It was August 2017 and I was on a quest to find my next bullet journal notebook. I had a pile of 30 journals to choose from. And no matter how much I loved some of the other journals, I kept coming back to Tekukor. It was my #1 pick back then and now, two years later (and the journal pile has grown to 50+ options) but Tekukor is still my #1 pick. I’m just about to begin my fourth Tekukor and I’m so excited that this amazing notebook now comes in a variety of cover options – not just black anymore.
I’m writing this updated review because I want to share more details along with some of my experiences in using Tekukor for the past two years.
What I love about Tekukor Notebooks
In my original review I wrote about the 3 bookmarks, the back document pocket, the extra wide elastic closure (still my favorite feature!), and the high quality of the paper. There’s just the right level of coating on the paper so the writing experience is nice (smooth and friction-free) and I never have a problem with my normal writing pens bleeding through the page. Ghosting is minimal and the page count (192 pages) is perfect.
And now we have six cover colors to pick from – black, white, red, blue, teal, purple. Plus, there are two sizes to pick from – A5 and A6. I’m currently using an A6 because I like the small size and it’s working out perfectly for this hectic time of my life. My A5 Tekukor stays at home as my long-term collections journal where I keep things like my Book Tracker, weigh-in chart, debt pay-off tracker, birthday lists, and some brain storm pages for my business. The construction of the journals is excellent and even though I am pretty tough on them, they hold up beautifully.
But when you take all those things into consideration… and then look at the price. Whoa! You can’t beat this notebook!
Tekukor Dotted Notebook Features & Specs
As I mentioned above, this notebook comes in two sizes – true A5 at 8.27″ x 5.83″ (210mm x 145mm) and also true A6 at 4.13″ x 5.83″ (105mm x 148mm). The A6 size appears to be out of stock on Amazon right now, but I’ll keep you posted when I see it come back.
Why do I make such a big deal about “true A5″ – because there are so many notebook makers who use these terms when their notebooks aren’t really that size. A5 and A6 are actual paper sizes set forth by ISO (International Standards Organization). Which means you can’t have a notebook the size of a Moleskine (only 5.11” wide) and call it A5. I mean… I guess you can do whatever you want, but you should know that you’re going to be called out by the Stationery Nerd paper size police, right?
Both the A5 and A6 notebook we have 192 numbered pages with 100gsm acid-free paper – they call it light ivory, but I think it leans more toward white than ivory. Both have 5mm dot grid pages – A5 has 27×39 dots and A6 has 20×28 dots. Speaking of dots – they are a medium grey so they stand out enough from the page that they’re easy to see, but not so bold that they distract from the writing you need to add on top of them. The margin along the edges of the page are even and slim throughout the entire book (no crooked or uneven printing here!).
The binding is sewn and the notebook lies flat. The only special page is the inside front cover where you can add your contact information. Otherwise, the journal goes straight into the dotted page – no index or pen test pages (which is fine with me since I don’t use either of those for my journaling).
Tekukor has new cover colors!
I’m probably more excited about this than a girl should be … but c’mon! who doesn’t love color! After going through so many black covered Tekukors I’m excited to jump into a color. I bought white. Mmm… is that actually a color or is that an absence of a color? #NerdyQuestions
The white notebook comes with a white wide elastic closure and three bookmarks – white, yellow and black. The fabric gusset on the back pocket matches the cover color – white. The other journal colors also have matching bookmarks and gusset colors:
- Purple – yellow, white, and purple bookmarks
- Aqua – yellow, white, and aqua bookmarks
- Blue – yellow, white, and blue bookmarks
- Burgundy – yellow, white, and burgundy bookmarks
- White – yellow, white, and black bookmarks
- Black – red, white, and black bookmarks
As I said, I’m about to begin my fourth Tekukor bullet journal. I guess technically this will be my fifth if you count the A6 that I use as a swatch book. And you know me… I’m not gentle with my journals. These are not precious possessioins that are protected or handled with kid gloves. My notebook gets thrown into the bottom of my tote bag or dragged to the beach or pulled out during a shopping trip. I literally open and close my journal dozens of times during the day – and I seem to have a habit of always adding the elastic back around the journal, even if I’m just going to set it aside for a few minutes. (That’s probably because loose elastic attracts the kitties who think it’s a toy.)
And through all that abuse and heavy use… none of my Tekukor journals have broken down or fallen apart. They stand up to the Pam Test.
Pen Test & Paper Quality
So let’s talk about the paper quality and how it performed under my pen testing. You know how much I dislike ghosting and expect the paper in my notebooks to perform under whatever conditions I give it. I am also not one to add a lot of artwork, drawing, or heavy ink to my pages. If I add artwork, it’s usually in the form of scrapbook paper or journaling cards glued to the page to add a splash of color.
The coating on this paper gives me a smooth writing experience and prevents inks from bleeding through. The dots are medium grey and the paper is pretty close to white. In fact, when I use my white-out on the page, it just blend in with the color.
I typically use a pretty thin line pen – I love my Pilot Hi-Tec-C Maica .4mm pens! I’m on a bit of a fountain pen kick lately but I usually choose EF or F nibs. Sometimes I’ll use a Sharpie Pen to draw lines. Why does this matter? Because when I talk about how the paper performs for me every day, I want to make sure you know which pens I’m using. When I say that Tekukor has minimal ghosting, it’s with these types of pens in mind.
Yes there is a bit of ghosting, but not enough to make me hate this journal. I mean… how many times have I already said that I love this journal? If I were to choose a journal with heavier paper I would have to sacrifice the number of pages in the notebook – 192 is just right for me! Or I would have to sacrifice the compact size of the notebook if the paper was thicker with the same number of pages. So I’m happy with this balance of paper weight, page count, and notebook size – and the feel of it in my hand.
Other Tekukor Notebooks
Besides this 100gsm version of Tekukor, there are a couple other versions you should know about. Full reviews are coming soon… but here’s a teaser.
Tekukor B6 Tomoe River Notebook – At the end of last year I bought this new B6 version of Tekukor and moved in immediately. For as much as I dislike ghosting, I somehow tolerate it (and embrace it???) when it comes to Tomoe River Paper. The paper takes watercolor like it’s nobody’s business! Fountain pen ink shades and shimmers beautifully. The paper gets crinkly and makes me want to turn the pages just so I can hear that glorious sound. And just like the 100gsm notebook, it comes with an extra wide elastic closure and all the bookmarks you’d ever want. I’m not using this one as my everyday bullet journal anymore (I moved into the A6 instead) but I’m using it to write out books of the Bible (I’m working on Proverbs right now).
Tekukor 160gsm Dotted Notebook – And just like that Tekukor has jumped into the 160gsm arena and they are dominating the market! With three cover options – all in a beautiful linen and gold embossed emblem on the front – the notebook is a joy to hold in my hand. The paper performs better than the others in it’s class (yes, better than Archer & Olive) and has more pages than others (192 pages). This notebook is amazing. I’m working on a review – it’s coming soon!
Pros & Cons of Tekukor Dotted Notebook
- Cover colors – I’m so happy about these new color options! Gidddy, actually.
- I love the paper! At 100gsm, it’s the perfect weight for this size notebook of 192 pages.
- The construction of this notebook is great and holds up to my rough treatment.
- If you want to use more heavy handed coloring or artwork, you’ll need a notebook with heavier paper to prevent ghosting. But for normal writing, it’s just fine.
Even though I’ve tested some pretty amazing notebooks over the past two years, I keep coming back to Tekukor. It’s still my favorite and the one I recommend to everyone who is looking for a new journal option. And now that they’ve added the 160gsm cloth cover notebooks and also the B6 Tomoe River notebook… this brand is growing into the best all-around notebook company.
|Notebook Brand||Tekukor 100gsm|
|Model / Description||Dotted Notebook|
|Hardcover | Softcover||Hardcover|
|Cover Options||leatherette | 6 colors|
|Sizes Available||A5 | 148 x 210 mm | 5.8" x 8.3"|
|Binding Type||sewn binding|
|Paper Color||light cream / white|
|Dots | Lines | Grid | Blank||dots|
|Grid or Line Spacing||5mm|
|Grid Count||39 x 27|
|Number of pages||192|
|Are pages numbered?||yes|
|Bookmarks||3 | satin ribbon|
|Elastic Closure||yes | extra wide elastic closure|
|Additional Features||bookmarks and pocket gusset matches cover color|
Journal & Notebook Review Rating Scale
Yes, I know that review up there is super long! You know me... I'm long winded and I think you might want to know every single teeny tiny thing about this product. Sometimes you just need to facts summarized in an easy chart. That's what this part is. Below you'll see my score for this notebook. I've based my score on the following criteria. Open each toggle box below to read more about the scoring system I use.
Notebook Features & Specs
Evaluates the available features of the line of notebooks including special pages included (contact page, index pages, pen tests, perforated pages); special features (bookmarks, back pocket); and additional features (special elastic closure, stickers, tools, pen loop).
- 20 points • PLAIN JANE - notebook includes paper (and probably a cover) but that’s about it
- 40 points • PURELY BASIC - notebook includes one or two features but not anything outstanding
- 60 points • JUST AVERAGE - notebook includes some of the typical features but is missing some
- 80 points • FULLY LOADED - notebook includes all the typical features you’d expect in a notebook
- 100 points • LUXURY - notebook includes every feature you can imagine plus more
Notebook Construction & Durability
Evaluates the overall construction and build of the notebook or journal. Factors considered are binding and lay-flat design; cover durability; bookmark and back pocket stability; paper performance; and the overall feel of quality.
- 20 points • VERY POOR - notebook is not recommended due to poor construction, performance, and stability
- 40 points • BELOW AVERAGE - notebook shows poor construction and has many areas that need improvement
- 60 points • JUST AVERAGE - notebook shows an expected level of construction and adequate performance or durability
- 80 points • ABOVE AVERAGE - notebook shows good construction and is durable in all areas
- 100 points • LUXURY - notebook shows superior quality in construction and durability; feel luxurious
GHOSTING | SHOW-THROUGH | SHADOWING
Ghosting is when your pen strokes show through on the backside of your page and you can clearly see what you’ve written or drawn on the previous page. The combination of paper, ink wetness, and pen nib style contribute to ghosting or show-through.
- 20 points • EXTREME GHOSTING - see-through is so bad that you can’t write on the back of the page
- 40 points • MAJOR GHOSTING - significant ghosting making it difficult to write on the back of the page
- 60 points • MODERATE GHOSTING - some ghosting is visible but writing over it is acceptable for some
- 80 points • SLIGHT GHOSTING - barely visible ghosting and only with wet or heavy inks
- 100 points • NO GHOSTING - no visible ghosting at all
BLEEDING | BLEED-THROUGH
Bleeding is when ink penetrates the fibers of the paper and soaks through to the other side of the page. The combination of paper, ink wetness, and pen nib style contribute to bleed-through.
- 20 points • EXTREME BLEEDING - ink bleeds through the page and soaks into the following page of the journal
- 40 points • MAJOR BLEEDING - significant bleeding making it difficult to write on the back of the page
- 60 points • MODERATE BLEEDING - some bleeding of full words or extra wet ink pen strokes
- 80 points • SLIGHT BLEEDING - minor bleeding when a pen is left on the page for too long or at the end of a line but not visible during normal writing strokes
- 100 points • NO BLEEDING - no bleeding at all
FEATHERING | CAPILLARY ACTION
Feathering is when the ink penetrates the fibers of the paper and spreads outward from the line just written. The feathering happens when ink from your pen is pulled into an absorbent paper via capillary action. Typically seen with uncoated or low-quality paper (i.e. newsprint or cheap school notebook paper) combined with wet ink or broad nib styles.
- 20 points • EXTREME FEATHERING - the paper is so porous that ANY ink type feathers with every pen stroke. This is probably a paper towel or newsprint.
- 40 points • MAJOR FEATHERING - any WET ink shows significant feathering with every pen stroke
- 60 points • MODERATE FEATHERING - certain ink types show feathering but it’s not overly bothersome
- 80 points • SLIGHT FEATHERING - if you look closely you’ll see some periodic and insignificant feathering
- 100 points • NO FEATHERING - no feathering at all