I love Rhodia products, and I also love the dot grid format for writing, so I'm a bit puzzled about why it's taken me so long to try out one of these Rhodia dotPads. The Rhodia dotPad is, just like the classic Rhodia pad, a stapled paper pad with perforated pages. The difference is that instead of the traditional ruled grid, the dotPad's grid is marked with light dots - a much more unobtrusive alternative and a good middle ground between lined and unlined pages.
I chose the No. 12 (8.5 by 12 cm) size, a good compact size that could be slipped into a bag or pencil case, with a black cover, to contrast with my old Rhodia pad, which has an orange cover. Just like the traditional pad, the dotPad has a sturdy paper cover on the front and back. The back cover also includes a piece of stiff cardboard to provide a firm surface for writing, and the front cover is scored on the top to allow the cover to be easily bent over while writing - that kind of attention to detail always appeals to me. I have noticed that the black-coloured cover seems to show fingerprints more easily than does the orange-coloured cover, but that's a fairly minor issue. Some people might not like the bold branding on the front cover, but I actually like it and it does not bother me at all. I'm not really a fan of all the writing and the obvious barcode on the back cover, but I can certainly live with it.
|Rhodia dotPad front cover (left) and back cover (right).|
However, as great as all that is, the real fun starts when you open the cover and check out the paper inside! The photo below shows the dot grid of the Rhodia dotPad compared to the ruled grid of the traditional Rhodia pad. I've always enjoyed writing on grid paper, but the lines can be a bit intrusive, especially if you're using a finer-tipped pen or a pen that has a similar colour of ink to the lines of the grid. The dot grid is much more unobtrusive and gives the look of plain paper. I did have one slight disappointment with the dot grid in the Rhodia dotPad: the Rhodia website describes the dots as the same violet colour of the lines in the traditional pad, but to me they just look grey. I liked the violet colour so that is a bit disappointing, but a relatively minor issue. The dots are spaced 5 mm apart (the same as the lines in the traditional grid), which may be a bit narrow for some but is perfect for my small handwriting.
The paper in the dotPad is 80gsm, the same as the traditional Rhodia Pad, but different from the 90gsm paper of the Rhodia Webnotebook or the R by Rhodia premium pad. There is some showthrough with most pens on this paper, but it is insignificant in most cases except for the wettest-writing rollerballs. The only pens that bled through were the Bic Exact-tip Roller and the Sharpie Marker (which of course bleeds through everything). (If you want to see how different fountain pens and inks perform, check out the other reviews linked to below.) Feathering was also minimal, except for with the aforementioned Bic Roller. If you're going to be using very wet-writing or bold pens, I'd suggest one of the 90gsm options, but the dotPad is going to be a great choice for most pens. The paper is white, but not bright white, and very smooth. Because of how smooth it is, some inks may take longer to dry, so be cautious of that, but other than that this is beautiful paper to write on.
|Writing samples on the Rhodia dotPad, front (left) and back (right).|
Overall, the Rhodia dotPad is another great Rhodia product. I wish now that I had bought a larger-sized pad rather this one, but I'm still happy with my purchase. I'll probably end up using this pad for pen reviews once my current Rhodia pad is used up. I highly recommend this if you're looking for quality paper for writing, sketching, or, well, anything, really!
Related reviews: Rants of the Archer, Pencil Revolution, OfficeSupplyGeek, Ink Nouveau, Seize the Dave, Spiritual Evolution of the Bean, Pens and Pencils, The Leaky Pen, Neil Dixon, Life Imitates Doodles.