Whitelines describes their namesake graph paper notebooks and pads as the new generation of writing paper. While this seems overly dramatic, the idea behind their designs is quite novel. As Whitlines puts it, the idea is simple: dark lines distract, Whitelines don’t. Whereas traditional graph paper consists of white paper with colored – often blue – grid lines, Whitelines features light grey paper with white grid lines.

To be honest, I don’t recall ever having issue with my designs or diagrams not standing out well enough when drawn on regular graph paper. Even so, I decided to give Whitelines a try and bought my first notebook in early 2011. Whitelines’ marketing claims seemed convincing enough and the price tag reasonable enough, so I figured it was worth a shot. I bought another back in March 2012.

It’s too difficult to compare Whitelines paper to other quality notebooks like the Maker’s Notebook (available at the Maker Shed), square-lined Moleskines, and even Marble notebooks, so I won’t. There are just too many apples-vs-oranges differences to declare one style of notebook better than the other.

Both A4-sized notebooks I’ve used are square-lined with 2 squares per centimeter spacing. This comes out to about 5 squares per inch, which is what I prefer for most of my graph paper needs. One notebook is of the wire style, the other is hard wire, with the difference being more and non-perforated pages, a more robust wire binding, and hard front and back covers for the latter style. Ruled versions and several other binding styles are also available.

Does the Whitelines Paper Live up to the Hype?

Actually, I remember finding Whitelines a bit underwhelming, maybe even distracting at first, before I got used to it. Drawing with pencil does provide enough contrast for easy viewing, but I initially didn’t see the same degree of boldness as demonstrated in Whitelines’ advertisements and marketing materials. Blue and black ink and other colors stand out remarkably better, especially if you stray away from the rectilinear shapes I typically draw. Some types of drawings, such as circuit wiring diagrams, especially stand out on the paper.

Some users find the white lines to poorly contrast against the light grey paper, but I don’t seem to mind it. Over the months it seems that the paper has encouraged me to venture outside the lines at times I would otherwise have picked up a plain sketchpad. I have grown to greatly like Whitelines’ paper and grid style, although this could potentially stem from a subconscious inclination to like new and unusual things. I will say this – I have yet to be disappointed with my Whitelines notebooks.

If you’re the type of person that prefers to sketch with graph paper, you may want to give Whitelines a try. I went with the A4 size since this size is closest to US-letter size, but A5 or A6 are cheaper and thus more risk-free to start out with. (A-what now?)

I can’t be the only one particular about the type of notebooks I use – c’mon and share your favorites in a comment!

Stuart Deutsch is a tool enthusiast, critic, and collector, and writes his passion at ToolGuyd.