The notebook is the base for journaling, so it’s necessary to choose one that is suitable for you. There are many types of sizes, and different types of paper. Some have accessories, others do not. The binding can also be an important detail. All this is to say that there are many details to consider.
To start off with the size. Do you plan on carrying your journal everywhere with you, or only from time to time? Will it remain at home?
Once you have your answer you may have an idea as to which size may work best with your daily routine. In general, A5 notebooks are most likely to be suitable for everyone. They are small enough to fit in a bag, but big enough to write comfortably and having enough space.
If you think a smaller notebook might be more convenient, then the A6 or B6 formats may be an interesting alternative. On the contrary if you want a larger notebook, the B5 format is a good choice. Sometimes the A4 format may be too big.
Here are some different sizes :
Usually you will have to choose between a hard or soft cover. Everything depends on your personal taste. There’s different types of covers, from classic leather, fabric, or paperback. There exists also an alternative to real leather, faux leather, which may be a good alternative. But once again, it all depends on what you like.
The Paper :
Which is the most important detail, (I believe) because you can have the most beautiful notebook in the world but if the paper doesn’t live up to your standards, you may not enjoy using it. And it just may turn into a “bad notebook”. It may be "just" paper, but there is a lot to consider before buying your notebook.
- Thickness: it has an important, but not decisive role. Quite often we think that the thicker the paper is, the better the paper is, but that isn’t always the case. For example, a thick paper may not necessarily hold up well against ghosting. However, if you want to use paint, the thickness may prevent warping or even tearing the paper.
- The Coating: All paper isn’t treated in the same way. You can have two notebooks, each with different types of paper, meanwhile sharing the same grammage (thickness), your pens, or paints won’t react in the same way when tested on each paper.
Some paper tends to absorb ink faster, (making drying faster) but if you’re a fan of watercoloring or fountain pens, you may have some surprises. Not to mention that ink has a better chance of going through and ghosting, which isn’t great. On the other hand, there exists some paper, with a coating to reduce quick absorption, so drying may take longer but writing may also feel more smooth and with less ink feathering. Although even with a coating, in the case of alcohol based markers, they may still go through. They tend to bleed through most papers.
- Binding: Another detail that’s important is the technique in which the paper is bound. There are several types of binding such as :
- Metal binding or staples, this is more often used in notebooks containing few pages.
- Spiral binding, allows a notebook to be opened flat, but the spirals can be a nuisance when writing and the pages may fall out over time.
- Stitched binding, is the most durable binding over time because the sheets are sewn by a thread and not just glued together.
- The color of the pages: One might think that the pages are naturally white, but there are actually many nuances. Ranging from off-white / ivory to bright white. You can also find notebooks with brown kraft paper and even black pages.
- Your Use: What will you be using your notebook for? Will it be mostly for writing? Drawing? Both?
If you like to draw you may naturally turn to blank pages. If you like to write a lot, then perhaps lined pages might be the better choice, however you also have the option of dotted or graphed. Personally I enjoy writing and drawing so I have a dotted notebook, (which are very often used for bullet journaling). You can always experiment and try new paper styles, no matter what you are doing.
The Accessories :
Some notebooks offer a few extras which may make a difference in your final choice. Like the bookmark (or number of), storage envelope to store your paper, stickers, an elastic closure, which allows the notebook not to open when you carry it, or even a pen holder.
It is not that all these accessories are essential, so it is up to you to ask yourself the question if you really need this or that option.
As you can see, choosing a good notebook is important! I see it as sort of an investment. You may want it to last through its time of use or even through the years.
Where to find a notebook?
Generic notebooks can be found in just about every store. But if you are looking for something more specific you can find interesting items in art stores (like at Michaels) but also on the internet. On our shop for example, you can find our Rêverie notebook as well as the Archer & Olive brand. And of course, on Amazon where you can find brands such as Leuchtturm and Lemome.
If you have read this far, than you have read everything and I thank you. If someone you know is looking for a new notebook, don't hesitate to share this article, (word of mouth would helps us enormously).
Most of all, don't hesitate to leave me a comment down below, on Instagram, or by email, what you thought about this article. Likewise, if you have any suggestions, I would be happy to read them.