Bullet Journal: Notebook Review – Productive Luddite
In preparation for my next (and final) university semester, I sought a new notebook for my bullet journal. Up until now, I had been using a lined notebook I had kicking around—it was spiral bound with a hard cover, measuring 6.5 x 9.5 inches. It was a great notebook to explore the bullet journal system, but it had gotten more annoying than productive by the time I got the hang of how I use the system.
Originally, I wanted my new notebook to be a 7 x 9 inch spiral bound… with a dot grid.
Specific, I know, and that didn’t even take into consideration my preferences for paper weight (20lb or higher, no exceptions).
Needless to say, I had a lot of difficulty finding one that I could buy. It was either I settle for something else, or I go through the process of printing, trimming, and binding my own (and that would have cost me a bunch).
The classics for bullet journalling are Moleskine and Leuchturm brands. However, I had seen them used in other people’s spreads, and I really didn’t like the layouts or how they handled ink. The Bullet Journal brand was way out of my budget (the $20.00 notebook is high, in my opinion, but the cheapest shipping was $15.69, so… no). I wanted something different, but couldn’t find anything reasonably priced.
I was buying my last few textbooks for classes (using The Book Depository because hell yeah, free shipping!). I decided to browse their stationery, and although the colouring books were tempting… I saw some dot grid notebooks. In sizes I like. For reasonable prices. With free shipping.
SO! I purchased the “Matte Black” dot grid notebook in 6 x 9 inches. This product is from Productive Luddite and is available from their website, The Book Depository, and Amazon. It’s part of their “Every Day Carry” lineup, designed for daily use and portability.
None of these pictures have been edited. They were shot with my Samsung S5, on a lovely overcast day. The pens I use in my BuJo are a Uniball Signo for permanent entries, and FriXion brand pens and markers for anything to be changed later or accented. I love my FriXion markers to the moon—they add just the right amount of colour, and I can erase them cleanly a few times.
Pictures speak more than words, so without further ado, here are some photographs!
The cover, just after removing it from the packaging!
The “title” page, which appears after a blank page. It says: title, name, “If lost, please contact,” and a space each for the date & place started/finished.
The 2nd and 3rd pages of the index/table of contents.
The tags index, which is only 2 pages.
Page numbers. The 1st page is so impossible to see.
Here’s a view of the dot grid on a spread.
Starting to fill it in! I’ve put my name and contact details in there by now.
Barely any ghosting onto the backside of the page. Very, very pleased with this!
I thought this was a neat addition! On the inside of the back cover, they overview the different styles and sizes they offer. Look at this selection! The best part is that they’re all the same price.
This is how the book looked after I took the pictures. The curve of the cover is… not ideal. But we will work with it.
Paper weight—it’s thick, but not so thick that page turning is difficult. I was so pleased by the weight and how it didn’t let my ink ghost through.
Numbered pages—The pages are already numbered and they aren’t in-your-face about it. They’re discreetly in the corner. Considering my lack of use for numbered pages, I’m glad they aren’t very noticeable.
Table of contents/index—It’s already laid out on 3 pages (a sheet and a half), which I think is plenty of space for a 100-page notebook.
Tag index—I much prefer this to an index/table of contents system. Other BuJo users have developed ways to track their tags and whatnot, from colour coding on the edge of the page, to stickers, to using the index. This tag feature is something I look forward to so much! It makes more sense to me, as I can put in a keyword instead of starting a new entry in the table of contents.
Numbered pages—This is a pro and a con, for the exact same reasons: the numbers aren’t very visible or legible.
Dot size—I think the dots are a little too big, or maybe too dark. I wish they were more subtle.
The cover—The feel of it is nice, but it bends a lot. The last picture was taken just after I had flipped through, held open, and photographed. I’m unsure how it’ll fare after being used daily for the next few months.
Page count—I like to use about a page a day, maybe every two days, so I wish there were more than 100 pages in this notebook.
I’m not sure how I’ll feel about the binding style. I prefer a spiral bound notebook, and I also prefer having a hard cover. But we have to compromise. If I can’t have a hard cover, then I’ll at least get a dot grid layout.
Upcoming, I’ll list out my collections and whatnot; before I even got the book, I wrote out what exactly I wanted to include. I’m so excited to get started using it! Having the dot grid has made me feel more free in my layouts. I can draw boxes and measure on the page so much more easily than in a ruled notebook.