William Hannah button

William Hannah Notebook Review

11 May 2016 By ian

William Hannah review

I have been known to make some expensive notebook purchases in my time but even I was doubting the sanity of some of my stationery blogging colleagues when they were getting so excited about what seemed to be a simple leather notebook cover for £90 a pop. Then I was sent one to review and ended up buying it. (At a discount because it was a review sample but I would have paid full price and remortgaged the house if I’d had to.)

Let me try to explain why.

William Hannah with its box

I’ll start on the outside and work my way in.

William Hannah button

The cover is high quality Italian leather with stitching around the edge. The colour is deep and rich. (A range of other colours are available.) It’s unadorned except for “William Hannah, England” on the back and a simple WH etched steel stud on the font. This cover has prompted more comments and more jealousy from people who’ve seen it than any other stationery item I own (and that’s a lot). It’s simple and it’s simply beautiful.

William Hannah stamp

The cover is lined with Italian suede. Again, this is available in a range of colours and just screams quality. It’s stitched to the outer cover. My cover colour combo is whiskey and orange. This was what I was sent but you can pick the colours you would like. The fact that the sample I was sent just so happened to be the combination I would have picked really meant I had no choice but to buy it. I’m sure you understand.

William Hannah stitching

So far so good but it gets even better. The William Hannah notebook uses the Atoma/Arc ring system which means you can use a wide range of paper that’s been pre-punched to fit or you can buy a punch and so use any paper you like. (As long as it’s A5 or smaller. The notebook’s only available in A5 size. I’d like to see A6 and A4 one day.) The rings are made from steel and fixed to the cover with a metal rod. It’s solid and, at the risk of repeating myself, high quality. Each notebook is individually numbered with a code on the top ring.

William Hannah rings

The paper itself is great. It’s smooth white 100gsm (i.e. thick) paper. It will feather slightly with very wet fountain pens but deals well with everything else. It’s available in a wide variety of formats: grid, lined, plain, dot grid, week-to-page diary, weekly planner and to do list. That’s a good range and of course the cross compatibility of the system means you have an almost infinite choice of alternatives.

William Hannah ink test from

What you don’t get anywhere else, as far as I know, is such a wide choice of colours for the ink used for the printing: grey, black, navy, blue, orange, green, teal, purple, magenta or red. (Not available on the to do or diary-type pages.) This means you can match the paper to the notebook, or have different colours for different purposes, or just pick something that you like the look of. My review sample came with a few different examples but it was, of course, the orange dot grid that caught my eye.

William Hannah rings from the end

As long time readers will know, I am a huge fan of the Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter. I recently wrote about tweaking it with the Atoma/Arc system to make it into the perfect work setup for me. It remains pretty much perfect and the William Hannah notebook is nowhere near as convenient. I can put a pen, an iPad mini and a ruler in with the notebook in the Roterfaden and have a mobile office with me that I can carry about in one hand. With the William Hannah, I have to carry a pen and the iPad separately. It’s far less convenient yet that’s what I now find myself doing. The William Hannah notebook is just so beautiful and so classy I have some kind of irresistible inner need to use it as much as I possibly can.

William Hannah open from the front

This notebook ticks lots of boxes but it somehow is more than the sum of its parts. I realise as I write this that it sounds like an advert but, really, I love it so much it’s hard to avoid. It’s expensive but it ought to last a lifetime. I can’t recommend it enough.

You can find some more reviews of William Hannah notebooks on Pennaquod.
William Hannah handwritten review