For those of us who revel in scouring through the various styles of journals and notebooks, selection requires thought and consideration. From the type of cover to the page styling, a journal or notebook can be as distinctive as our individual personalities and encourage us to become more creative and/or more organized.
It all starts with your purpose. Why are you purchasing the journal or notebook? Will you be recording your deepest thoughts, mapping out a novel, or making daily lists? Are you an artist who needs a place for initial sketches or a mathematician working out formulas?
As you shop for journals and notebooks, consider the following to determine the best style for your next project:
- Cover Color – Whether you’re sitting in a meeting, at the airport, or in a coffee shop, the physical appearance of your journal reflects your personality. The cover graphic may beckon you with its memorable style, perhaps you’re a wordsmith who desires a journal with Poe’s writing gracing the cover for inspiration, or you’re a conservationist who prefers an eco journal with a hemp cover. Personally, I purchase the same blue notebooks regularly to keep my life in order. I recently received a gift of notebooks, but my friend chose red covers instead of blue. I found I struggled with the red because it’s not a color that helps me focus. So, if you’re sensitive to color, be sure to choose one that matches your disposition.
- Cover Style – As a diehard journal user, I own both hard and soft cover notebooks and journals. You may find that hard covers work best for your desk or bedside due to their sturdiness, while soft covers are lighter and travel well. For me, hard covers stay home and soft covers work in my purse and computer bag.
- Size – Whether you want a notebook or journal for your bedside, backpack, purse or pocket, choosing the most comfortable size is vital. Your purpose may define your notebook size. If you’re just keeping a list on the run, a small version like the mini size or pocket size might be the most comfortable, but if you’re making sketches around town, a larger notepad in the A4 to A3 range could be ideal. If you’re traveling, a smaller version of your normally large bedside journal may suffice for keeping your memorable vacation thoughts.
Page Style – Blank pages, graph paper, dots or lines … which works best for you? If you’re a freestyler, combining words and drawings, blank pages could be ideal. For more organized note taking and calculations, dotGrid or graphing styles offer structure. The standard lined page helps writers and list makers keep their thoughts in order.
- Closure System – How you handle your notebooks and journals can determine the closure system you prefer. A wrap closure offers the greatest protection of your pages. If you tend to toss your journal in a bag or tuck it under your arm, a wrap will keep pages from getting messy or warped. An elastic closure offers some protection and keeps pages flat. If your journal sits in one location, such as on your desk or bedside, you may not desire a closure. Security may also be a reason to select a closure. A wrap may deter someone from picking up your notebook and glancing at it. Closures tend to send the message that the information within the journal is private.
So, what will your next journal or notebook reveal about you? Choosing your journal or notebook wisely could encourage you to finish that school project, write that novel, or become more organized! Share your favorite notebook or journal styles and be sure to tell us how they reflect your personality.
Meet the Writer: Beth Hempton is a freelance writer and educator residing on Johns Island in South Carolina. She writes about education, health, food and lifestyle topics for websites, blogs, e-zines and print magazines. Having worn many writing hats from authoring curriculum to newspaper journalism, she views writing as a life skill and as an art form.