Mini Composition Showdown

A while back I reviewed the Dolgen Inspira mini composition book. I have quite a few books like this and instead of reviewing them all I decided to just compare them all together. So here’s the mini composition showdown. Mead vs. Inspira vs. Top Flight.

First off, covers and binding. All the covers are the standard composition marble pattern, with the Inspira being the most crowded followed by the Mead and then the Top Flight. The binding on the Top Flight is a sturdy fold stitch with eight signatures, while the Mead and Inspira are weak, simple glue binding. All notebooks lie flay fairly well, though the Top Flight takes more breaking in. Cover durability again goes to the Top Flight with the other two tied. The cover corners are straight on some of the Mead, clipped on the Top Flight, and rounded on the Inspira, meaning the Mead with the square corners will most likely tear up quickest. Other Mead notebooks have rounded corners.  If you want color the Mead and the Top Flight are the way to go.

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Their dimensions are about the same, with Inspira being slightly taller and Mead being slightly wider. The Mead and Top Flight both have eighty pages, while the thinner Inspira has sixty. The smoothest paper belongs to the Mead, the roughest to the Inspira, and the Top Flight is very akin to newsprint, unfortunately, not very high quality. All are not archival quality paper and fade rather quickly on the shelf, though they are bright white out of the package. None are very good at holding ink, but the Inspira is best without bleeding, followed by Mead and Top Flight.

What will really make or break these books, though, is their large price difference. The Inspira are three for one dollar (U.S.) the Top Flight are five for three dollars, and the Mead are one to two apiece.

So if you can organize all that and determine the best for you you’ll end up with a very nice pocket book. Each one is suited subtly to a different task so the main challenge is finding out what is best for you. They are certainly not the best memo books by any means, but they’ll certainly work, especially in a pinch.

Review – Dolgen Mini Composition Book

Okay, this is kind of a cheat. But little notebooks are art supplies to someone. Even with the small price, should you get these small Dolgen composition books? Are they worth it?

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These little books contain about 60 pages of narrow lined paper. The stock is thin, and bleeds easily, but it is still about the same as average copy paper. They’re about 3½ X 2¼ inches, so they fit nicely into a pocket. They aren’t that great for drawing, but they excel at little notes and ideas.

The binding is fairly poor. I get the impression that it will fall apart quickly, but not as quickly as it takes to finish the book.

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These things are small, easy to carry, and really handy. They’re great for jotting down notes and the like. While they obviously aren’t made for drawing, a quick sketch or two definitely won’t hurt them, one just has the lines to contend with. At the three for a dollar price I paid for them, they are superb little notebooks.

Review – Norcom Graph Composition Book

There are a lot of sketchbooks and various types of notebooks out there. But a composition book doesn’t seem to scream “art supply”. The binding is great but they’re obviously meant for writing and not drawing. Luckily (kinda) there are math classes in school as well that need notebooks. And this is one of them, the Norcom no. 76002 graph composition book.

The listed dimensions are nine and three quarters by seven and a half inches, with five squares to an inch. Each page has 49 by 36 squares so the given dimensions are mostly correct, but a little off. The book contains one hundred sheets, and some extra stuff on either inside cover.

The paper itself is thin, but not overly so. Pencil and ink can be seen through but not enough to cause trouble in perceiving or creating what is on the page. Ink from pens does not bleed through, but brush inks will, and if a pen is heavily applied over an area bleeding is a very likely occurrence.

The grid is helpful in the way grids are. It is printed light blue, and does not get in the way of writing, drawing, or graphing.

The spine however is poorly made. The string binding is loose and the pages are almost free to move around. While the pages seem sturdy the spine may need duct tape for prolonged use.

Graph paper is very useful and having it in an easily portable book with a “solid” binding is nice. The book is nice for what it is but there are many better (although more expensive) options out there.