10 Tips for Finding the Right Notebook for you

Ah, the eternal quest for the perfect notebooks!  It’s something we are often asked about – especially as our love for writing things down remains as popular today, despite the advent of computers.  I remember well the time Eva and I spent browsing stationery shops and websites; always on the hunt for the perfect journal.  It had to meet our stringent quality requirements AND fulfil all our wildest, dreamy notebook ideas!  

We failed to find what we were looking for in the UK, which is why we set up The Ink Pot! 

It’s why we understand only too well just how frustrating trying to choose the right notebook for your needs can be.

But fear not!  We’ve done the research, so you don’t have to!  We’ve put together 10 tips to help you find your ideal notebook easily and effortlessly. 

  1. Notebook purpose – know yours

First and foremost, it's essential to know what you'll be using the notebook for.  Will it be for work, personal journaling, or perhaps creative writing?  Knowing the purpose will help you narrow down your options and find a notebook that suits your needs.

  1. A5 notebook or B5 notebook - size matters

Consider the size of the notebook. Do you prefer a small A5 journal that can easily fit in your bag, or a larger B5 size notebook that offers more space for writing or drawing? Keep in mind that a larger notebook might be slightly heavier to carry around.

  1. Lined journal or journal with dots?

Let's talk about the differences between using a dotted notebook or one with lines. 

 A Dot Grid Notebook

The pros:

  • Versatile - the dot gird layout provides a lot of flexibility, as you can use it for drawing, bullet journaling, or note-taking.
  • Non-intrusive - unlike lined paper, the dots are not as noticeable. This means you can draw or write without being distracted by the lines.
  • Creative freedom - with a dotgrid, you can easily create charts, tables, or even intricate designs without being confined by the lines.

To consider:

  • Limited guidance - while the dots provide some guidance, they might not be enough for those who prefer a more structured layout.
  • Smaller spacing - the spacing between the dots is usually smaller than the spacing between lines on lined paper. If you have large, or exuberant handwriting, this can make it more challenging to write neatly.
  • Not suitable for everyone - some people might find the dot grid layout confusing or distracting, especially if they're used to lined paper.

 Lined Notebooks

The pros:

  • Easy to use - the lines provide guidance, making it easier to write neatly and keep your notes organised.
  • Suitable for all - lined notebook paper is a standard in education and work, so most people are familiar with it.

To consider:

  • Less creativity - the lines can be restrictive and might not be suitable for drawing or more creative projects.
  • Possibly distracting - some people might find the lines intrusive and distracting, especially if they prefer a more free-form style of writing or drawing.
  • Reduced versatility - while you can still use lined paper for a variety of purposes, it might not be as versatile as dot grid paper.

In summary, a dot paper notebook tends to provide more creative freedom and flexibility, while lined notebooks are seen as offering more guidance and structure.

Ultimately, it depends on your personal preference and what you'll be using the notebook for.  If you're artistic and love bullet journaling, a dot grid notebook might be more suitable.  If you want something for work or school, a lined notebook might be more appropriate.

  1. Consider quality of paper

Paper quality is a crucial aspect to think about when choosing a notebook.  It can significantly impact your overall experience.

This is because your choice of paper can affect the way ink or pencil marks appear on the page, the way the notebook feels in your hand, and the durability of the notebook.

Let’s look, in more depth, at some reasons why paper quality is so important:

  • Writing experience: high-quality paper provides a smooth writing experience, because it allows ink to flow seamlessly without smudging or bleeding. This is why good paper enhances the quality of your writing – because it really can make your writing look neater and more professional.
  • Durability: low-quality paper tends to tear or crease easily. This in turn can make your notebook less durable and less aesthetically pleasing.  Luxurious paper is less prone to damage, ensuring that your notebook lasts longer.
  • Ink bleeding: if you love using pens – anything from a fountain pen or gel pens to metallic pens - then paper quality is vital. You’ll need to ensure that your notebook paper is thick enough to prevent ink bleeding through the paper.  If the paper is too thin or low quality, ink can seep through the page and ruin the writing on the other side.  This means you’ll be able to use fewer pages in your notebook, so buying the cheapest notebook may turn out to be a false economy.
  • Weight: the weight of paper is measured in GSM, which stands for Grams per Square Meter. The higher the GSM, the thicker and more durable the paper.

Opting for paper with a higher GSM means that it can withstand more wear and tear.  It also feels more substantial and luxurious to write on.

This is why our notebooks feature 160gsm paper.  This is the optimum luxury notebookpaper quality.  It is a thick, sturdy paper that can withstand pretty much any pen you care you use, whether pastel highlighters, Posca paint pens, metallic markers or neon pens, without bleeding through.

  • Overall aesthetics: the higher the paper quality, the more professional and luxurious your notebook will appear, as well as perform. Did you know that good paper helps writing or drawings appear more vivid and vibrant. 

Paper quality is a crucial aspect to consider when choosing a notebook. The thicker it is, the more versatile your notebook will be as you can use it for many different endeavours, without worrying about ink seepage and not being unable to use every single page. 

Investing in a notebook with high-quality paper will make your writing experience more enjoyable, increase the durability of your notebook, and ensure that your writing looks neat and professional.  So, when hunting for your ideal notebook, don't forget to pay attention to the paper quality, as it can make all the difference.

  1. Look for durability

Make sure the notebook is durable enough to withstand wear and tear.  You don't want your beloved notebook falling apart after a few weeks of use.

A harder covered notebook with a sturdy spine is a good option.  As is a lay flat notebook as you won’t have to worry about the spine cracking and coming away from the binding.

  1. Find your notebook style

The best notebooks aren't just about functionality; they're also a statement of style.

Are you into minimalistic designs, or do you prefer beautiful notebooks with colourful illustrations on the cover?

Pick a notebook that resonates with your personality and style.  You’ll love it all the more!

  1. Consider the weight

If you're someone who carries their notebook around everywhere, you might want to opt for a lighter option. We refer you here to our second point: journal size will matter.  The smaller the notebook, the lighter it will be.  The trick is to make the most practical choice if you want a notebook for when you are on the go.

  1. Cheap not always better; expensive not always the best!

Some luxury notebooks may come with a premium price tag attached – although not ours!  It’s why we suggest doing research before buying a notebook and setting yourself a budget.  Stick to your budget! 

We say, don't break the bank to buy your desired notebook, but don't compromise on quality either.

  1. Personalised notebooks - think about the cover

A good notebook must tick the box for both functionality and aesthetics.   Do you want a soft cover note book that's easy to fold and manipulate, or a hardcover notebook that offers more protection?  Equally, do you want to buy an off the shelf journal, or a personalised journal you can make your own? 

We put a great deal of thought into our notebook covers.  It’s why ours are hard – it means they will last.  We also offer a huge range of personalisation options, so you can create a notebook that is unique to you. 

  1. Read reviews

Finally, before you commit to a notebook, read some reviews from other customers.  They can give you an insight into the notebook's quality, durability, and usability, and help you make an informed decision.


There you have it - 10 tips to help you find the right notebook for you. Remember, it's not just about finding the best notebooks, but finding the notebook that suits your needs and style.  

If you’re anything like us, and a little journal obsessed, you’ll have a range of journals that cover a whole host of different needs!  There’s really nothing better than starting a new notebook!  Happy shopping!