For many of us, the start of the school year conjures up the image of a classic composition notebook, with a black-and-white marbled cover and red-and-blue lined pages. But notebooks have come a long way since the composition book. These days there are so many options to choose from: lined, dot grid, graph or blank pages; paper that’s specially designed for fountain pens; hard covers or soft covers; and bells and whistles like pockets, bookmarks and page numbers.
With so many great notebooks out there, it can be hard to choose the one that’s right for you! To help you navigate the wonderful world of notebooks, we’ve compiled some staff picks, plus a gallery of more unusual options we think are worthy of note.
Victor's pick: Mnemosyne 182 Graph Notebook
Math and science were my favorite subjects in school so I got used to taking a lot of notes on graph paper. Now I continue to do so in my Mnemosyne 182. This spiral-bound notebook with alternating blank and graph pages is perfect because I'm always drawing diagrams and flowcharts to accompany my notes. And my drawings often go in all directions so it’s helpful to be able to fold over the cover and use the notebook in portrait or landscape orientation. The micro-perforated pages also make it easy to tear out a sheet for sharing notes or to quickly dispose of any mistakes you don't want to keep around. Currently for everyday use my favorite size is A5. But for schoolwork, I’d highly recommend the spacious A4-size Mnemosyne 180.
Jenny's pick: Stonit Small Hardcover Notebook
I love water, so waterproof paper opens up more options for me on where I can take my notebook without worrying it will get damaged. It has very nice smooth paper that you can write or draw on with almost any pens or pencils, and it is pocket sized, so it’s easy for me to travel with it in my purse.
Yulan's pick: Apica CD Notebook - B5 Size
I am an experimenter when it comes to notebooks and pens. For me, each different notebook has a different purpose so I like to try out various styles. But for school, this is top on my list. I’ve already been through more than 10 of these notebooks and I keep coming back to it. This is a softcover composition notebook that fits in almost all school bags. It features 6.5mm spaced lines on acid-free, silky-smooth pages that allow any type of pencil or pen to run wild on it, including fountain pens. I also enjoy the light weight of the notebook. With only 32 sheets of paper, I can carry many of them in my backpack at the same time and don't feel like I have a boulder on my shoulders. Furthermore, the fewer pages ensure that I will fill up most, if not all, of the notebook in one semester. I don't have to think about what I will do with the rest of the blank pages in my notebook anymore!
Jean's pick: Leuchtturm1917 A5
My go-to notebook is the Leuchtturm1917 A5. I’m an easily distracted visual note-taker; my class and work notes are often a mix of text, diagrams and unrelated sketches, so I always choose notebooks without lines or grids. Although the paper in this notebook is high quality, I find the thin pages less intimidating to write on because there are so many of them. Rather than aiming for perfection, I like looking back on notes that alternate between neat and messy - the penmanship helps recall what I was thinking as much as the content. The Leuchtturm1917’s page numbers and table of contents are also helpful when using the same notebook for more than one subject, and the sturdy yet thin cover can survive being crammed into any overfilled bag.
Sara's pick: Logical Prime Special Lined A5
The Logical Prime is my ideal notebook. I'm someone who primarily takes written notes and makes a lot of lists, so I prefer a lined notebook, and I love the unusual, versatile ruling in this notebook as well as the header section on top of each page. I often tear pages out of my notebooks, and the spiral binding makes that easy to do - plus it lays flat and the cover folds all the way behind the notebook, so I can fit it on my lap or on my overcrowded desk. I tend to throw a notebook in my bag when I go out, so I like something lightweight and flexible but sturdy, since I hate when the pages get bent or crumpled. The covers of the Logical Prime are a sturdy cardstock and I appreciate the rounded corners that won't get bent in a bag. A5 is my perfect notebook size - small enough to carry around, not a large and intimidating blank page, but big enough for plenty of writing.
If the classic lined notebook has never quite worked for you, though, we’ve compiled a selection of fun alternatives. Check out some of our favorite unusual notebooks for a different take on back-to-school:
P.S. Notebooks and other back-to-school supplies will be 20% off until 8/31/20 when you use code SCHOOL at checkout.