Updated: Oct 11, 2020
I’m pretty sure you’ve already heard about this brand. Archer & Olive notebooks are becoming a bullet journal favorite because of their great quality paper and style. Unfortunately, they're not among the cheapest notebooks on the market.
Are you still wondering if they worth the money? Let's try to figure it out together!
First thing first: I received this notebook as a gift from Archer & Olive. It came from the US and I had to pay just the customs fees in order to collect it in Italy. I’m saying this because I want you to know that this post is not sponsored by A&O and that I won’t get any compensation, nor for this post neither if you purchase this notebook through the links down here.
Did you know that Archer and Olive are actually two cats? You can meet them here, together with the powerful story of the business owner.
Before to start sharing my opinions about the notebook, let’s talk about its features and specs.
I think my notebook is one of the best-selling among all the A&O notebooks. As you can see it's the black one with a crescent moon and four stars stamped in a gold foil.
My notebook measures 14.2 cm x 20.9 cm (5.75″ x 8.25″) and so few millimeters smaller than the classical A5 size. It has 192 pages: I chose this model because I’m not used to bringing my BuJo with me inside my purse, very much aware that neither its weight nor its thickness would have been a problem. Anyway, the standard version has actually 160 pages.
A&O says about this notebook: “No ghosting or bleeding. Perfect for markers, fountain pens, and even paint."
To prove this, I tested out lots of different pens, markers, and even watercolors and acrylics. But let's first have a closer look at the notebook itself and its features.
DETAILS AND IMPRESSIONS
Packaging: 100% eco-friendly, this notebook comes into a lovely decorated box. The first impression is one of a great attention to details although it has a very clean feel with its elegant design. The very same feeling when looking inside the journal and you find two ribbons as bookmarks, one of which has a signature charm.
Cover: the cover is hard. One of the main reasons I love this notebook is its cover. 100% vegan, super elegant, linen cover. The proof we don’t need to abuse animals to have a great product.
First page: an introduction page where we can write our name, contact details, or anything else we'd like. Very useful if it happens we lose our notebook - I don't even want to think about it.
Pages: 192 ultra-thick pages are perfect for those who like to use watercolors, inks, or acrylics (see the tests down the page). Moreover, they lay perfectly flat when opened, and it’s a very nice feature if we are used to writing a lot or decorating our notebook with lots of details.
Paper: it's smooth and crisp white, so maybe it’s not the perfect one if we’re searching for a ‘vintage effect’.
Dots: each page has a grid of 27x39 dots, they are 0.5 mm squared. In my opinion, they're too dark. Don't get me wrong, they're just well visible. It's a whim of mine: I love grids only when they are barely hinted.
Pen loop: it can be very useful, especially if we have one beloved pen we only use for our notebook and we don’t want to let it out of our sight.
The back pocket: in my opinion, it is essential. I live surrounded by sticky notes and mementos. For my needs, this pocket is a BuJo must-have.
Index and Page Numbers: there's no index page nor page numbers. I'm sorry. I know a lot of you guys go literally mad for such features, but the A&O notebooks haven't got any of them. In my opinion, this is not a big deal: no page numbers = more versatility.
Test page: something I would have loved to have. Unfortunately, there aren't any dedicated pages for swatches or pen tests. Anyway, considering that my notebook has 192 pages, it can be a minor problem.
Elastic loop closure: yep, there's one and it seems to be quite strong. I'll be able to say something more in a couple of months.
A&O Ghosting and Bleeding Test
I tested out a bunch of media among pens, markers, highlighters, watercolors, and even acrylics on these A&O ultra-thick pages. Here the results:
As you can see, this paper is excellent with fine liners, ballpoint, and gel pens.
Some of the pens I used in this test and that I highly recommend:
Markers and Highlighters:
The performance of this paper with markers is extraordinary, considering that Karin Brushmarkers PRO are the juiciest markers I've ever had. Unfortunately, and it wasn't a surprise, I found that Sharpie Markers (alcohol-based) bled through the page. I still have to find the right paper for them!
Some of the markers I used in this test and that I love to use in my letterings:
Watercolors and Acrylics:
I have to admit I was pretty skeptical about the watercolor and acrylic tests. I was almost shocked to realize that.. there was NO bleeding at all.
Here some of the watercolors I love the most. Brillanza Colours is a small Italian business, you won't find them on Amazon, but they sell their amazing handmade watercolors on Etsy.
This paper is excellent, I haven't experienced either one so far. Since paper thickness plays a big role in ghosting, these 160 gsm pages play a fundamental role. Since it has no amount of ghosting, writing on both sides of a page is not a problem at all, and I'm very happy about this!
I'm not a big fan of "PROS and CONS", just because sometimes my pros are your cons and vice-versa. What I'm going to do now is just summarize the main features of this notebook:
no ghosting or bleeding with the most used pens, markers, and watercolors
100% eco-friendly and vegan
pure white paper
no page numbers, no index
no pages for pen test and swatches
Keeping in mind the price (36$), and summing up all these characteristics, I can say I highly recommend this notebook, especially if you love to decorate your BuJo using markers and watercolors, without sacrificing the back of each page.
I hope some of you may find this review useful. Let me know if you think this notebook could be your next one!
Have a great day,
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Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.