I have been using the Levenger Circa notebook system for well over a decade. In fact, I’ve been a very happy Levenger customer and regular consumer of their products for about twenty-two years now.
It’s actually quite hard to write about something you have used for a very long time. Mainly, because it becomes a part of your life and who you are to the point you are practically unaware of it — it’s just there. This is what the Levenger Circa has become to me.
Don’t get me wrong, a bound paper notebook is good for many things. I have way more than my fair share of them. Some I use daily. They have their place and job to do.
But, for many things, you need flexibility in the grandest sense of the word. You need the freedom of being able to re-arrange pages at will. You may have need to mix different paper types and styles. Maybe you need to mix 5×8 with some 3×5 cards with some 8.5×11. Or, perhaps annotated ruled pages, followed by a blank one, followed by two gridded pages, followed then by a zipper pouch for miscellaneous scraps. There are those times when you’d like to print off a report, punch some holes into it, and then put it into a notebook with some related handwritten notes. When such flexibility is needed, I reach for my Circa instinctively. I know a project has become a Project — one that really matters — when it has a Circa to live in.
The options go well beyond just what’s on the inside. There are covers made of high quality luxurious leathers. There are some made of high quality imitation leather. There are some plain colored ones and translucent plastic ones allowing your own work to shine through. There are folio style covers and covers designed to hold your iPad as well as some paper. Not to mention the variety of sizes — from US Letter sized on down. And, of course, you can always get some Circa disks and a punch separately and make your own.
There are other similar notebook systems on the market. The idea of using disks as binding has been around for a long time. Some of these are less expensive in some respects, but also of lower quality and without a company willing to stand behind the product. This is where, in my mind, Levenger beats them all.
Across the board, the quality and sheer number of options available in the Levenger Circa line is what truly sets this brand of stationary apart. I find the shape of their disks easier to get pages in and out of and, at the same time, better at holding the pages in. The quality of paper was always good but seems to have taken a giant leap forward in recent years. It’s even more fountain pen friendly than it has been in the past.
Levenger makes it super easy to see if the Circa System is the right fit for your needs. They offer the Circa Simply Irresistible Sampling Kit which not only comes with a nice sample of various Circa pages and sizes, but that also comes with a gift card equal to the price of purchase. Therefore, trying it out is effectively free. Another option: if you live near Boston, Chicago, or Washington D.C. you can stop by a Levenger retail store and build a free custom Circa notebook with the help of their knowledgable staff.
Of course, I would be remiss if I did not mention Levenger’s customer service. This is among the main reasons I have been a customer for so long. The very few times I have had a problem or have been anything less than completely satisfied, they have never failed to go to every end to “make it right”. Over my twenty-two year history as a customer, I’ve had occasion to interact with dozens of employees from founder Steve Leveen on down. Every single person has been open and friendly — they genuinely care about what they do. There are few companies I feel meet these same high standards.
So, not only do I encourage you to give the Circa Notebook a try, while you are there take a look around. Levenger makes a whole catalog of tools for writers and readers at every price point. I’m sure that they make something for you.