I came across this workable alternative when I only after I bought the Word Cards for an entirely different purpose; originally I bought them because I was looking for a reasonably substantial slip of paper to wedge under the clip on a fountain pen to tell me what ink I was testing in it. This idea expanded from just writing the name/colour of the ink to doing a small swatch with a Q-Tip to make identification of the colour in the pen even easier.
It took a day or two for the penny to finally drop when I was staring aimlessly into space, I made the connexion. Essentially the Word Card is just a smaller version of the Col-o-ring Ink Testing Book; neither is an exact clone of the other but, aside from the obvious size difference (Muji 68 x 3 x 18mm vs. Col-o-ring 102 x 51 x 21mm) they do share a number of similarities.
Both use thicker paper/card stock (Muji c.100-120gsm – recycled vs. Col-o-ring 160gsm – bright white acid free), have stiff card covers and are bound with a hinged removable ring.
The stumbling block with the Col-o-ring is that outside of the USA they are not easy to come by and when you can find them, they are expensive, e.g. £14.50GBP in the UK versus $10.00USD in the USA.
Whereas the Muji Word Cards are available anywhere there is a Muji store and cost £0.95GBP/$0.99USD.
I tested the Muji Word Card using Diamine Oxford Blue (both swatch and text), and to my great surprize there was no bleed through or ghosting on the reverse side. All in all, the Word Card is a good substitute if you cannot get the Col-o-ring Ink Testing Book.
If you are certain that you want to create a swatch book of all your inks then Col-o-ring is the way to go; it’s bigger, uses heavier and better stock and will be far more durable. On the other hand if you are not certain but just want to test the idea then use the Muji Word Cards and if you do decide that you like the idea then upgrade to Col-o-ring.
Disclaimer: The Muji Word Cards were purchased with my own funds at retail price. The opinions expressed in this review are my own; and I am not connected with either the retailers or manufacturers in any way.
All prices correct at time of writing, 29th March ’20.