How To Choose The Right “Companion Notebook”?

Bullet Journal - Blog

Today, I wanted to talk to you about how to choose the right notebook. Well, probably the most important key for me, when it comes to choosing a “life companion”,  is the quality of the paper, rather than the brand. It’s important to note, that Leuchtturm1917 still remains the most popular bullet journal today, obviously thanks to that bullets structure. However, these days you can buy notebooks from many other suppliers, that offer the dots design as well, so that Leuchtturm1917 is not your only option anymore.

Personally, I don’t like Leuchtturm1917 , because of their poor quality of paper, it’s extremely thin, only 70g/m2 paper, which is an awfully thin paper, that does not allow drawing or writing on both sides of the paper, without having it leaking to the other side. I absolutely hate it, when the writings leak-through! And considering, that today we’re almost always use oil-based ink pens to write in our notebooks, these types of pens (such as Sakura), always leak to the other side, unless it’s a 90g/m2 paper. The Rhodia is a very good 90g/m2 alternative from France, that stood the leak-through test bravely with nearly all my pens, while  Moleskin is by far the worst notebook (yes, despite the price and brand’s popularity!).

Product design - Meter
Leuchtturm1917 leak-through test… The ghosting is very visible.

And, although I’m absolutely in love with the dotted paper structure, lately I found myself switching over local “Oxford” notebooks, which have significantly thicker and higher quality paper, even though they offer only classical grid based design. You can also look on Amazon or eBay for more alternatives, all you  need to do, is pay attention to the quality of the paper, how thick it is (which determines grams per metre square, the more – the better), and whether the paper was bleached, polished or is it generic.

Another important point is the size. And yes, size matters. Most notebooks are offered in an A5 format (because it’s perhaps the most popular size ), which is exactly half of your A4 paper. This size is convenient to take with you, it’s very portable, yet offers enough space for all your notes, lists, plans and logs.

Traveler's Notebook - Notebook

I personally have both A4 and A5 notebooks. I find it when I want to plan something ahead, like making a business plan, or mapping out a project, A4 works better,  as it offers more space. Since I always make plenty of remarks, and I tend to write down every thought that comes into my head, while planning something. On the other hand, for my day-to-day notes, daily to-do-lists, lists of upcoming or completed tasks, A5 notebook works best, because I can take it with me, it doesn’t take up too much space, and I still have plenty of room for my ramblings.

Paper - Product design

Last year I also had a smaller notebook in A6 format, and I must say I totally hated it. It was way too small, so I had to always write my remarks in “keywords” rather than in full sentences, to make sure I don’t overflowed the entire notebook in one day.

So we discussed the size and the quality of the paper one else is important? Obviously, the cover. Previous times in the past five years I always made the mistake of judging the book by its cover, by choosing a notebook based on how beautifully gilded its cover is. This is why for many years was a faithful client of Paperblanks. Of course, it’s not only the cover, but also the quality of their paper, that won me over. However, since I am very much into do it yourself crafts, I realized that, if the notebook, or a diary, offers a hard cover, you can do pretty anything with its’ design. You can completely wrap it up in a different wrapping paper and seal it masking tape. You can print a personal photo or a message and build your design around it. If you search eBay, for instance, for the keyword “scrapbooking”, you’ll find so many ideas and design elements, all for even less than a dollar.

Scrapbooking - albumLast year, I bought myself a set of iron book corners, which I can easily attach to any notebook, to give it and instantly more expensive look , and also to protect the corners of my notebook from getting scuffed. Moreover, if you’re crafty enough, you can take the hardcover from a previously used notebook or diary, (which is what I did with my old paperblanks diary!), and attach it to the new diary. That way, you don’t need to pay so much money just for the cover. With a little bit of imagination, washi tapes, glue, and some scrapbooking elements, you can create your own unique diary, it will be much more luxurious any of the ones you can find in stores, moreover it will be one-of-a-kind..

I hope these tips help,  and will assist you the next time you decide on buying a new nootbook or diary. Feel free to let me know in the comments below, what are YOU looking for, when choosing a notebook?

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