Nuuna notebooks

Nuuna notebooks are high-quality notebooks made in Germany by brandbook. They try to compete with the notebooks produced in China while keeping the price reasonable. They are a popular option for bullet journaling and mostly come with dotted paper. They offer different cover materials and styles as well as many designs.

While they are more expensive than most notebooks let’s see why and if it’s worth it…

First impression

When I ordered the Nuuna notebook, I wasn’t sure I would actually like it. But when I opened the package my only word was “Wow !”. This notebook just shouts: “I’m gorgeous” to your face. The pictures on the official website are not very representative to the quality of the notebooks so I added my own pictures in the review below.

Size

I like the size of the small one for bullet journals because most small notebooks are too narrow to my taste, but Nuuna notebooks are a little bit wider. The same can be said about the large version, however I find it big to carry while travelling and use it for writing my dreams, recipes, songs…

Below you can see a comparison with Moleskine and Leuchtturm1917 notebooks. Some values may vary depending on models:

ModelPagesWidthHeightThick.Weight
Nuuna L Light176220mm165mm16mm500g
Nuuna L256220mm165mm21mm600g
Moleskine L240210mm130mm?249g
Moleskine XL192250mm190mm?445g
Leuchtturm1917249210mm145mm17mm420g
Nuuna S176150mm108mm16mm200g
Moleskine S192140mm090mm?118g
The Nuuna S and L (top and bottom) VS moleskine notebook (in the middle)

Features

The Nuuna notebook lays flat on the table. No surprises for this price range. No elastic, and for a good reason: you don’t need one. It stays closed without it. Minimalist me says “yes”! No pen holder either. Yay!

The new models now all have page numbers, but you may order an old batch and get one without them. That was the case for the “Milky Way” I ordered. I sort of like it without page number because you can reverse the notebook for dual-use and you don’t have an odd reversed number on top.

No fancy feature in those notebooks and as a minimalist, that’s a good point! No index, future log, text, strange logo here and there, elastic, pen holder… I’m free to customize the way I want it depending on what I’m going to do with it. The first and last pages are black, which is really neat. You can play around with white or colored pen and get some nice introduction to your journal. I’m not sure it’s black in every versions but the three I have are.

The cover

Nuuna notebooks come in different cover types.

Smooth bonded leather cover

The soft cover on the milky way model, which is smooth bonded leather, feels really nice and is clearly high quality. What looks gray on the pictures is actually shinny silver, and gives a very nice effect with the black. The repeated pattern on the sides makes the whole things look very clean and finished.

The Nuuna “Milky Way” notebook, Small (S).

I’m not a big fan of the “Golden Rain” version that I ordered for a friend. The touch is different, and the design is less impressive, but she seems to like it.

Jean label soft cover

The Surfac model, which is jean-label material with metallic hot foil embossing, is absolutely gorgeous. The reflection on the metallic part contrast with the jean-label material and give it a very classy look. I got a free page marker with it, with a calendar on it, which is something I actually wished for. Lucky day!

The Nuuna “Surfac” notebook, Large Light (L Light).

Other covers

They also offer artificial fur, buckram, linen, metallic artificial leather and cardboard covers. Some of them are hardcovers.

The paper

To understand this section you will need to know what’s the difference between ink feathering, bleeding and ghosting.

The 120g paper is quite white compared to other famous alternatives. It’s a plus if you’re looking to get the “true colors” of your pens. Bleeding and ghosting are minimal. I would not use this paper for intensive watercolor, though.

I’m waiting a reply about the chemicals they use for the paper coating. They told me they were trying to keep them to the minimum. I also asked them if they changed the paper coating at one point since 2016.

The dotted grid

The grid is 4 dots per centimeter on the small version, which makes a dot every 2.5mm. This is different than most notebook and I really like it. This is actually my favorite feature. The color of the grid is light and once the page is covered with text you tend to forget about the dots. Some models also come with blank paper so be careful when you order. It’s worth mentionning the dots are perfectly aligned and centered, which is not the case even in some expensive notebooks out there… If you like to make double-pages layout like I do, this matters a lot!

The large version is unusual too and has 2.83 dots per centimeter, so 1 dot every 3.5mm. I also like it better than the 5mm usual spacing.

The Nuuna notebook grid on Large model

Tip: you can print a 4 or 2.8 dots per centimeter grid and try it out before buying anything. You can use printablepaper.net to find the grid you want.

Nuuna’s paper VS LT VS Moleskine

Below a quick comparison of the Nuuna’s paper with Moleskine and Leuchtturm1917:

ModelDot space (mm)Paper weight (gsm)
Nuuna S2.5120
Nuuna L Light3.5120
Nuuna L3.5120
Moleskine L5.070
Moleskine XL5.070
Leuchtturm19175.080

Pens test

Most of them I’ve tested gave very satisfying results. Here is a picture with annotations to see which pen bleeds or have too much ghosting:

The Nuuna notebook : pen test — front & back

Most pens I’ve used didn’t bleed at all. Stabilo highlighter does have a tendency to bleed very easily if you stay more than a short moment on the paper.

The ghosting is very minimal, and I’m very happy with it. Nothing compared to my old Moleskine. I’ve used many different pens, and all of them were fine. I read a 2016 review where it was said that both the ghosting and bleeding were horrible. I can only imagine they change the paper, and I let you see by yourself on the pen test above. However, I did notice some ghosting when using some colors with brushes.

I didn’t notice any feathering with any pens. I’ve read it happens with some fountain pen or some inks.

My favorites Pen on the Nuuna notebook:

  • Tombow fudenosuke hard: my number one. It could bleed if your are slow but in practice it never happens to me. The soft version is also perfect.

  • ***Micron 0.05: that’s my favorite extra fine pen on this paper for now. All famous artist pen are fine, though. Micron gives the best black in my opinion but this is the kind of things you need to test by yourself. Micron PN also give excellent result for the thickness.

  • Kaweco Pearl Black Ink I only test two fountain pen inks but this one gives me a nice deep black and I’m 100% satisfied with it. Waterman intense black gives me a gray-blue black that I really don’t like.

  • Papermate Flair: while I don’t use this pen the resistance to ghosting and bleeding are excellent for this kind of pens!

  • Waterman Graduate, fountain pen, Fine Nib: it works well with the Kaweco Ink, no bleeding and it’s a relatively cheap fountain pen.

The pens I do not recommend

  • Pentel Touch: except the black one that works very well. Colors have a tendency to bleed if you’re not fast to write and the ghosting is really visible. The colors are very intense, though.

  • Indian Ink with a nib: it just doesn’t work. Horrible bleeding.

  • Any dry roller pens: they will make a mark on the other side of the paper.

  • Artline Calligraphy: it bleeds very easily, one of the worse pens I tried on the Nuuna.

  • Rotring Tikky Graphic 0.8: the smaller ones are fine but this one bleeds a lot.

  • Stabilo Highlighter: it’s fine if you are quick but any delay while highlighting will give you the worse bleeding. It even bled through the next page in my test. Only if you are confident in your abilities! Forget it if you wanted to fill your mandalas with it!

  • Pilot Frixion: I don’t know about this pen on other papers but on Nuuna it’s awful. The ink flow is not regular.

Be careful with fountain pens: mine doesn’t bleed, but I can tell it could be the case if you’re using a wet ink. I would try it first. Very sharp pens like rotring isograph 0.25 or below have a tendency to bite the paper, be gentle…

A non-vegan notebook

I usually don’t buy anything with leather unless there is no durable alternative that I consider valid. But because they recycle it, I made an exception, as the Nuuna was the only notebook I found with 4 dots per centimeter. While it may sound like a detail it really helps me keep a clean handwriting. The glue used in the notebook is gelatine-based and therefore the notebook is not vegan even if you go for the jean-label cover. But to be fair it’s the case for most of the notebooks and I actually found only one vegan dotted notebook that lays flat, and will review it soon.

Price

The price widely varies depending on the model and when you order. I bought a small one for $17, a smooth bonded leather directly from the website for around $21 and a large one for around $30. The shipping on Nuuna’s website can be quite high if you are not living in Germany.

Customer service

It took me a little bit of time to get an answer from the customer service, but my request was not exactly an urgent one. They gave me a very precise and honest answer about using non-vegan glue. The guy was super friendly and admitted being vegan himself and disappointed too!

Buy it

You can buy the Nuuna notebook directly from the official website.

Conclusion

Are Nuuna notebook worth the price? In my opinion, yes, they are. I truly love those notebooks, and they actually made me want to start this review section! The quality of the paper, the minimalist perfect finish, the unusual dot grid size and the nice variety of design are some of the reasons why they are my favorites notebooks. I only wish they had a vegan option…

I like

  • The overall quality and durability
  • The nice choice of high quality designs
  • The unusual dotted grid
  • The paper quality
  • The minimal features

I don’t like

  • The fish-based glue
  • The price, even if it’s worth it!

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