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All students, undergraduate and graduate , need a calendar. Why not use one geared towards your college schedule?

The Ciak Academic Daily Planner is dated starting in August, just when school starts back up. This allows you to use the same calendar throughout the school year rather than use one during the Fall semester and another during the Spring semester.

The Ciak Academic Planner has a few extras that other planners are missing such as an Examination Schedule, List of Courses Chart, Consulting Hours page and an envelope style pocket in the back for storing useful notes, photos or other flat items.

In the planning section, each page for Monday through Friday features a daily planning page with 23 lines for organizing your life, while Saturday and Sunday share a page.

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Guest Review

This review is by Julie, whose blog “Whatever” features reviews and articles on pens, inks and paper, postcards, letter writing and journaling. You should check out her blog when you have the chance.

The Ciak Multicolor Journal

This is a small journal perfect for a pocket or purse, here is the product description from the Journaling Arts website:

• Buttery-Soft, Gorgeous Black Cover
• Sleek, Italian Design in a Rainbow of Colors
• Patented Elastic Closure Keeps Everything Compact
• 128 Leaves, 256 Pages of Multicolor Paper
• 32 Pages Per Color
• Smooth, Rounded Corners Don’t Get Stuck in Your Pocket
• Acid-Free Paper Resists Ink Bleed through
• Hand-Crafted in Italy
• A Ribbon Place Holder to Keep You Organized
• New, in Original Packaging, Measures 3½” X 5½”

The Ciak has no back pocket, but honestly, I’ve never used the pocket in any of my journals. I tend to just stick things inside the front or back cover or between the pages.

Ciak on the left and a small Moleskine on the right.

The Ciak has 256 pages vs Moleskine's 192. Here you can see the layers of multicolor pages which is why I bought this journal to begin with. I love color.

The Ciak journal does not lay flat when opened up which may be an issue for some people, but that has never been a concern for me.

Finally, the ultimate test - withstanding fountain pen and ink. The Ciak performs admirably - no feathering, no bleedthrough and just the smallest amount of show through which I think most of us can easily live with.

Be sure to visit Julie’s blog at: http://okami-whatever.blogspot.com/

inks and paper; talk about postcards, letter writing and journaling; and, of course, our Akitas (that’s them in the photo), but you just never know.

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The new Ciak 2010 Planners in stock at http://www.journalingarts.com and they are gorgeous! With seven colors to choose from including a rich purple, you can choose the color that suits you best.

Rich purple is a new color this year at JournalingArts.com.

Rich purple is a new color this year at JournalingArts.com.

Ciak Planners feature a colorful, buttery-smooth cover that make them unique. The paper is pale ivory in color, is acid-free and is thicker than the paper in the Moleskine planners. The weekly format spreads across 2 pages with 4 days on the left page and 3 days on the right with a space for notes after Sunday. There is a removable, tabbed address book in the rear of the planner along with some ruled pages for notes and a 2-page spread that is gridded.

Planning Pages in a Ciak Weekly Planner.

The interior pages have been updated for 2010 and now include a small monthly planner in the lower right corner of each 2-page spread. This feature was requested by many users last year and I am glad to see that it was included. If you right-click this photo and then select view image, you will be able to see an enlarged view of the planning pages.

Close up of a planning page in the Ciak Weekly Planner.

Close up of a planning page in the Ciak Weekly Planner.

Monthly Calendars are in the front of the planner for long range planning. The arrangement of the dayes is vertical rather than horizontal, which seems a little bit different the first time you see it, but it works just as well.

Monthly Calendars are in the front of the planner for long range planning. The arrangement of the days is vertical rather than horizontal, which seems a little bit different the first time you see it, but it works just as well.

An illustrated Time Zone Map makes scheduling your travel a snap.

A Time Zone Map keeps your travel plans on track.

The Ciak Planner has a tabbed, removable address book.

The Ciak Planner has a tabbed, removable address book.

If you are looking for a quality, handmade planner with great Italian style, you may want to give the Ciak planner a try. It is a high-quality journal made from durable materials designed to go the long haul. The vibrant colors add a carefree feeling that you just can’t match with a plain, black planner.

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The Ciak pocket, ruled notebook.

This review is the fifth in a series where I will test the paper in some of the most popular notebooks today, including Moleskine, Ciak, Rhodia, Markings by C.R. Gibson and Cartesio. I am posting the reviews in no specific order. I intentionally omitted the Leuchtturm journals because they are planning on changing to “pen-proof” paper in their journals in August, 2009, and in all fairness, I want to review their newest products. The pens I chose were based on what I had lying around my office, but my selections are similar to popular pens in the market today. I chose a fountain pen with a medium nib because it will lay down more ink and will be more likely to feather or bleed through the paper than a fine point nib.
Moleskine, The paper was tested in Ciak, Rhodia, Cartesio and C.R. Gibsons Markings journals.

The paper was tested in Moleskine, Ciak, Rhodia, Cartesio and C.R. Gibson’s Markings journals. All journals have light ivory colored pages that look very similar.

Please note that you may get different results using your pens than I do with mine. A lot of variables can come into play here including pen type, ink type, pressure used, nib style and environmental conditions, etc. I will do my best to be specific when possible and to include all of the relevant details.

The pens I am testing are:

  • Tombow Ultra Rollerball Pen, 0.5 mm point
  • Sensa Ballpoint Pen
  • Staedtler Triplus Fineliner
  • Tombow Fountain Pen with Medium Nib
  • Tombow Pixie Ballpoint Pen, 0.7 mm point
  • Pilot Precise Grip Fine Point Marker
  • Tombow Dual Brush Pen, Fine Point
  • Marks A-Lot Dual Sharp Permanent Marker Fine Point (similar to Sharpie)

First Impressions

The Ciak journal is different than the other journals I tested in the following ways.

  • It measures nearly 4″ wide by 5¼” tall, so it is a little shorter and fatter than the others.
  • The heavy elastic strap runs horizontally around the cover, which is great for attaching a pen.
  • The cover is soft and flexible and available in a wide variety of colors including black, red, orange, yellow and blue.
  • The pages are heavier than the rest, so the paper takes up more room, although the journal is thinner overall than the Rhodia because of the Web Notebook’s thick covers.

Like other notebooks in this test, it has 192 page count, ribbon bookmark and ruled lines. While the notebook won’t lay completely lay flat when opened, it will lay almost flat and stay open on its own if you break it in by pressing it open and creasing it along the spine. The paper is the thickest of the 5 notebooks and has a small amount of tooth. There are 20 lines per page, so the ruling is a little wider than the Rhodia, Markings and Moleskine notebooks and the lines stop short of the outer and inner margins.

The paper in this journal was a top performer regarding bleedthrough and showthrough, a close second to the Rhodia Web Notebook. It is very receptive to wet writers and is fast drying, which is great for fountain pens and rollerball pens. There is more tooth to the paper than the Rhodia and Moleskine notebooks, but I think this is part of what makes the paper so agreeable to wet pens. The paper also produced the heaviest lines and rendered the strongest, brightest colors, more so than any of the others. The Marks A-Lot permanent marker did bleed through, but it bled on all of the papers in the test, so this was expected.

When using my fountain pen, the ink sank well into the paper and the dried quickly. There was some tonal variation that was equal to the variation on the Rhodia paper, but overall the ink color was darker and more intense. I liked the way my fountain pen wrote on this paper and found it satisfying the way the paper accepted the ink. I did not experience any bleedthrough with my Tombow Fountain pen nor any raised areas on the back.

Detail of ink comparison on the Ciak paper.

Enlarged detail of the inks on the paper of the Ciak journal. The ink color is saturated with excellent contrast, the best of all tested. If you right click this image and select “view image” from the dropdown menu, you can see an enlarged view.

The back side of the paper had some showthrough and there was small amount of bleedthrough with the Tombow roll pen and the Pilot Precise Grip at the end of lines where the ink pooled, but it would not keep you from using both sides of the paper. There was lots of bleedthrough on the Marks-A-Lot Permanent Marker, but this was a problem on every paper in this test including the top rated Rhodia. There were no raised areas on the back side of the page, not even on the ballpoint pens. This is worth noting for those of you who like writing on both sides of the paper.

The back side of the page has minimal showthrough and no raised areas. The fountain pen performed flawlessly and suffered no bleedthrough. If you right click this image and select “view image” from the dropdown menu, you can see an enlarged view.

The back side of the page has some showthrough and bleedtrough. There were no raised areas on the reverse side which makes using both sides of the paper a real possibility. If you right click this image and select “view image” from the dropdown menu, you can see an enlarged view.

I have to comment on the build and quality of this notebook. While it may not be relevant to how well the ink performs, it is great to use a notebook that looks and feels like a quality journal. The binding is tight, the paper is clean and the elastic strap is very durable. I have had a lot of different notebooks over the past few years and I have never had a problem with a Ciak journal, which is more than I can say with most of the others.

Pros

  • Clear text using ballpoint pen, water-based marker and fountain pen
  • Paper renders the richest, boldest ink colors of all tested with good ink saturation and contrast
  • Ink dries quickly and sinks well into the paper
  • High-quality materials and manufacture
  • Pale ivory color is easy on the eyes
  • Thick, acid-free paper with more tooth than most
  • Cover available in a variety of colors
  • Horizontal elastic strap can hold a pen along side of the journal

Cons

  • Some showthrough and bleedthrough on the reverse side of the paper
  • Feathering on Tombow Roll Pen

I love using the Ciak notebook especially with my fountain pen. I like the way the ink was accepted on the paper and that there were no raised areas on the backside of the paper. Because the paper is so accepting, I would imagine that a few fountain pens and rollerball pens will bleed through a bit depending on the ink you are using. If you use ballpoint pens or if you don’t mind experimenting with your writing tools, the Ciak is an excellent choice. It feels well made and has higher quality materials than the Moleskine or Markings journals.

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I just listed Ciak Black Multicolor Journals at www.journalingarts.com. These journals have pages sectioned into 8 different sections of 32 pages each for easy organization that looks great. The paper is fountain pen friendly and acid free. More colors to come soon!

Ciaks Multicolor Journals have 8 color-coded sections of 32 pages for easy organizing.

Ciak's Multicolor Journals have 8 color-coded sections of 32 pages for easy organizing.

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I was able to write crips lines with most inks in the Moleskine Ruled Pocket Journal.

I was able to write fairly crisp lines with all of my pens in the Moleskine Pocket Journal.

This review is the first in a series where I will test the paper in some of the most popular notebooks today, including Moleskine, Ciak, Rhodia, Markings by C.R. Gibson and Cartesio. I am posting the reviews in no specific order. I intentionally omitted the Leuchtturm journals because they are planning on changing to “pen-proof” paper in their journals in August, 2009, and in all fairness, I want to review their newest products.

The pens I chose were based on what I had lying around my office, but my selections are similar to popular pens in the market today. I chose a fountain pen with a medium nib because it will lay down more ink and will be more likely to feather or bleed through the paper than a fine point nib.

Moleskine, The paper was tested in Ciak, Rhodia, Cartesio and C.R. Gibsons Markings journals.

The paper was tested in Moleskine, Ciak, Rhodia, Cartesio and C.R. Gibson's Markings journals. All journals have light ivory colored pages that look very similar.

Please note that you may get different results using your pens than I do with mine. A lot of variables can come into play here including pen type, ink type, pressure used, nib style and environmental conditions, etc. I will do my best to be specific when possible and to include all of the relevant details.

The pens I am testing are:

  • Tombow Ultra Rollerball Pen, 0.5 mm point
  • Sensa Ballpoint Pen
  • Staedtler Triplus Fineliner
  • Tombow Fountain Pen with Medium Nib
  • Tombow Pixie Ballpoint Pen, 0.7 mm point
  • Pilot Precise Grip Fine Point Marker
  • Tombow Dual Brush Pen, Fine Point
  • Marks A-Lot Dual Sharp Permanent Marker Fine Point (similar to Sharpie)

First Impressions

The Moleskine notebook has fairly smooth paper with little tooth. The paper is the second thinnest, the thinnest being that from the Markings journal from C.R. Gibson. The color is pale ivory and is nearly the same as all the other journals.

Overall, I am surprised by how well the paper in the Moleksine notebook performed. It displayed the second best color depth, with the Ciak paper being slightly more saturated. The words written on it appeared sharp, but less so than those on the Rhodia Web notebook paper. There was little, if any, feathering. I’ve heard complaints about the paper in the Moleskine journal feathering badly, but the notebook I tested did not. Even the fountain pen ink appeared sharp, and the inks went down clean without drags, skips or picks.

Detail of the inks on paper in the Moleskine Pocket Ruled notebook. The words were sharp and clear and the colors remained saturated.

Enlarged detail of the inks on the paper in the Moleskine Pocket Ruled notebook. The words appear sharp and clear, and the colors saturated. If you right click this image and select "view image" from the dropdown menu, you can see an enlarged view.

There are some issues I have with the paper, however. The back side of the paper has a lot of showthrough. All but the ballpoint inks show through clearly, and the Tombow Rollerball Pen bled through a tiny bit. The Marks-A-Lot Permanent Marker bled through a lot, but I expected this because it is similar to a Sharpie Marker and it bled through all of the other papers in this test.

Because this paper is thin you can feel the the raised writing on the back side of the page. This holds true for all ink samples except the markers. If you write with moderate to heavy  pressure, you will have quite a bit of texture from the previous page popping through.

The back side of the page has a good amount of show through, especially on the darker, more saturated inks. On all samples except the markers, you can feel the text raised on the reverse side.

The back side of the page has a lot of showthrough, especially on the darker, more saturated inks. On all samples except the markers, you can feel the text raised on the reverse side. If you right click this image and select "view image" from the dropdown menu, you can see an enlarged view.

When using wet pens, such as the Tombow Roll Pen and the Tombow Fountain Pen, the inks dried slower than expected. This can cause smearing if you are a lefty or if you are impatient. It shouldn’t be a problem if you are a righty as long as you don’t rush things.

Pros

  • Clear, sharp text with no apparent feathering, even when using a fountain pen and markers
  • Rich, saturated ink colors
  • Smooth paper accepts ink without skipping
  • Pale ivory color is easy on the eyes
  • Good for use with ballpoint pens and other non-saturated inks

Cons

  • Darker inks show through the back side of the paper
  • Writing with any pressure will push through the back leaving raised areas on the back side
  • Some “wet” pens and markers will bleed through the back of the page
  • The ink from wettest pens including fountain and roll pens dry slower than in other journals

Overall, I can see why there are so many Moleskine fans. They make nice notebooks at reasonable prices that serve the masses. Crisp lines, rich color and smooth ivory paper are good things. Even thin paper can be a plus because it takes up less room than thicker paper, so the journals are thinner. If you use fine, ballpoint pens or fine point, water-based markers, the Moleskine notebook may work well for you. You can even write on both sides of the paper if the texture or showthrough doesn’t bother you.

You may be able to use some fountain and roller ball pens with the Moleskine paper, but these will show through to the back side of the paper and you may experience some bleedthrough with juicy writers. This will vary dramatically with different pen and ink choices, and will vary somewhat from notebook to notebook. Whether this is a problem or not is up to you. If you are a die-hard fountian pen user who won’t tolerate any showthrough or bleedthrough, you should consider another journal. If you use a fountain or roll pen, this journal may work for you if you are comfortable with showthrough and some minor bleedthrough now and then.

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For those of you who have been waiting for the Ciak Squared Journal to be released in the US, the wait is over!  I just listed three at www.journalingarts.com. The squared Ciak Notebook shares all of the same great features as the ruled Ciak Notebooks only the paper is gridded, 6 squares per inch. This is a medium sized notebook that measures approximately 5″ x 6¾” and ¾” thick. The soft cover and thick, elastic strap is a nice change from the Moleskine notebooks and is worth a try if you seek a gridded journal that is stylish and fountain pen worthy.

The Ciak Squared Journal has heavy, acid-free paper that is pen friendly. The grid measures 6 squares per inch

The Ciak Squared Journal has heavy, acid-free paper that is pen friendly. The grid measures 6 squares per inch.

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