Saturday, November 22, 2008

Review: Yellow Ciak Piccolo Journal

Ciak Piccolo

Ciak, which I have been incorrectly pronouncing as Sigh-Ack, (it's
Chack) has been a tough nut for me to crack. Pictured here, is a 9x13cm small (Piccolo) ivory lined Ciak on top of a small Pocket Moleskine.

I received 3 sample Ciaks directly from Italy to review; a small ivory lined, a medium plain ivory, and a large multi-colored.

For the record, the cream/ivory is the same to the best of my knowledge.

Ciak journals are handmade in Florence, Italy, under what seems to be the parent company of inTempo (so that makes them related to Mood & Cartesio) another site specifically dedicated to Ciak is found here

These are the specs I have been able to uncover:

Piccolo (small 9x13cm)

Ivory Lined: 110gr, gray ruling, 96 Sheets
Multi-Color: 90gr, gray ruling, 128 Sheets
Plain White: 110gr, 96 Sheets

Medio (medium 12x17cm)

Travel Journal: ivory paper, 110gm, gray ruling, 120 sheets
Layout: right page lined, left page blank

Ivory Lined Specs: 110gr, gray ruling, 120 Sheets
Multi-Color: 90gr, gray ruling, 144 Sheets
Ivory Squared: 110gr, gray ruling, 120 Sheets
Plain White: 110gr, 120 Sheets

Grande (large 15x21cm)

Ivory Lined Specs: 110gr, gray ruling, 120 Sheets
Multi-Color: 90gr, gray ruling, 120 Sheets
Plain White: 110gr, 120 Sheets

You will notice that there are no specs for the ivory unlined version, but I assure you, they do exist. To the best of my knowledge in speaking with the US importer, ( the plain ivory Ciak is not being sold/imported in the US. That's not to say that they couldn't possibly be special ordered, or that you couldn't maybe find them on Ebay.

The Journal Shop IS selling the plain cream versions in the UK.

Ciak Piccolo

The Ciak cover is recycled leather, rounded on the corners, and is secured by a horizontal elastic band that stays put in a little notched groove in the cover. The horizontal design allows you to secure a pen to the journal. Love that!

This journal has a ribbon bookmark, which sadly is not finished on the ends, and this poor guy frayed pretty quickly when I foolishly pulled on a loose string.

Ciak Piccolo

Inside the front cover there is a small indicator of the manufacturer, and on the opposing page, a few lines to perhaps write down your name and contact information.

Ciak Piccolo

The pages are called ivory, and to me, are a light cream. Very easy on the eyes. Ruling is light gray, and are 6mm in width. The page corners are squared.

The signatures are stitched, but in this small Ciak, take note of the position of the stitches. The bottom stitch should be lower than it is. More on that in a minute.

The book opens flat, but doesn't exactly lie flat on a flat surface due to the construction of the spine.

I primarily write on my knee, in an easy chair, or out on the porch. I am less concerned about a book that lies flat, than one that opens flat, but I can understand how that might be an issue for some people. All three sizes of the Ciaks were the same in this respect.

Ciak Piccolo

Showing the way the book opens flat, but is slightly hindered from laying flat due to the spine construction.

Ciak Piccolo

This is my problem with the stitching in this book. When one or both of the stitches are not properly positioned, the pages can lift up when turned from the bottom. This book only has two large stitches, where the other two Ciaks have more stitching and feel much more secure than this small version.

Ciak Piccolo

This is a smooth mid-weight paper with a slight tooth. (in a good way) It is not shiny.

With all fountain pens/inks tested, there was minimal feathering & very little bleed through. Of the markers tested, the Sharpies & Lumocolor bled, but that's been the case with everything I've tested them on.

Ciak Piccolo

Reverse of the page.

Ciak Piccolo

It even took a light watercolor wash with limited buckling.

In conclusion; I really like the Ciak design. There's something special about it that I just can't put my finger on. Maybe because it's hand made? I know that it feels very good in my hands, and as I hold it, it brings images to mind of sitting in an outdoor cafe somewhere in Europe, tea and pastry on the table, jotting down my plans for the day.

Of the three Ciaks, I probably liked this one the least only because I find it to be too small. I prefer a mid sized book, closer in size to a large Moleskine.

Where to find them in the US?

Kate's Paperie has ivory lined, small & medium, but colors are limited to orange & red.

Sam Flax has ivory lined Ciaks in all colors.

In the UK, The Journal Shop carries all things Ciak.

I'm pretty sure you can find the multi-colored Ciaks at Borders and Barnes & Noble.

I have also seen books that look like Ciak, like this lime green one and I wonder if they are made by Ciak because the specs are pretty much identical.

See a previous review of the Ciak on the Black Cover Blog

Stay tuned for reviews on the other two Ciak journals.


\\\MAK\\\ said...

I would love to see you make a review of the Piccadilly Plain Medium Notebook and see what you think. I'm sure you've heard of it by now with BlacCover's review, etc. Keep it up, love your reviews. And you've got nice photographs, quality equipment I assume?

Biffybeans said...

Thanks for the heads up on the Piccadilly. I will keep my eyes open for it.

Thanks for the complement on my reviews & pictures.

Quality photography equipment? Nah, it's a Canon Elph, SD1000 pocket digital. I think the trick is to one, take images outside or in as much available light as possible. Two, know what your camera can do, and three, have some kind of working knowledge of a photo editor like Photoshop. For this small Ciak, I had to take the pictures indoors, because it's too cold outside. I also used the photo editor in Picasa for this batch, and I think they came ok pretty decent. Thanks for your comments!

Speedmaster said...

Excellent review. And I especially like that first pen! ;-)

LizB said...

i'd love to hear your thoughts on the multicoloured pages in the other journal. How they look, How they work with the coloured inks.

Loving the site!

Biffybeans said...

Thanks Liz! Multi-Colored Ciak will be up next. Photos have been taken, I just need to write up the review.

The plain ivory medium Ciak still needs to be photographed, so that one might take a little longer.

Nrepose said...

Another great review! Do you think these notebooks are worth the price? They do seem to be very well made, but seem a little expensive compared to other notebooks. Keep up the great work!

Biffybeans said...

Thank you for the comments Nrepose! Since the Ciak's are handmade, I do feel they are worth the price. Me personally? I find them to be unique in their design, and reminiscent of times past. I can imagine myself traveling across Europe by train with this book propped on my knee, writing about my experiences...

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