How to Choose the Right Journal Notebook

A fan of PAPERAGE Notebooks in colors Green, Coral & Yellow on a marble counter with a grey pen and house plant.

Our world is a digital one with apps for everything and screen time at max. But, at PAPERAGE, we’re still all about paper! While the digital is all very convenient, we’d prefer a notebook for journaling or keeping our daily to-do lists. Like many products, there are so many options when it comes to notebooks. How do you choose the right journal notebook?

Journals, or notebooks, come in many different formats based on many things like the paper type (blank, lined, dotted, etc.) or the binding style (case-bound vs. spiral-bound). To make it a little easier to navigate the big world of journal notebooks, we've put together a quick guide for you on some of the different types of journals and why you might want one...or all of them. 

Lined Journals

Close-up of lined paper from PAPERAGE

The classic. A lined journal provides more structure for your handwriting. With a variety of widths, you can approach journaling, note-taking, or your to-do list in a tidy and orderly manner.

Dotted Journals

A close-up of dot grid paper by PAPERAGE

Sometimes known as a "bullet journal," the dot grid notebook has a grid of faint dots that allow for straight, level handwriting with the added benefit of giving you the structure to add in diagrams, drawings and charts. The dots also let you easily create bullet notes and checklists.

Grid Journals

A close-up of graph grid paper from PAPERAGE

The grid journal is similar to the dotted journal, but offers a grid of lines for more structure. Sometimes referred to as a graph paper notebook, this option is ideal for those looking to create design layouts or charts. A go-to for engineers, UX designers, musicians and STEM professionals.

Blank Journals

A close-up of blank paper by PAPERAGE

The tried and true blank journal notebook gives you a blank slate to start your journaling practice. This option is the most versatile and lets you embrace an anything-goes mindset. You can write, draw, glue in pictures or mementos, anything you want! A go-to for artists and hobbyists.

Once you decided on your paper type, you'll need to consider what style of binding and cover you prefer:

Casebound Journals

A classic hardcover casebound journal notebook wth lined pages from PAPERAGE

A great option that combines timeless style with a durability. Casebound refers to a notebook that uses a heavy board covered in a cloth, leather or paper that is attached to the interior pages with glued end-papers.The best casebound journals have a water-resistant cover and sturdy binding that lays-flat for ease of use no matter if you're left- or right-handed.

Spiral-bound Journals

An overhead view of spiral journal noteboks and colorful pens.

Spiral or wir-o binding journals can come in soft or hardcovers. This style can lay-flat open or folded over to show only one page at a time. A great pick if you're traveling or often referencing a book while writing, as it takes up less space on your desk. Look for ones that offer double-spiral binding and a hardcover for long-term durability.

Softcover Stitched (Cahier) Journals

A colorful stack of PAPERAGE Softcover Stitched Compostion Notebooks

A space-saving & lightweight option that is perfect for stashing in your bag. The best options include sturdy stitched binding that is often finished with fabric tape. The covers are often made of paper that makes them ideal for personalizing with markers, pens & stickers.

Once you’ve decided which journal notebook best suits you, you'll need to find the perfect pen. Check out our tips on picking the best pens & markers for journaling.

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