macbook notebook pen on table for designer

10 Best Paper Notebooks for Designers

You’re in a meeting and it’s time to take notes. Don’t look like a junior designer with some crappy notebook from the dollar store. Get something that shows that you understand the value of fine design. Here are a few of our favorite notebooks. If you’re looking to sketch we suggest our list of sketchbooks.

1. Moleskine Classic Notebook

Features

  • Available in 4 styles
  • Soft elegant cover
  • Multiple sizes
  • Elastic closure
  • High-quality pages

The Moleskine Classic Notebook can be a must-have for all designers. Along with dotted, ruled, and squared pages, you can also get one in plain pages.

This may give you more space to draw, not being restricted by lines and all. The cover is durable and elegant and available in multiple colors. The elastic cover keeps the notebook shut and helps to avoid the wrinkling of the pages.

You may also like that the pages are considerably thicker than those of most notebooks. You can use them with pencils and ballpoint pens and perhaps some other media.

The price point is not bad either, considering that each notebook comes with 192 pages for you to express your creativity or to take notes.

Pros

  • Ivory paper pages
  • Durable binding
  • Elegant design
  • Versatile medium

Cons

  • The paper may be too thin for fountain pens

2. Rhodia Rhodiarama Soft Cover Notebook

Features

  • Dotted sheets
  • Superior quality binding
  • Available in 3 sizes
  • Inner pocket
  • Page marker
  • Elastic closure

If you’re a designer looking for a dotted notebook to scribble down ideas and stuff, the Rhodiarama series of notebooks can be perfect.

The smooth ivory sheets are certified neutral in pH (more than acid-free) and boast good absorption properties. You can easily use ink to draw or write on them.

The binding is very reliable and the pages are well-protected under the Italian faux leather cover. The rounded corners give the notebook a nice appeal too. There are also lots of color options, the better to match the notebook to your personality and style.

It’s also important to know that this notebook comes in three sizes. It’s loaded with interesting features such as – an inner pocket for storing small notes, a ribbon page marker, and a strong elastic closure. The latter should help to keep the notebook secure and the pages straight.

Pros

  • Reliable glued binding
  • Inner pocket
  • Stylish design
  • Quality paper and cover

Cons

  • Not all cover colors are of the same price – some are considerably more

3. Rite in the Rain Weatherproof Notebook

Features

  • Good weatherproofing
  • Wire-O binding
  • Recyclable paper
  • Affordable
  • Waterproof cover

The Rite in the Rain notebooks have been designed for outdoor use including under harsh weather. It’s something you can keep on your person all the time, whether you need to jot down directions or record your unique experience in nature.

The notebooks are as rugged as they come, complete with wood-based weatherproof paper (unlike synthetic it can be recycled) and a PolyDura waterproof cover. The wire-o type binding is impact-resistant and can handle some rough handling. It also ensures that the sheets are well-separated.

There’s a good color variety in the cover. But not as much in terms of the style of paper – lined paper and plain paper are all there is.

Pros

  • Tough and flexible notebook cover
  • Rugged binding
  • Wood-based paper so totally recyclable
  • Great paper alignment

Cons

  • Limited paper styles

4. AmazonBasics Classic Blank Notebook

Features

  • 240 pages
  • Acid-free paper
  • Bookmark
  • Elastic closure
  • Inner pocket

If you’re looking for something cheap and you prefer plain pages, then the AmazonBasics Classic Blank Notebook may be the one for you.

The pages are acid-free and should be able to handle plenty of light exposure. You can use them to draw, sketch, and even take notes or write down ideas for your design work. All while having the assurance that your drawings won’t be unintelligible over time.

The notebook is not the lightest but that’s because it has a smooth cardboard cover that looks good and keeps the papers aligned and straight. You may also appreciate the bookmark, as well as the elastic closure that keeps everything closed and together.

Pros

  • Expandable pocket
  • Plenty of pages
  • Cardboard cover
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • May only work well with lighter pens and pencils

5. Leuchtturm 1917 Notebook

Features

  • 249 dotted pages
  • Hardcover
  • A5 page size
  • Ink-proof paper
  • Closure band

While this may not be the cheapest notebook on the market, it’s by a highly respected name and comes with ink-proof paper and a reliable thread-bound design.

The Leuchtturm 1917 Notebook will open flat, which means that you’ll be able to draw and write at just about any angles. The paper is A5 in size and 80 gsm in weight.

Among other design features, you’ll notice blank paper for the table of contents, interior pocket for additional storage, and eight perforated sheets that are easy to tear. All of these make the Leuchtturm 1917 Notebook quite versatile.

It’s also available in a number of colors, though nothing too out of there.

Pros

  • Expert craftsmanship
  • Durable paper
  • Hardcover with closure band
  • Reliable binding

Cons

  • The dotted grid may not be great in poor lighting

6. Minimalism Art Classic Notebook Journal

Features

  • Available in multiple sizes
  • 100 gsm page weight
  • PU leather hardcover
  • Good page style diversity
  • Plenty of color options

Another affordable alternative to fancier designer notebooks is the Minimalism Art Classic Notebook Journal. This notebook is available in dotted, squared, ruled, and plain pages to suit all designers.

The 100 gsm paper weight is equivalent to 27lb paper, which is way higher than standard 20lb copy paper. It’s definitely good enough to prevent ink bleeding. All in all, there isn’t much that you can’t doodle, draw, or scribble on these Minimalism Art notebooks.

You may also appreciate the PU leather cover and the elastic band that keeps everything together. However, the hardcover is not as hard as you may expect, as it’s actually more flexible than, for example, a hardcover novel.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Paper variety
  • Suitable for use with fountain pens
  • Rounded case binding

Cons

  • Not the most durable hardcover

7. Rocketbook Wave Smart Notebook

Features

  • Erase and reuse notebook
  • Easy to scan paper
  • Pilot Frixion pen included
  • Wider format
  • Smart notebook

The erase and reuse Rocketbook Wave Smart Notebook can be the solution to most of your problems. Although it comes in just two sizes, it has pages that are wider than average and very easy to scan.

What’s unique about this notebook is that it can be a long-term investment. Face it, the truth is that not all of your designs may be worth saving. What this notebook can do is allowing you to avoid having to buy a new one just to make room for new ideas and notes.

Here’s how it works. Use it with the Pilot Frixion pen and you can nuke the pages in a microwave oven to erase everything. That’s why it’s called erase and reuse.

If you want to be more environmentally-friendly and waste less paper, this could be just the notebook for you. Needless to say, you’re going to have to pay for the privilege.

Pros

  • Long-term use
  • Included one Pilot Frixion pen
  • Easy to scan
  • Durable binding

Cons

  • The ink doesn’t dry very quickly
  • Pricey

8. Northbooks A5 Journal Notebook

Features

  • 90 gsm paper
  • Various styles
  • Sturdy cover
  • Elegant design
  • Recycled cream paper

Another affordable notebook for designers is the Northbooks A5 Journal Notebook. This elegant notebook doesn’t come in many colors but it does come with every paper type anybody could want.

The pages are 90 gsm, which is like 24lb copy paper, so they may not be as bleed-proof as advertised. That said, the archival quality of the paper is still worth noting.

This notebook is right at home with whatever designers use notebooks for. Writing down notes, sketching, you know the drill.

The cover is made from as much as 30% recycled materials and has a soft texture.

Pros

  • Large pages
  • Available in four styles
  • Made in the USA
  • High-quality soft cover

Cons

  • No elastic closure

9. Code & Quill Origin Notebook

Features

  • 2 page styles in one notebook
  • Thick paper
  • Opens flat
  • High-quality binding
  • Elegant cover design

With thick 100gsm pages, this is one of the most versatile notebooks for designers. The acid-free paper is a good medium for both pencils and ink, so you shouldn’t have any problem drawing and taking notes in the same notebook.

The unique layout, which features a dotted grid on the left page and a ruled page on the right, makes the Origin Notebook even more interesting. You may also appreciate the flat-open design, which may make drawing easier and is also easier on the binding.

Even the cover does its part. Although not particularly high-end or durable, it’s elegant in its simplicity.

Pros

  • Highly versatile
  • Quality paper
  • Lay flat design
  • Hardcover

Cons

  • May be more specialized in nature

10. MOO Lined Hardcover Notebook

Features

  • 2 types of pages per notebook
  • Thick paper
  • Heavyweight top sheet
  • Durable hardcover
  • Lay flat design

MOO Notebooks come in various collections. Out of all of them, the Designer Lay Flat Journal is perhaps one of the best for creative minds. As a designer, you can use up to 160 lined pages to write down ideas.

You can make use of the other 16 unlined pages to draw freely. The paper is on the thicker side and should work well enough with ink. Furthermore, the pages are unlikely to turn yellow over time.

The lay flat design makes writing and drawing easier. With the high craftsmanship, versatility, and overall design, the MOO Lined Hardcover Notebook offers good value for money. Designers can hardly go wrong with these.

Pros

  • 2 types of pages
  • Colored plain pages
  • Lay flat design
  • Thick 100gsm paper

Cons

  • Slightly pricier

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Staff Writer DLC

Daily Logo Challenge staff writers focus on creating in-depth guides focusing on mastery of design and development. Let us know what you think in the comments section above.