Ghosting, bleeding, and feathering sound singularly unappealing, no matter the context you hear these terms in. But for seasoned fountain pen users, these words invoke a special kind of hell, one that pushes the more finicky types to tear off paper in rage, crumpling it into a ball, and chucking it away. If you write with fountain pens, apart from the type of nib and ink you pick, you need to pay close attention to the quality of the paper you are using—unless these three elements are in sync with one another, you will end up with an eyesore, no matter how expensive the pen or ink you use.
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Bleeding is perhaps the most familiar consequence of writing with fountain pen on coarse paper. The ink smears on the page, percolating to the other side of the paper. It’s similar to ghosting, where you can see whatever you write on one side of the page on the reverse as well. Feathering is smudging of ink caused by the nib picking up fibre from the surface of the paper, making the writing blurry and indistinct, the letters wobbly and uneven. This is where expensive paper comes in.
From the high-end Smythson notebooks created in the UK to more mainline products like the Endless Recorder made with Tomoe River paper (one of the best of its kind to write on with ink), a plethora of options exist for stationery nerds. However, an unsung beauty in the Indian market is the German brand Leuchtturm (meaning “lighthouse”), first founded in 1917 and revived by the Stürken family in the 1960s, whose fourth generation runs the business to this day.
The most iconic among Leuchtturm’s products is the Leuchtturm1917 notebook, available in a range of attractive colours and price points, the cheapest being under a couple of thousand rupees, which is about three times less expensive than a Montblanc notebook and more suitable to the rough and tumble of everyday use. The grammage of the pages varies from 80-100 GSM, ensuring a smooth writing experience, especially with fountain pens. The notebooks—dotted, plain and ruled—are secured with a soft or a hard cover and an elastic band. There’s a pocket at the back to tuck in business cards and loose scraps of paper. Sturdy and functional, these may look deceptively ordinary. But true to its motto—“Denken mit der Hand” (“Thinking with your hand”)—Leuchtturm remains a classy brand, without being flashy.
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