Paper World


Better graph paper

Anyone doing technical or design work has burned through reams of graph paper. I’m a designer, and I use Whitelines to do technical drawings in accurate scale, which are then turned into 3-D models and die tooling diagrams. Whitelines is the best graph paper I have ever worked with.

The concept is simple and powerful. Ordinary graph paper is paper with a graph of lines printed on it in a light color, often blue or gray. Whitelines is paper with a very light gray grid of squares printed on it. The graph is unprinted, hence, white lines.

This is genius. Pen strokes, and even pencil, are startlingly clear against the background. The distracting visual noise of a printed graph is gone entirely, while retaining the precision and ability to see scale, which is graph paper’s reason for being.

I’ve been using Whitelines extensively for the past few months, mostly for technical drafting on the MakerBeam project, an open source metal building kit like Meccano for the Arduino set. The grid is 0.5 centimeter pitch, perfect for working on a metric standard. With ordinary graph paper, pencil lines are close in color weight to the lines themselves. When scanning pencil marks on ordinary graph paper, the pencil lines often vanish completely. With Whitelines, I can scan a pencil sketch, if I’m satisfied with it, without having to go back over it with pen.

Available in A4, A5 and pocket sizes, as tablets, spiral bound, perfect and hardbound, both lined and graph. Better graph paper makes better drawings, and this is genuinely better graph paper.

-- Sam Putman 11/2/18

(This is a Cool Tools Favorite from 2009 — editors)

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