With so much work happening on computers people have less need for desk pads… but we still love them! These large paper pads are simply the best for quick notes, writing down a phone number, or scribbling ideas while on a conference call.
Large desk pads that use top quality paper are hard to find these days, but they still exist. After doing a lot of research and more than a bit of testing, here are our favorites.
What We Mean By A Desk Pad
A desk pad, sometimes known as a blotter, is a large paper pad that is kept on your desktop and often used as a desk surface. With the growth of computers this space is normally reserved for a laptop or keyboard so desk pads aren’t used as much (they can interrupt your ergonomics) but they are still pretty great to have around if you are a notetaker or scribbler.
Many desk pads are really just desk coverings, often made of leather. These protect your desk and are often more comfortable to have on your desk’s surface than wood, plastic, or — worst of all — glass. We won’t be talking about desk pads like this but rather paper ones that you can write on and easily replace.
Midori MD Paper Cotton Paper Pad
This Cotton Paper Pad is basically a stripped-down notebook that works great as a smaller desk pad. Sold in A4 and A5 sizes, it’s not huge, but it has Midori’s fantastic cotton paper, which is fast drying and offers nice feedback.
The Paper Pad isn’t sold as a notebook because its sheets are glued together on two sides. The glue is lightly applied so you can easily pull off the top page if you are done with it, or you can turn the glue into a binding by opening up the top or side (making for a vertical or horizontal pad). The Cotton Paper Pad has no front cover, but does have a strong, paper board back cover.
In a thoughtful move, one cover of the notebook is angled so it’s easily to flip through the pages and find the page you need.
The pad has 90 sheets and is sold in blank paper, like a true desk pad.
Rhodia No38 A3+
This huge notebook is surprisingly affordable at under $20, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in quality. At a monster 16.5″ x 12.5″ it offers the most value of any notebook in this list. The paper is 80 sheets of standard Rhodia (superfine vellum paper at 80gsm), which is to say super smooth, super consistent, very reliable, but not very quick drying. Rhodia paper is loved by fountain pen users the world around, but isn’t the best for the left-handed as the paper is prone to smearing with almost all fountain pen inks.
This notebook is sold in the dot grid, known as the DotPad, and standard grid paper.
This is Rhodia’s largest notebook.
Baron Fig Master Mind Desk Pad
The Mastermind Desk Pad is Baron Fig’s largest paper product at 12″ x 8″ if you buy the standard size, though it’s also sold in a 6″ x 8″ half size. This is a skinny desk pad that offers very little interruption between the desk and the paper, so you only get 35 sheets per pad. Each purchase includes two pads, so you get 70 sheets in total for $15.
Baron Fig doesn’t talk much about their paper, but it’s a nice weight, about 85 gsm, with high absorbency, quick drying, and a little texture. The paper isn’t as smooth a Rhodia’s and isn’t as textured as the MD Cotton, though it feels more like the Midori MD Cotton than it does most other papers.
The Master Mind is a skinny, easy to use pad that hold up well and has a glued binding that both holds up well over time and has easy tear-away sheets. Like the Midori pad, the Mastermind has a back cover (cardstock in this case), but no front cover.
The Lost Art Of Desk Pads
And that’s it for now! Desk pads aren’t as popular as they once were and the selection of recommendable desk pads isn’t large. If you don’t care as much about paper quality than you can still find paper-with-leather desk pads or huge calendar style desk pads at any office superstore, but those aren’t typically what Unsharpen.com readers are searching for.