Last Updated on

Even thou you might think pencil and paper are outdated, I would beg to differ. Inspiration is everywhere you look. While you’re out and about your eyes might catch something noteworthy, while you’re watching TV you might notice something clever, when you’re browsing the web you’ll run into lines, curves, and shapes that might be handy at a later date.

It’s always important to have your notebook nearby. I often find myself writing and drawing stuff down while I’m using my computer. Sure I can use Evernote or some other software to capture that idea, however having a physical notebook is much easier. Capturing various bits of inspiration in your notebook creates a personal dictionary of unique ideas available for fast reference at a later date.

It doesn’t matter whether you are an expert sketcher, all designers, developers, and artists can benefit from a notebook. If you don’t have a notebook to write something down, you might forget that idea you were so excited about. If you’re a student be sure to scope these binders before going back to school.

That being said, there are some notebooks that are more conducive to the design process than others. For example, some designers will want a notebook that has an attractive appearance, while others will appreciate notebooks with features that assist the design process. Today we collected some of the best paper notebooks used by designers all over the world. So without further ado, let’s take a look.

Field Notes

Field Notes

You can purchase Field Notes notebooks in basic ruled paper, graph paper, or mixed. They’re inexpensive and portable, at 3.5” by 5.5”. The cover is soft and pages are held together by three staples. You can purchase a pack of three Field Notes notebooks for $9.95 or a pack of 25 limited-edition notebooks for $129. There is also a starter kit which includes six pencils, six pens, six notebooks, and a calendar. If you want a lot of portable, cheap, reliable notebooks. Field Notes may be the notebook for you.

Buy $12.50



Leuchtturm1917 has been making notebooks for nearly a century. They’re some of the highest quality notebooks on the market with multitude of avid fans. Without a doubt there is a notebook size to suit your taste, as they make portable and full-sized notebooks. They even offer reporter’s notepads. Furthermore Leuchttturm1917 offers a variety of page types, from blank, perforated, grid, numbered pages, and ruled. If you’re looking for a reliable, customized notebook, Leuchtturm1917 is a great brand to check out.

Buy $16.00



Moleskine notebooks are a really trendy and for good reason. Moleskine makes notebooks of every shape and paper type, much like Leuchtturm1917 does. Some page types offered include ruled, blank, perforated, dot-grid, wide-ruled, lined-grid, and calendar. Moleskine allows users to heavily customize their notebook, using a tool on their website. Given the variety of notebooks which Moleskine offers, they’re a great choice for all designers.

Buy $14.85

Piccadilly Journal


Piccadilly notebooks come in three sizes, from 3.5” x 5.5”, 5” x 8.25”, and 7.5” x 10”. These are a nice, more affordable alternative to Moleskine, with the smallest notebook running at $4.94 and the largest around $12.95. Users can select from ruled, graph, and plain paper types. They can also select from hard and soft covers. All Piccadilly notebooks have 240 pages. Piccadilly notebooks are a classy, affordable, and predictable.

Buy $4.94



Rhodia is well-known for their vibrant orange and black notebooks/writing pads. However, they do offer other notebooks beyond that. Rhodia has leather notebooks, and offers a range of paper types from dot-grid, line-grid, ruled, and blank. Customers can also select from spiral-bound and flip-up styles. Most importantly, this company is famous for the attention they devote to the quality of paper they use.

Buy $16.16

UI Stencils Browser Sketch Pad


Web designers could really benefit from a physical notebook. Many web designers spend a significant amount of their day staring at a screen, so working in a notebook instead can be refreshing. The UI Stencils Browser Sketch pad includes 50 perforated pages, measuring 8.5” x 11”, which have Google Chrome windows on them. Web designers can create mockups either by freehand or by using the included stencil kit. The stencil kit has basic web page elements, such as a back button, a camera icon, and a shopping cart icon.


Web Design Sketchbook


This notebook is another great option for web designers. It offers a more robust design experience than the UI Stencils Browser Sketch Pad. Extra features include questions for content planning, sitemap pages, and browser templates. Customers can choose between a notebook for a single project or a full notebook. Prices range from $12 to $19.88.




Whitelines is well-known for their spiral notebooks, which offer considerably less hassle than standard spiral notebooks, as they lay flat perfectly on either side. The company also manufactures hard- or soft-covered notebooks and flip-up notebooks. The white lines in the notebooks can be scanned by a Whitelines app using a smart-phone or tablet, and the user can enjoy features such as emailing the text or syncing it with Evernote.

Buy $9.85

Notebooks can be an incredibly helpful tool for designers. Despite what some may think, they aren’t obsolete. Notebooks are the perfect portable medium for designers to log creative words, doodles, and scribbles. We hope this list has helped you decide which notebook might be the best for you. Remember to experiment and try different brands.

Posted by Igor Ovsyannykov

I'm a digital nomad and entrepreneur bouncing around South East Asia. When I'm not working here, I'm out taking photos for Follow me on Instagram: @igorovsyannykov

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *