater, but many people prefer to have the lines go all of the way to the edge. Again, your preference may make this a deal breaker, but it was a bonus for me.
Here is the band that was on the outside of the SKINS notebook.
Next on the list is the D-sign (read: design) notebook (A6 size). Unlike the SKINZ notebook, this one has a hard cover. The SKINZ notebook is firm, but had a softer, more flexible cover.
A statement of what is meant by the image on the front.
Again, the lines do not go the edge of the page, but there is is no design at the top of each page, given you more space than the SKINZ notebook. The pages are a bit smoother than the SKINZ notebook, which I like. I chose not to do a writing sample in this one a) because I am assuming it is just slightly better than the paper in the SKINZ and b) because I would like to have this in pristine shape to giveaway, either on the blog or as a gift.
And here is the band for the D-sign notebook. Some notebooks never give you these details, so I really enjoy that this notebook has a spec sheet of sorts to answer my questions.
Lastly, this is the 2012 Vogue Diary. It was the only one to come in a box, and it has a very tactile cover to it. The color is obviously blue, and it has a stitched square pattern that a bit squishy upon pressing on it. While the design might not be my personal taste, I am pretty sure my sister or girlfriend will snap this one up. Included is a good sized ribbon page marker.
Out of the box, you can see just how shiny the cover is - it is polyurethane, by the way.
The Vogue Diary has month view pages and day view pages, allowing you to get a better sense of your upcoming obligations. This is my preferred format, so you can get a glimpse of the year rather than just being buried in all of the details of daily tasks.
The daily format has specific time slots to notate what you need to get done. If you have a more free-flowing style of planning, this may be too rigid for you. I am very specific about what I need to get done each day, so I thought this layout was perfect, if only the outside of the diary appealed to me more. Again, this is really a planner, not a diary, but Daycraft prefers to call this one a diary, so a diary it is.
And here is the spec sheet band for the 2012 Vogue Diary.
I had asked Mr. Lee, retail and marketing manager at Daycraft, a few questions about the company's goals and mission, and here is what he had to say:
- We hope to sell in US. But up to now, you can find our Cookie Bookie Notebook in MOMA Shop (www.moma.org) in New York only;
- Please refer to the "ABOUT US" in our web-site (www.daycraft.com.hk/en/about); We hope to make good quality, creative but affordable products;
- The paper is outsourced from reliable suppliers. We shall choose suitbale paper for a specific series!
So, there you have it. I thoroughly enjoyed taking a look at what Daycraft has to offer, and I only have a small sample of what is available through Daycraft. They clearly care about considering different tastes and designs, and the paper is very good, depending on what you intend to use it for. I look forward to seeing more of these available in the U.S. once distribution has expanded.