Review: Panobook by Studio Neat

Review: Panobook by Studio Neat

I’m back with my review of another brainchild from Tom & Dan, the good guys at Studio Neat in Austin, TX. This time it’s the Panobook ($20), their latest Kickstarter success and the first notebook from SN.

The Panobook first caught my attention for its form factor — depending on how you’ve got it set up, it’s both taller than most notebooks in “portrait mode”, and its girth in landscape surely suggests the origin of “pano” prefix in its name.

In short, the Panobook is exactly the note pad you’d expect from Studio Neat, as it is both beautiful and functional. Let’s take them each in turn.

Hey There, Good Lookin’

First things first: according to the specs documented on Panobook’s insert, the front & back covers are Neenah LaCrema 617 Charcoal on 50 pt Black Chipboard. I’m no printer by trade, so I won’t confess to know much about what that paper description means, but I can tell you how it looks & feels: dang good.

The cover stock is smooth to the touch, like a soft leather. And it’s thick. You won’t worry about throwing Panobook in your backpack — it’ll be just fine.

The insert itself is a sort of minty green, replete with suggestions for how to use the dot grid paper (more on that in a moment), a type size reference to help with sketching layouts, and as I noted before, list of specifications for the notebook.

And lastly we have the dot grid itself. You get 50 sheets for a total of 100 pages, and at 71 in.² per page, you won’t be hurting for writing space. The grid paper itself reminds me a lot of my favorite bound journal/notebook, the Baron Fig Confidant.

If you feel like going full Mister Rogers with regard to the Panobook, check out this video Tom & Dan shot on their visits to The Odee Company, their printing & manufacturing partner in Dallas:

Making It Work

At first I didn’t really know where Panobook would fit into my workflow, but now that I’m using the Baron Fig Planner 2018 to capture my “Big 3” tasks for the day, Panobook has become the perfect “right hand man” next to the Logitech K780 on my desk. Here’s what I’m using it for:

  • Writing out checklist items for to-dos I need to finish in one sitting
  • As a tally sheet for recruiting calls & emails
  • For capturing new to-dos at meetings
  • While planning out schedules and timelines

And what’s more — I’m not even utilizing the neat little touches Studio Neat designed into each page:

  • Subtle corner guides for drawing three portrait-orientation rectangles or six smaller boxes (think storyboards or thumbnail sketches)
  • Notches at the midpoint of each side of the grid that allow you create four equal sections on the page

So I’m not going full tilt with all of Panobook’s design affordances (yet!), but I do think I’m going to grow into it. And when I’m done with this Panobook, I’ll store it safely in the included slipcover, make note of its lifespan, and move on to the next one. I’ll be happy to start a fresh Panobook in the future, and Studio Neat even offers an option for buying them in a bulk 3-pack or on a subscription basis.

Panobook in the Wild

As I was preparing to write this review, I thought it would be fun to scan Twitter for mentions of how folks are using Panobook now that it’s out. Here are some of my faves:

Putting This One on the Shelf

If you like nice things (who doesn’t?) and don’t mind paying for them, you’ll be happy with the Panobook. I’ve found it to be super versatile, and I look forward to seeing the next paper good designed by Studio Neat.

The kind folks at Studio Neat were gracious enough to provide me with a complimentary Panobook for the purposes of this honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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