Hard Work notebook review

Hundred Million Hard Work Notebook Review

29 October 2015 By ian

Hard Work notebook review

There’s no doubt about it: Hundred Million’s Hard Work Notebook is an unusual fellow. Born of a successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2014, the notebook is available direct from Hundred Million’s website and has many unusual features.

I bought this notebook with my own hard-earned cash but Hundred Million are very kindly offering a a brand new one to five lucky readers. Yes, five! Read on to find out how to enter.

Size: 207mm by 130mm portrait
Price: £9
Pages: 256
Cover: 2mm hardboard with fabric spine
Paper: made from stone (waterproof)
Ruling: isometric print overlaid with a golden ratio print, and grid (all in the same book)

Hard Work notebook ink tests

This is a heavy notebook. It’s got lots of pages and those pages are made from stone. (Specifically, calcium carbonate, which is more commonly found as chalk or limestone.) The stoniness of the paper has several consequences. It’s terrible with fountain pens. Don’t even try, it’s like blotting paper. It’s interesting with pencils and fine gel pens: press down at all and you make a groove in the paper. Fibre tipped pens and broader gel pens are the way to go. With the right kind of pen, the paper is fine. It’s a little less prone to tearing (but still does) and it’s waterproof. There’s no bleeding through to the other side.

Hard Work notebook not a lot of showthrough

The ruling on the pages is insane. Whether it’s insanely good or just insanely bad you’ll have to decide for yourself. The centre section has white lines on a blue background and this is quite quite sensible. The rest has an isometric ruling overlaid with the golden section. No doubt there are many that would find this useful. I’m not one of those people so I asked the Hundred Million folk what they were thinking:

The whole point of the Hard Work Book was to make something quite specific, rather than just put a nice cover on a normal notebook and have that be the end of the design . . . It was created for people working on website layouts, 3D diagrams/typography and doodles where proportion and clarity matter – like engineers or product designers or those creating typography.

Hard Work notebook insane ruling

There are white circles in the corners throughout the book, to write in page numbers. The notebook lays flat from front to back.

Hard Work notebook more sensible ruling

This is a notebook with a fairly specific set of uses. If you need a notebook for one of those uses the Hard Work is worth checking out. If you don’t, then this is an interesting notebook, a curiosity, but quite probably not something you’re going to much use from.

Hard Work notebook edge on


Waterproof paper
Sturdy construction
Pages lay flat
If you need isometric lines overlaid with the golden ratio, this is the notebook for you


If you don’t need isometric lines overlaid with the golden ratio, this is a very busy page layout
Need very careful pen selection
As heavy as a rock

Hard Work notebook cover

As you may have gathered, this isn’t a notebook that meets my needs at all. It’s interesting but I think it’s always going to have quite a limited market. While stone paper, as it exists now, is never going to appeal to a heavy fountain pen user, I think it would help broaden the market if Hundred Million release a version of their notebook with plain or grid paper throughout.

Would you like to try a Hundred Million Hard Work Notebook yourself? Leave a comment on this post to tell me what you consider to be hard work. Also tell me where you’re from. Because of the weight of them, I’m only going to send two internationally. The other three will go to readers in the UK. The giveaway closes at 9am GMT on Saturday 7th November. The winners will be picked randomly using random.org and announced on this site. You can only enter once.