Dotted Paper Love: Dancing with Dots in a World of LinesGet a notebook with dots they said. It’ll change everything, they said! Well, if you’re anything like me, there was only one thing I remember feeling when I got my first dotted journal….it was fear

Get a notebook with dots they said.  It’ll change everything, they said!  Well, if you’re anything like me, there was only one thing I remember feeling when I got my first dotted journal….it was fear!

Opening the cover of my new dot grid journal, was like experiencing a sensation akin to standing on the edge of a vast, unexplored wilderness; one I felt might engulf me.

The blank pages of my luxury notebook, peppered with tiny dots, stared back at me like a constellation of stars in an uncharted galaxy.  It looked like a raw canvas of limitless possibilities, yet at the same time, it seemed like untamed chaos.  Unlike a lined notebook or plain notebook, these tiny dots made my dot grid notebook something that was both exhilarating and intimidating at the same time!

Take the Plunge!

But, as a stationery lover and intrepid explorer, I decided I needed to man up and give it a try!  I felt this was not a beast to be feared but a new companion to be understood.

I know from emails and messages that many you have experienced similar feelings, and more, when first opening a notebook with dotted paper.  It’s that moment of staring down at the blank pages, little believing that with a few strokes of a pen and sprinkle of creativity that it might be possible to transform the seemingly formidable grid into a personalised masterpiece. 

There’s a good reason why dot journaling is not merely a passing fad.  These are the pages that can accommodate our thoughts, dreams, plans and grand designs in any way we like.  In short, a notebook with dots offers a flexible canvas for anything and everything you chose to record.

They're like an encouraging nudge rather than a strict command, allowing ideas to flow freely.  Using a grid notebook is like a creative movement, a symphony of organised chaos that dances between the dotted lines.  And here’s how you can master it:  

Where To Start:

The humble dotted notebook, also known as a dotted paper journal, is an artist's playground and a planner's heaven.  Each page is adorned with a symphony of pale dots, patiently waiting to guide your journal pens of choice.  It's like the gentle whisper of a grid notebook, but without the bold lines that may cramp your creative style.

Let’s start with size.  An A5 dot grid notebook is a popular choice due to its convenient dimensions and versatility.  It provides the perfect backdrop for crafting your own calendars, tracking habits, work schedule and even sketching your dream holiday cottage.  They make great notebooks for work and using one also means you don’t need to buy a new diary at the beginning of each year.  A dot journal allows you to start your diary whenever you want and customise the layout as you desire. 

Then there’s a B5 dotted journal.  This offers more room to roam, whilst still being portable enough for on-the-go journaling.

The key thing to remember when you embark on your dot journal journey, is that there's no right or wrong way to do things.  In an interview with The New Yorker the inventor of the Bullet Journal Method, Ryder Carroll, explains the benefits of using the dot system, and, most importantly, adapting the system to suit your individual needs.  It's like wearing a tailored suit — it's designed just for you, and it'll fit you perfectly.

Now, if you're feeling a tad fancy, a luxury journal can elevate your dot journaling to the moon and back.  Imagine smooth, premium 160gsm paper, bound in a personalized journal; a hardcover notebook, that’s customisable, creates an opulent feeling of grandeur every time you open it.  It's a little like sipping a well-aged whisky, but for your thoughts.

Whilst the finest custom notebook will always feature a lay flat binding, you might prefer an extra side of flexibility with your journaling.  In which case, a spiral bound dot grid notebook could be your cup of tea.  They fold back on themselves, allowing for easy one-handed writing, perfect for jotting down ideas on the tube or in a bustling café.

Conquering the Fear of the Humble Dot

Now let’s talk about how to write on dotted paper.  Notebooks with dot grid pages are truly the humble heroes of the journaling world!  They’re like the Swiss Army Knife of stationery, offering a versatility that lined and blank pages simply can't touch.  They really are a game-changer in the notebook stakes.

Imagine, if you will, a dot grid notebook as a bustling cityscape viewed from above.  Each dot is a building, providing a subtle structure without overwhelming the landscape.

You're free to connect the dots, creating roads or paths, or simply ignore them and let your thoughts fly sky-high.

In contrast, a lined page, in an A5 lined notebook, can seem like a city with rigid highways, while a blank page is an open field, with no guidance or signposts.  Dots offer the best of all worlds.

Writing and Note Taking

Let's start with writing, the bread and butter of all cute notebooks.  On a dot grid page, the dots can serve as unobtrusive lines to guide your writing. This makes them similar, but less in your face than lined paper.  However, unlike a lined journal, you're not limited to horizontal writing.  You can easily write vertically, diagonally, or in any direction that suits your fancy, all while maintaining straight lines and neatness.

Doodling and Sketching

When it comes to sketching and doodling, the dot grid notebook trumps the lined and blank alternatives.  The dots can be ignored, allowing the page to mimic the freedom of a blank canvas, but with an important distinction.  If you need to sketch something symmetrical or proportional, the dots act as a built-in guide, helping you maintain balance and alignment.

Bullet Journaling

For those who swear by ‘The Method’ and the world of bullet journaling, this is where the dot grid notebook really shines!

Research has shown how it's perfect for creating custom layouts.  If you want to draw a calendar, the dots help you divide the page evenly.  Want to track budgets or spending patterns?  The dots make creating charts and graphs a breeze.  Try doing that on a lined or blank page, and you'll soon be wrestling with a ruler!

Designing flowcharts or wireframes?  The dot grid journal steps up to the plate again.  Unlike blank pages, you don't have to worry about wonky shapes or uneven lines.  And compared to lined pages, you're not restricted to horizontal diagrams.

Calligraphy and Lettering

Now, let's take a look at calligraphy and hand-lettering; artistic forms that benefit greatly from the guidance of the humble dot.  Each little mark can act as a control point, assisting in the creation of consistent, beautiful letters and ensuring even spacing, horizontally and vertically.  Lined pages only offer horizontal guides, and blank pages offer no guidance at all.

To Do List

Even for the humble to-do list, the dot grid notebook offers added versatility.  Each dot can serve as a checkbox, turning your list into an interactive experience.  Try doing that on a lined page without it looking cluttered, or on a blank page without your tasks wandering off in different directions.


If you are interested in going dotty and want to experience a dotted paper notebook for yourself, we say take the plunge!  You will have so much fun exploring dotted notebook layout ideas online.  A couple of great places to look for inspiration online are Instagram and Pinterest – you’ll be spoilt for choice.

At the end of the day, whether you choose an A5 journal, a dot spiral notebook or a B5 journal, the real magic lies in your ideas and the creativity.  The dots can guide your lines for writing, become invisible in your sketches, or provide a subtle structure for charts and diagrams.  So, embrace the freedom dots offer; they will be your guiding stars, helping you navigate the vast expanse of your imagination as you let your ideas flow.  Just remember, there’s no ‘wrong’ way to fill these pages – this is your adventure, your story to write….one dot at a time.